Friday, April 25, 2008

On public education: Cutting out the middle man

Croydon's contract with Newport will expire in a couple of years. For the past several months there has been a Long Term Planning committee working on a solutions for the future education of Croydon's students. At various times throughout the meetings school board members, members of the community and a teacher from Newport have attended these meetings. Some members felt that Newport Schools were better, some felt that Sunapee and Grantham schools were better. Jim's solution was to allow choice, including choice to the private schools. One of the board members said and I am summarizing not quoting that public school dollars could not be spent on private schools and the public school teacher from Newport felt it was important to protect the institution of public schools. I ask is either of the statements in the best interest of the students and/or taxpayers and are they true?

In my research I have found that many school districts in New Hampshire allow choice and the New Hampshire statutes do not disallow choice. Further research showed that some public schools send their children to private schools as a cost savings on educating special education students. Teachers and public school employees should not fear choice if they are as good as they say they are, allow choice and parents will choose you if you are best for their children.

Will the Croydon school board put the interests of parents, students and taxpayers ahead of those who benefit from our hard earned tax dollars?

Quote of the Day "We as a society have agreed that government should fund education, but there is no good reason for government to provide it."


The following piece appeared in the Union Leader and also confirms that choice is an option.

On public education: Cutting out the middle man

WHAT IS THE point of having a public school system? The question is trickier than it sounds.

The point, of course, is to ensure that all citizens, regardless of income, have enough education to function as adult citizens of our republic. The point is not for the state to operate schools, but for the state to provide for an education for all citizens.

That is why New Hampshire allows public schools to tuition their students out to private schools. It's not important that the children are educated by the government, but that there is some collective source of funding to provide for everyone's education.

Enter the debate over public kindergarten. The state Senate has passed a plan for funding public kindergarten in the few remaining school districts that don't provide it. But the House is considering an alternative that would allow these districts to contract with private kindergartens instead of building their own public kindergartens.

This is a terrific idea. And it raises another question.

If school districts are allowed to tuition their students to private schools and contract with private kindergartens, then why are parents still forbidden from doing that contracting themselves?

It is already established precedent in New Hampshire that public funding of privately provided education is OK. Why not cut out the middle man -- the local public school district -- and finally empower parents to decide what school best fits their children's needs?

We as a society have agreed that government should fund education, but there is no good reason for government to provide it.

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