DNHP 3/25/12 Special Edition: Why New Hampshire Public Schools Need Defending

posted Mar 26, 2012, 8:14 AM by Bill Duncan

Why New Hampshire Public Schools Need Defending

Defenders,

This is a "mailing list maintenance" mailing: I've added some new names of people I thought would be interested.  If I got it wrong, please just reply or unsubscribe here - I know everyone can't pay attention to everything.
 
A reporter asked the other day, "Why do New Hampshire public schools need defending?"  There are lots of good reasons.

First, our schools are a precious resource.  Almost 190,000 New Hampshire children depend on their local public schools for the tools they need to make the most of their opportunities.  The kids will carry with them forever the friendships they form and the relationships with special teachers.  Beyond that, the quality of our workforce and vitality of our economy depend on the quality of our schools.  There will always be ways to improve our schools, but they are already among the best in the country at serving the kids and the State.

But our public education system is under assault.  Our legislators have introduced over 40 anti-public education bills in these last two sessions (current status here). They cut funding to schools at every level and are attempting to chip away at attendance requirements, intervene in curriculum design and begin a process of privatizing our public schools.  

The Legislature has made us a laughing stock with bills like HB 542, allowing parents to intervene in their child's curriculum for any reason.  Or one sentence bills like HB 1424:  "No school district shall compel a parent to send his or her child to any school or program to which he or she may be conscientiously opposed nor shall a school district approve or disapprove a parent’s education program or curriculum." (voted down only because HB 542 seemed to do the job well enough).  And the Legislature is now considering two constitutional amendments (CACR 8 and CACR 12) that would eliminate any serious requirement to provide state financial aid to education.

But many voters probably did not realize they were electing folks with this kind of agenda.  And once legislators are in Concord, their work can seem obscure and complex to many voters - until it's too late.  

That includes many teachers, administrators and school board members.  Even when they see these things coming, they often do not feel they can become politically active in defending their schools - it seems too self-interested and they are focused on the kids.

So that's why our schools need defending and what Defending New Hampshire Public Education tries to do - make these threats visible to people who care and give them a chance to defend our schools in the Legislature, in the press, in community meetings...wherever we can.

We're about to enter crunch time on education issues in the Legislature - a time when it may be important to make as much noise as we can. So I have two requests.
  • Please send me the name of your town, if you think I don't already know it.  I will email you if your legislators are playing a pivotal role in some piece of legislation or are about to take a critical vote.   
  • Please forward this -  and any DNHPE email - to as many people as you think might be interested.  We should expand our network as much as we can for this next critical period.

Best,

Bill
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