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The best investment

Education Freedom Accounts, or school choice, is the civil rights issue of our generation. There are currently two Bills that have been submitted this year that offer parents choice in education. SB130, the EFA bill was approved 3-2. The Committee also voted to amend the Bill so that state funding would be available to low-income families.

Those who have wealth have always had access to school choice. What’s ironic is that some Bedford parents who exercise their privilege when moving their child to a private school, want to deny that option to low-income parents.

Those parents tend to ignore that this privilege is not available to many parents throughout New Hampshire.

Children are bullied and even assaulted in some schools. Legislators heard from parents like the ones whose daughter was pulled down the stairs by her hair at a city school. Another parent did receive a manifest hardship grant after her daughter was bullied but two local public schools refused to accept her. Are we just going to ignore the children who are bullied and assaulted?

School superintendents take public funds out of the budget to pay tuition for some of their students who they are unable to educate. Those public funds are sent to religious and private schools – Bedford included. SB130 would simply extend that practice to low-income parents.

If a child leaves a school right now, the state funding stops. It happens everyday when children are removed and sent to another school or home-schooled. No one takes up a battle to stop parents when they withdraw their children and the state funding stops going to the Bedford school district. We respect their right to do what’s best for their child.

With all of the talk about privilege today, it is shocking that those living in one of the most wealthy neighborhoods, cannot look past their own privileges and understand the need to ensure that every child receives the best education available.

It’s time to step outside the Bedford bubble and realize that there are children living in poverty who do not have the same access to a quality education that our kids have. Investing in a quality education for all children will be the best investment we could make in this state.

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