Voucher bill wouldhurt public schools, Letter to Nashua Telegraph, 6/3/12

posted Jun 3, 2012, 9:57 AM by Bill Duncan

Letter to the Editor

I am outraged that all of my state representatives voted for the school “voucher” bills, rationalizing they would promote school “choice” and that the increased competition would improve public school performance.

According to National Assessment of Educational Progress test scores for fourth- and eighth-graders, New Hampshire ranks fourth and sixth, respectively, in reading and second in both grades in math this year.

Considering that New Hampshire ranks 22nd nationally when it comes to paying its teachers and 48th when it comes to state and local government contributions to education, I’d say we’re getting tremendous “bang for our buck.”

Unlike private schools, public schools cannot cherry-pick students or ignore expensive programs – such as special education and No Child Left Behind – that were federally mandated but never fully federally funded.

Just imagine how well public schools could compete if you leveled that playing field.

At a time when public school budgets are being slashed to the bone at all government levels, is it really prudent to gut them further?

In short, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

This issue isn’t about “choice.” When parents aren’t required to send their kids to public schools, they already have choice.

This is about who pays for that choice. Even with vouchers, only the more affluent families can afford to send their kids to private schools.

Are we once again asking the 90 percent to subsidize the 10 percent?

Darlene P. Skene