To The Daily Sun,
If a contractor did a good job for you but a bad job for your neighbor would you force your neighbor to keep rehiring the same contractor? Would you tell your neighbor to hire a second contractor to follow the first and fix the first contractor’s poor work? No.
But this is what happens with children’s education. Many public schools fail to provide a good educational opportunity to all students. And parents have to make up for public school deficiencies if they can.
Children and society both suffer when children are poorly educated. Poorly educated people often struggle to support themselves; too often they become a burden on others or even become criminals who hurt people and drive up taxpayer expenses for police, courts, prisons, etc.
Some parents can afford to hire tutors, purchase study aids, or send their children to other schools; many cannot. I know a family, in an excellent Connecticut school district, that feels the school is failing one of their children, but can’t, without help, afford a private school.
We’re Americans; it’s beneath us to allow each child to be denied a chance for a decent education. But decades of increased public school funding shows that our public schools can’t, or don’t care enough to, offer a good education to each student.
We can and must do better.
The New Hampshire House has proposed a new five-year pilot program to address this problem. This program is limited to students from poorer families (no more than 300 percent of poverty) meeting certain criteria, e.g., attends an under-performing school.
This program allows parents to establish Education Freedom Spending Accounts (ESAs) funded with the state’s per student funding money. The ESA can be used for homeschooling, tutors, online courses, courses at public schools, tuition at a non-public school, or other qualified expenses. The program is only open to current public school students who, if approved, withdraw from their public school. Student educations are monitored to ensure appropriate progress.
Importantly, the impact on a local public school is negligible; the loss of state funding is limited to no more than one-quarter of 1 percent of the school district’s annual budget, typically less impact than from year to year student population changes.
SB-193 addresses the concerns about financial impact on the public schools while providing a remedy for students failed by public schools. New Hampshire must do better for all students, and this program has helped students elsewhere. This pilot program is proposed by the House Amendment to SB-193 which will be up for a vote in early January.
Please tell your representatives to support SB-193.