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My Letter to my New Hampshire Legislators on Voucher Bill

January 17, 2018

As readers of this blog realize, my home state, New Hampshire, has a “voucher bill” that has passed both chambers and is currently receiving a fiscal review, the final step before it is forwarded to the Governor for his signature, which is a foregone conclusion. Two recent developments make the passage of this godforsaken bill problematic. The letter I composed to the five legislators who represent our region in the House and Senate, pasted below, highlights both of them:

Today’s Valley News featured an article by Lola Duffort who reported that at least 84,500 New Hampshire students — about half of the state’s public school population — would be eligible for the vouchers issued as a result of the passage of SB 193. The article reports that “To sway certain moderate Republicans who worried about the bill’s potential impact on local school districts, the bill was amended to include so-called “stabilization grants” to partially reimburse districts for losses tied to the program.” This leads to my first question: if the legislature can find funds to provide “stabilization grants” to offset the funding that would be diverted to a voucher program why can’t they find funds to address the lawsuits dealing with inequitable funding of public education in New Hampshire? 

I was also distressed to read about the horrific case of the enslavement of 13 children in California in the New York Times. The title of the article by three Times reporters, “Horror for 13 California Siblings Hidden by Veneer of a Private Home School” raises a question for any legislator who is contemplating an affirmative vote on SB 193: “What safeguards will be put in place to ensure that parents receiving homeschooling grants are providing a bona fide education in an appropriate setting?” Indeed, that question should be posed even if homeschooling parents receive NO state funding. If NH wants to ensure that all of the children in the state are being raised in a safe and secure environment some kind of regulatory oversight should be provided… and based on my experience as a school administrator there is no assurance that is the case now. 

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