In part one of this post, we discussed how ill-informed were the sponsors and advocates for repealing New Hampshire’s Education Scholarship Tax Credit (ETC). This time around we have some words from opponents of repeal bill HB632. Testimony from parents and students (the few who had the opportunity) who shared stories about how the ETC improved their education or their lives.
Dozens of children attended the hearing today and many were obviously attending as part of a school group. Unfortunately, the Chairman did not begin calling members of the public until 90 minutes into the hearing, and even with the extended time, many left prior to having the opportunity to speak.
Fortunately, some students and families were able to stay and shared heartfelt personal stories about what the ETC program means to them.
- One immigrant teen said he faced bullying in his local public school because of the color of his skin and that his English skills were not fluent. He was also denied an opportunity to play on the school baseball team by the coach for these reasons. Now he is in a school where he is happy and accepted for who he is.
- One high-school student spoke about the rampant drug use at her local public school and feeling unsafe there. She is now at a private school where she is safe, thriving academically, and already making progress towards a future in nursing.
- Another student spoke about being under-challenged academically at her local school. She is now attending a private high school and doing very well, already receiving letters from colleges despite being a sophomore.
- A single-mom spoke about her challenges getting her 10 children into an educational environment that would support them. They faced bullying at the local public school from other students because they wore cross necklaces or clothing with religious themes. She said the private school where they attend made a miracle happen for her family by connecting them to the ETC scholarships. Her children are now successful academically and accepted “holistically.”
- A father spoke about the challenges his family faced to give their three sons the right educational fit. Their oldest was enrolled in the local public school, but was under-challenged and bored. The ETC scholarships and generous support from the schools enable the family to enroll the boys in schools that provide greater opportunities for their academic interests and abilities. Their oldest is a student at Stanford’s Online High School.
As a reminder, we live-blogged the hearing on our Facebook page; you can catch up on what was said here. Make sure you select “all comments” so you see the full report instead of what Facebook deems “most relevant.” Also, although Chairman Susan Almy claimed to be surprised at the great attendance and therefore didn’t reserve a larger room or allow more time for the hearing, it does not seem plausible given that the committee received well over 200 emails opposed to the repeal bill.
Another hearing is planned in early March.