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 Ruth Ward, incumbent candidate for district 8. This district includes Newbury, Springfield, New London, Sunapee, Goshen, Grantham, Lempster, Washington, Marlow, Hillsborough, Langdon, Windsor, Bennington, Francestown, Croydon, Newport, Unity, Acworth, Sutton, Bradford, Stoddard, Antrim, Deering, and Weare.
As a member of the Senate Education Committee, improving our state’s education is a top priority of mine. I am a Mother and a Grandmother and care very deeply about guaranteeing that our children get the best possible education. I believe that while New Hampshire has excellent public schools, that they can only be made better by increasing the options available to parents. That is why I support school choice.
This year the Senate took a huge step forward by drafting and passing Senate Bill 193, a bill also supported by Governor Sununu. The aim of SB 193 was to give children more opportunities to grow, and learn in an educational setting, that may work better for them. Unfortunately, SB 193 was voted inexpedient to legislate in the House and was unable to become law.
Many changes have taken place in public schools — in the curriculum, pedagogical theory, increased surveys of school children, and testing — and many parents feel left out of the educational decisions. Some feel uncomfortable with the intrusive surveys being done without their knowledge or consent.
In addition, there are kids who are not thriving in their current public-school setting, and what the opposition to SB 193 is doing is denying that child the opportunity to learn in a different educational environment. Opponents of school choice are insisting that the square child has to fit in the round hole. What a tragedy.
Allowing a portion of the state contribution for education to go to the parents gives them a choice to put that child in a different school that may be a better fit for them. Maybe a parent feels their particular child would better thrive in a school that is more focused on the arts, or sciences, or has smaller classroom sizes. After all, who knows their child better than the parents.
Opponents always mention religious and private schools, but what about a different public school, or charter school, or home education?
Our children deserve the best education available to them. If I am re-elected I will continue to advocate for increased school choice options at all turns.
Senator Ruth Ward
State Senate – District 8