Home > Uncategorized > NH Should Look to Wisconsin’s Experience Before Sealing the Deal on SB 193

NH Should Look to Wisconsin’s Experience Before Sealing the Deal on SB 193

In New Hampshire, the state where I reside, the legislature is tantalizingly close to passing SB 193, a watered down voucher bill that would funnel roughly $3,000 per year to each child who opts out of public education and enrolls in a private school or is home schooled. In SB 193’s earlier versions, this de facto voucher would have provided public funds for students already enrolled in private and parochial schools, but because the original version of the bill was poorly crafted and the price tag could not be clearly determined the bill was amended to apply to those who opt out of public schools in the future. But as a post yesterday from Diane Ravitch indicates, the end game in all these voucher programs is to provide vouchers for ALL parents who are not in public schools. in her post titled, “Wisconsin: Expansion of Charters Divides Communities” provides a legislative history of voucher bills in Wisconsin. It underscores the reality that once a legislature passes a “watered down” choice bill, passing a more comprehensive bill in the future is easier… and… worse yet… once such a bill is passed it guarantees the GOP an expanded base of voters. Here’s how:

If a family with three children in parochial school is on the fence politically, it gets off the fence pretty quickly once they learn that one party (the GOP), is willing to pass laws that give them a check to help pay for their child’s education in the name of “choice”… and once they’ve received that check, the other party who wants to repeal that law is perceived as wanting to “take something away”. The GOP is gambling that their de facto giveaway to private school parents will assure them of a voting bloc for generations to come. The fact that the bloc comes at the expense of the unity of communities doesn’t seem to matter. The GOP has shown us at the national level that they favor the billionaires over everyone else. They are showing us at the state level how they will sustain support of middle class voters who prefer religious schools over public education at the expense of those who cannot afford to use the “vouchers” to “escape” the underfunded public schools that will remain in place. At both levels, compassion is taking a back seat to the maintenance of political power.

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