To the editor:
The proposed New Hampshire House Bill 1607, which financially encourages school choice by allowing private businesses to contribute to a scholarship fund, would improve the educational system for all of New Hampshire's children.
This bill should be supported not only by those parents who send their children to private school but also by those whose kids attend public school because it would ultimately improve our public school system here in New Hampshire, as proven in other states that have enacted such legislation.
As Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman asserted,school choice creates an atmosphere in which excellence is rewarded and the mediocrity of a monopolistic government system is minimized.
Mediocrity is evident both here in New Hampshire and in the country as a whole. According to the most recent scores on the PISA test (Programme for International Student Assessment), the United States trails 16 other countries in reading, and ranks 23rd in science and 31st in math.
Most of the countries in the PISA 2009 top 10, including Canada, New Zealand and China, provide much more extensive school choice than the United States. School choice transformed the mediocre government-controlled educational systems in these countries into competitive environments that encouraged and rewarded excellence.
Although opponents of HB1607 claim that this bill would financially drain the public school system, each child who goes to a private school instead of a public institution actually saves the school district and the state a large percentage of the per-pupil cost (over $12,000) of education.
Opponents also claim that this bill is unconstitutional since the private funds that it would make available might be used at religiously affiliated schools.
The Supreme Court, however, based on its decision in Zelman vs. Harris
(2002), would probably agree that HB1607 is constitutional because it does not require the government to directly support the educational institutions of a particular religion.
Please contact your representatives in the New Hampshire Legislature and request that they support HB1607.