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New Hampshire’s Appalling Bill to Create “Independent Commission” to Review Charters

January 23, 2017

Over the coming weeks I will be writing to New Hampshire legislators to express my opinions on various bills the NH Legislature is considering under the regime of Republican Governor Chris Sununu and his Republican House and Senate. This may be a futile exercise, but I have the time and experience to reply… and so I will. If you want details on the bills including the language of the bills as they stand now, I recommend using Legiscan, which provides information for each state in the union.

Here’s my first targeted missive to the NH legislators who deal with education:

I am writing to express my firm opposition to HB 505, which seeks to establish an “independent commission” to serve as an “additional authorizing entity”. This bill is troubling to me on several levels. First, it is very closely aligned to this model bill drafted by ALEC and introduced in Indiana. My reading of the new language proposed by this legislation indicates that the bill would erode the authority of directly elected local school boards by taking away their sole authority for granting charters and transferring it to three other appointed entities, one of which is this newly created commission. This undercuts the notion of local control whereby elected school boards oversee the education of children in their communities. Worse, the creation of this “independent commission” opens the to them granting approval to deregulated for-profit charters or religiously affiliated schools. These deregulated schools could conceivably hire uncertified teachers, offer unsupervised on-line courses, and operate in unsafe environments. Moreover, any funds directed to children attending these new charters will be drawn against those earmarked for local public schools. In short, HB 505 will be a loss to local children attending public schools. 

Since retiring from public education after serving as a public school superintendent of schools for 29 years, it is maddening to see privatizers promoting legislation like HB 505 which is designed to provide opportunities for them to use taxpayers funds for unproven deregulated schools that are not overseen by elected officials. I urge you to oppose this bill.

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