EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

March 24, 2013

Your view: Letters to the editor

The Eagle-Tribune

---- — Vouchers give parents choice in education

To the editor:

Regarding the letter, “New Hampshire should repeal school voucher program,” Dee Lewis thinks that some parents shouldn’t be allowed to use taxpayer money to send their kids to Phillips Exeter because other parents will choose to send their kids to Manchester’s Trinity High, a Catholic school, or to better schools than the public schools simply because some parents will foolishly choose worse ones?

Like far too many Americans, Ms. Lewis makes a dread idol of the supposed constitutional requirement of “separation of church and state.”

The First Amendment says no such thing: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” No cognate of “separate” appears, nor the idea of a “wall” between church and state.

An “established” church is an official church favored by the government over all others. And part of government’s not “establishing” religion is not discriminating against religious institutions.

Our government gives money to churches and synagogues to help the old, the poor, the sick, homeless people, battered women, hungry children, and people with substance abuse and psychological problems. Unfortunately, some Americans are so misguided, fearful or even downright hateful toward religion that they’re against all that, too.

Society, and government, have powerful interests in doing these good works, of course, just as they do in the education of our children.

Conservatives pretend to love competitive free markets, and liberals pretend to love diversity, choice and toleration. Rational-empiricist atheists like myself are quite fond of experimentation. Why not tolerate choice, diversity, competition and experimentation in K-12 education?

Simply test each child’s individual improvement over the course of each year rather than merely the position of each child relative to others of the same age across the state, and post the overall results for each school in the state for all to see. Parents will send their kids to good schools and abandon bad ones. Test that kids understand things like Darwinism and the theories and supporting evidence that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old, but allow kids to decide for themselves what they believe or disbelieve. Refuse to honor vouchers for schools that fall below a certain level on the tests.

The voucher program pays for education, not religious education, but if Trinity High is able to teach science, math, history, English, art, French and the revealed truths of the Catholic faith for the same amount of money as the Manchester public schools spend on teaching all those things except a religious education, why should the taxpayers and voters of New Hampshire care?

Lest we forget, most religions teach things like forgiveness; honoring your parents; prohibitions against murder, stealing, adultery, bearing false witness or envy; “love thy neighbor as thy self;” and many other nifty things that surely we want our kids to grow up believing.

As a matter of basic freedom and true tolerance, parents, the vast majority of whom are citizen-taxpayers, should be allowed by our government to choose the schools, religious or secular, that their children will attend and to use taxpayer money to pay for it.

Michael Christian


New Hampshire can to better than casinos

To the editor:

There is greatness in the people of New Hampshire. It is such a unique and beautiful place. Yes, there are problems, but it is a beacon of energy, community and positive culture.

There appears to be a lot of immediate reasons to be for casinos and many reasons which are not so immediate to be against making gambling more a part of the local culture. This is a plea to keep the light burning brightly on the things which makes the Granite State unique and beautiful — and not commit to policies that will change the local quality of life.

New Hampshire, you can do better than to rely on casinos for revenue. Please don’t let the legacy of the “Old Man in the Mountain” be “the Casino in Salem.”

Michael D. Schroth


Thanks for service to the community

To the editor:

As a resident of Newton, N.H., I would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank Trisha McCarthy for her past six years on the Board of Selectmen; as well as for the many other boards and committees she has and still continues to serve on. Trisha has been one the most dedicated town officials I have had the pleasure to work with in my six years of service to the town.

I, like many other elected officials and volunteers, worked with her on the Town Safety Committee, the Newton Emergency Management Team and the Seabrook Nuclear Emergency Management team. She also participates in a number of other groups and departments in her continuing efforts on behalf of the residents of Newton.

Those of us who worked with her are well aware of how dependable, caring and professional she is in dealings with her colleagues and the public. For those of you who did not have the opportunity to work with her; if you attended or watched any of the selectmen’s meetings during her tenure, especially the years she served as chairman, you saw firsthand how professionally she conducted the meetings, how knowledgeable she was of not only the operation of the town but of the statutes of the State of New Hampshire. Her extensive knowledge of town affairs was clearly obvious at the recent candidate’s night.

I hope that Trisha continues to participate in her other activities in town on behalf of us residents. We need all the intelligent, well trained and professional people we can get. And, who knows, with the Board of Selectmen going from three to five members in 2014, we may see her back on the Board of Selectmen where she belongs.

Thanks again, Trisha.

Bill Landry