• erichoffman4nh

Top Issues: Education

In New Hampshire, our public school funding not only prepares our children to compete in a competitive job market, but the quality of our school systems is essential to attract and retain qualified workers. Training and retaining an educated workforce is essential for our economic growth.

Education spending comprises 23.2% of the current NH state budget. While our education funding, per student, is top 10 in the nation, the Republican’s disastrous voucher program is siphoning money away from public schools and into private schools. Now, thanks to Republican efforts at the federal and Supreme Court level, the fundamental separation of church and state has been eroded paving the way for taxpayer funding to go to not just private schools, but religious schools as well. Shouldn’t taxpayer money go to public schools, accountable to the public, and subject to public oversight?

When it comes to higher education funding, New Hampshire ranks dead last in the nation. A higher percentage of our students go to college out of state than any other state. All of our neighboring states offer some sort of free community college program. This is far from some kind of socialist handout, this is a solid and proven investment in the future economy.

The taxpayers of New Hampshire are already paying for a top tier education system. We need to reform how these funds are distributed across the state, clarify our educational priorities, and get the money we are already spending to right places and out of the pockets of private institutions.

In addition to funding, we need to support and empower our teachers instead of using the school system as a cultural battleground. The vaguely defined “divisive concepts” ban enshrines the ability of the far-right to persecute teachers for teaching subjects that don’t agree with their revisionist history, interfere with their agenda, or simply make them uncomfortable. Suggestions to provide teachers with firearms, or that all school age children receive firearm training just highlight the Republican party’s continued tone deaf response to the alarming level of violence in schools across the country.

Public education is absolutely foundational to a functioning democracy, and I am against any attempts to undermine public confidence in and divert funding from public education.

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