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CACR 12 Poses a Threat to the First Amendment Rights of NH Public School Students

According to NH Supreme Court education is a fundamental right , not based on the exclusive needs of a particular individual, but rather held by the public to enforce the State's duty.  

We hold that in this State a constitutionally adequate public education is a fundamental right. In so doing we note that "[t]he right to an adequate education mandated by the constitution is not based on the exclusive needs of a particular individual, but rather is a right held by the public to enforce the State's duty." Claremont I, 138 N.H. at 192, 635 A.2d at 1381. [Claremont II, 1997]

All versions of the Constitutional Amendment Concurrent Resolution (CACR) 12 before the NH Legislature propose to enshrine this Court decision in the NH Constitution.

The danger is that if the State controls public instruction, our right to develop our minds independent of State indoctrination and thus our ability to exercise Free Speech will be  irrevocably compromised.  Compulsory public instruction controlled by the State undermines the development of an independent intellect.

Essentially, CACR 12 undermines our fundamental right to Free Speech while posing to protect it. 

...even a minimalist view of educational adequacy recognizes the role of education in preparing citizens to participate in the exercise of voting and first amendment rights. The latter being recognized as fundamental, it is illogical to place the means to exercise those rights on less substantial constitutional footing than the rights themselves. [Claremont II, 1997]

Providing funding for education is fine, but State control over education is extremely dangerous.  State control over education is a requirement of all totalitarian states.

CACR 12 will enable Acts of Uniformity no different in kind than those from which our forefathers fled in Europe.   Our "exclusive" right in Part 1, Article 6 of the NH Constitution was designed to protect public instruction from State interference "for all times."  This exclusive right was amended out in 1968 under the pretense of "remov[ing] obsolete sectarian language."

NH -- as well as most others states -- in 1800's implemented extreme decentralization of public instruction under a District System, allowing the people to control their own schools and to create new districts rather than remain contentiously in districts to which they objected.  Public instruction was fiercely guarded as a local matter.

There is no protection for the people under CACR 12.  It tramples our "exclusive" rights and completes the shift of governance of our local schools to the State.

Homeschooling is a national grassroots movement due in large part to increasing State governance of schools.  CACR 12 will adversely impact NH homeschoolers.

Our right to local governance of our schools is far more important than funding.  It guarantees the difference between Free Speech and Controlled Speech.

There is still no final language for CACR 12, yet GOP leadership continues to whip House members to support CACR 12, sight-unseen.  That alone is ridiculous and condescending.

Legislators are the people's representatives first and foremost.  Secondarily, they are members of a political party.  Legislators should support the people's fundamental right to Free Speech and locally controlled public instruction and reject CACR 12.

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