Kensington mother: Education bill raises concerns

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Kensington mother Jacquelyn Benson wrote this letter to the editor, featured in Seacoast Online:

To the Editor:

Earlier this week, the New Hampshire Senate passed SB 193, creating “Education Freedom Savings Accounts”.

On the surface, this sounds like a bill about fairness – giving parents the option to spend state funding that is ostensibly allocated for their child’s education in the manner they choose.

But parents aren’t the only ones who pay into our education system. Every taxpayer in New Hampshire does so. We ask all taxpayers, and not just parents, to help pay to educate the state’s children because we recognize, as a society, that having an educated populace is vital to the stability of our government and our economy.

These funds don’t belong to individual parents. They are New Hampshire’s investment in our education system, and as one of our elected representatives, you serve as the custodian of those funds, determining how best to spend them in order to achieve the goal of giving children in this state the best education possible.

Supporters of this bill argue that SB 193 will do that by forcing public schools to compete for parents’ funds. But New Hampshire already has a charter school system that fulfills that purpose. If our charter schools aren’t serving as sufficient competition, how will the wide-open spending of this bill work better–with no accountability to ensure that New Hampshire citizens’ hard-earned tax dollars are being spent in a way that actually benefits kids?

Another concern I have is that this bill really only provides ‘more choice’ for wealthy or upper-middle-class families. Those state funds won’t even start to cover the cost of a private school for struggling middle class families or the poor. In effect, all this bill will do is use state dollars subsidize private education for the children of the well-off.

For these reasons, as a mother, taxpayer and small business owner concerned about the responsible use of state revenues and the strength of our public education system, I’m extremely concerned about SB 193.

 

Read the full article here.