Why do we allow the federal government to take control of our local public schools? The practice of accepting federal funding in exchange for mandates is undermining the role of teachers and parents in our schools. Each mandate handcuffs teachers, restricting their ability to innovate and work constructively within their communities to meet the needs of students.
As result many parents are seeking alternatives outside the public schools. Some families can afford private or home schooling. For others these options are completely out of reach.
Charter schools are not widely available and often require a child to win-the-lottery to enroll. Tax credit scholarships, which help less affluent families, are being targeted for elimination, as they re-direct potential tax dollars away from public schools.
House Bill 479 provides a common sense solution to this problem by offering educational choice to each and every family in the state without any additional expense, without lotteries and without re-directing tax payer money away from public schools.
This bill restores our district system, which was established during the 1800’s in New Hampshire, and most other states. It allows families to join a school district that is committed to their educational goals. It allows parents to band together with others in their community to create new and innovative school districts.
There were over 2,600 unique school districts in NH during the 1850’s These districts were decentralized, setting their own curriculum. Today there are only about 100 school districts, each required to implement the same uniform curriculum. The latest federal mandate is called Common Core, but it lacks common sense.
Common Core is the follow-up federal program to No Child Left Behind, which failed our children so badly that the NH Dept of Education is now seeking a NCLB Waiver. Common Core is completely untested and may also fail our children.
Prudence would suggest that legislators do not gamble everything on this new federal program, but offer parents the alternatives that they seek.
HB 479 provides parents with a structure to create those alternatives. It restores education choice to one district at a time, allowing districts to work within their communities and forgo mandates & state funding, if they so choose. It also allows other districts to continue implementing federally mandated programs & accepting state funding without interruption, if they feel that is best for their students. Live and let live. That’s far wiser than forcing every district to accept yet another untested federal program and risking our children’s futures.
If we allow parents to find school districts, which they can whole-heartedly support, students will absorb this enthusiasm and the results will exceed expectations.
Please contact your state representative, asking them to restore local, self-governance of our schools ..... on March 6th by voting to SUPPORT HB 479.