Everyone involved in the education debate wants what’s best for New Hampshire kids, but SB 193 has turned out not to be the way to do it.
As different amendments emerge, it’s clear that there is no shared vision and no way to pay even for the more targeted program now under discussion.
The current SB 193 amendment would, according to the LBA, divert $100 million from local public schools over the first 11 years to send 2,000 students to private schools. A few families would get their choice of schools at the expense of all the rest of New Hampshire’s public school students, but without assurance of greater educational achievement for those children.
And, as Friday’s hearing showed, there are still many problems. Low income parents can have no confidence that the schools and tutors the bill makes available will be qualified. The poorest towns will be hit hardest while there will be impact on wealthy towns and unintended consequences in wealthy SWEPT communities. Special education requirements are a confusing tangle.
Yet there is still concern among the bill’s supporters about complexity and implementation details and no agreement about such fundamental issues as who should be eligible.
The effort to ensure that every child in NH has the opportunity for a high quality education, in a state with very limited state and local school budgets, is an important legislative objective. SB 193 should be studied further in the hope of achieving a consensus that benefits all New Hampshire students.