Saturday, May 31, 2008

Estabrook's last stand: Barring the schoolhouse door

The following piece appeared in the Union Leader. The piece is so well written no commentary is needed readers should go to the Union Leader website to see a number of really great comments by Union Leader readers.

The editorial strongly mirrors both Jim's and my views on said subjects.

Estabrook's last stand: Barring the schoolhouse door

SEN IRIS ESTABROOK, D-Durham, is retiring from the state Senate at the end of this session. In what may be her last major act as chairman of the Senate Education Committee, she spent days this week blocking an important amendment on public kindergarten that was requested by local communities.

The Legislature has mandated that every school district in the state provide publicly funded kindergarten. Only a dozen districts do not offer public kindergarten, primarily because voters have rejected it. But the Democrat-controlled Legislature doesn't care what the local communities want. The Democrats want public kindergarten in every community, so they have decreed that it will be so.

Some communities complained that they could not possibly get new kindergarten buildings up and running by the Legislature's 2009 deadline. So the House passed a sensible revision: districts can meet the kindergarten mandate by tuitioning their students to a private kindergarten.

Estabrook has stated that she wants kindergarten programs offered through the public school system, and nothing else will do. It's her way or the highway -- again, no matter what the local parents and educators want.

It is fitting that probably her last major effort as Senate Education Committee chairman is to block local communities' attempts to have their children attend kindergarten programs chosen by the local community. It is just the latest in her many attempts to deny choice to parents and students, forcing them to stay in public schools that often don't work for them, for the sole reason that those schools are run by the public education monopoly.

On the bright side, parents and students in New Hampshire can hope that Estabrook's replacement in the Senate will be more interested in educating children than in keeping them trapped inside a 19th-century-style factory school system that works for only some of them.

Quote of the Day - "This source of corruption, alas, is inherent in the democratic system itself, and it can only be controlled, if at all, by finding ways to encourage legislators to subordinate ambition to principle."
James L. Buckley

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