Granite Staters care about educational issues that impact our children’s lives and academic outcomes. In mid September we invited all New Hampshire senatorial candidates to send letters to School Choice for NH about their views on education policy, and educational opportunities in particular. We will publish them without edits between now and the general election on November 6th. We hope it is a helpful tool for candidates to share their views about important education policies as well as for NH families to better know candidates.
The following letter is from Senator John Reagan, incumbent candidate for district 17. This district includes the communities of Allenstown, Chichester, Pembroke, Pittsfield, Epsom, Loudon Nottingham, Northwood, Deerfield Raymond and Strafford.
Thank you School Choice for New Hampshire for this opportunity to advocate for the education of our citizens of any age for any need. As the chair of the Senate Education Committee my record illustrates my strong record of legislating to advance more options for students and parents.
Where are we today.
- Because of parental selection the underfunded public charter schools all have wait lists. Often these wait lists exceed their current enrollments.
- Towns and cities are groaning under the weight of property taxes to support public schools.
- Public schools have declining enrollments but spend more every year for fewer students.
- Taxpayers are paying heavily to produce people not well trained to make our society more productive and financially sound. We do not get the trained population we are paying for.
- Colleges have freshmen taking remedial courses to prepare them to take the college level courses for which they are paying.
- Employers find out of work people lacking basic learning skills needed for training for higher paying jobs.
- University of New Hampshire has the highest paid professors in New England but cannot justify what they charge for what they produce.
What systems do we know work better for the dollars spent?
Some suggest we grant credits for skills and subjects learned outside of the classroom. A child with years of practice in a dance studio or on a musical instrument or in a gymnasium or online courses should be granted credits towards graduation.
Increase the dollars awarded to charter schools allowing them to finance building more classrooms and provide comparable wages and benefits.
Entertain the idea of granting tuition (adequacy dollars) to parents to supplement sending their children to alternative venues. Shifting students to other institutions reduces the burden on the local school district and allows for property tax reductions.
A Scandinavian country allows for private schools anywhere with the student allotted dollars following the student to the public school or the private accredited academy. Parents have so many choices that under-performing schools quickly lose their students to competitor schools.
In competitive education markets elimination of “schools in need of improvement” (a euphemism for a taxpayer funded failing public school) happens as fast as the parent can walk away to a better performing school.
The current system is overloaded with very highly paid public school administrators in administrator’s unions (called by other names, associations etc.) who fight every change that would cost them their jobs. The pipeline from the teacher’s dues to the state democrat party is the incentive for Democrats to always fight change. Every charter school has had a union election and every school employee group has said “NO” to forming a union.
We cannot expect a bureaucracy to respond in a competitive environment by offering the same old dictates from Washington, D.C. We will have more interested students, less stressed parents, lower costs when we get out of the way of an open education market. A market operated by people who love education and are willing to innovate to get the best trained person out their door and into a successful and productive life.
My vision for education in New Hampshire is competition from any certified institution to deliver what we are paying for but not getting now.
Senator John Reagan
State Senate District 17