DNHPE 5/13/12 Action Alert: National voucher advocates have launched a telephone campaign in support of the voucher bills!!

posted May 13, 2012, 5:01 AM by Bill Duncan

I'll bet none of us anticipated something like this...Please send one simple email in response.

The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, the engine behind the national effort to privatize public schools, has mounted a campaign in New Hampshire to build a veto-proof majority for the big vote in the House this Wednesday (May 16, though it could be Tuesday or Thursday as well) on the New Hampshire's voucher bill - a bill originally drafted by the the Alliance for the Separation of School and State and the Cato Institute.  

In other words, these and other national groups have ganged up to have their way with l'il ol' New Hampshire.  All this outside attention is an effort to make New Hampshire another poster child in the national effort to privatize public schools.  This was not a program needed in New Hampshire or requested by New Hampshire voters (as confirmed by the UNH Granite State Poll).  It has been pushed by temporary legislators swept into office in the 2010 Tea Party wave.

The prime sponsor is Sen. Jim Forsythe, among the leadership of something called the "Republican Liberty Caucus of New Hampshire," a group of Free Stater and Libertarian legislators, itself a local chapter of the national Republican Liberty Caucus, who's mission is to "advocate the principles of individual rightslimited government, and free enterprise. We work in the Republican Party because we believe it is the best vehicle for bringing about the political changes we want."  (Translation: they consider themselves aliens colonizing the Republican party.)  Senator Forsythe, famous for the bogus poll he ran to persuade his colleagues to support the voucher bill, is a freshman who will not run again.  Rep. Greg Hill, shepherding the bill in the House, is another "liberty" freshman who has said he will not run again.  

The Friedman group seems to feel that the New Hampshire voucher plan would not stand on its own merits, because the calling script misrepresents it.  One recipient of these calls reports, "I just received a phone call telling me I can help poor children get out of underperforming schools by supporting SB 372/HB 1607."  The caller then offered to patch her directly into her representative's phone!

Actually, poor families are not involved in the plan.  Families with annual incomes of $67,000 can receive vouchers.  Nor could truly low income families afford to supplement the $2,500 voucher to pay New Hampshire private school tuitions.  As to "underperforming schools," New Hampshire's public education system ranks in the top two in the country.  It's fair to say that a voter who called her representative based on that kind of information would have been misled into making the call.

Therefore, we need to go beyond our normal sense of how to let our elected representatives know what we think.  I would ask that everyone who receives this email take a very simple step

Please send the following email to all our legislators.  Just put these two email addresses in the To field:  "All Representatives" <HReps@leg.state.nh.us>, "All Senators" <Senators@leg.state.nh.us> .  Paste the following subject line and message into your email:

Subject line: Don't be snookered by the national effort to sell you private school vouchers.

You've heard of the Friedman Foundation.  Milton Friedman, the godfather of private school vouchers, said in his famous paper, Public Schools: Make Them Private, “Vouchers are not an end in themselves; they are a means to make a transition from a government to a free-market system.”

The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice is trying to bend the New Hampshire Legislature to its will.  The group is generating calls that attempt to mislead you about the level of local support for the private school voucher plan implemented in SB372/HB1607.  They are calling New Hampshire voters with an intentional misrepresentation.  One recipient of these calls reports, "I just received a phone call telling me I can help poor children get out of underperforming schools by supporting SB 372/HB 1607."

As you know, this is not the case.  Families with an annual income of $67,000 can receive vouchers under the proposed plan.  Low income families would not be able to supplement the $2,500 voucher to pay New Hampshire private school tuitions.  And New Hampshire's public education system ranks in the top two in the country.  It's fair to say that a voter who called her representative based on that kind of information would have been misled into making a misinformed call.

It has to be said that the lobbying for this bill is really over the top, from a bogus poll in February to this outside funded calling campaign.  The voucher plan needs this kind of dishonest lobbying because it's a bad bill that New Hampshire voters of all political stripes do not want.  It will cost the State and local property tax payers millions.  It will deliver no benefit - most of our students who would use vouchers to go to private schools could go without them.  And over time, the program would inflict serious damage on our public education system.

If you support privatizing New Hampshire's public schools, you will press the green button and vote for this bill.  But if you support fiscal responsibility for the State and the best for our kids and our local property tax payers, don't be fooled by this disrespectful and dishonest push by outsiders to make you fodder in their national campaign - push the red button and vote against this terrible bill.


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