Letter: Sununu wrong about school vouchers

Published: 1/31/2021 12:01:40 AM

Once again, Gov. Chris Sununu is promoting school vouchers, this time dubbed “Education Freedom Accounts” that would divert money from our underfunded public schools and give it to families for their children’s private school tuition. He implies that voucher programs are really just a way of returning funds to their rightful owners (parents) to use as they see fit: It’s “not our money, [it’s] their money,” he says (see “Retooling School,” Concord Monitor, Jan. 20).

This characterization, commonly used by voucher supporters, is just plain wrong. Money used for public schools comes primarily from property-tax payers, a group that isn’t limited to parents, but includes businesses and people without school-aged children as well. We all contribute to the common enterprise of public education, which benefits the entire community.

If someone hired private security guards, thinking they offered better protection than the protection provided by local police, she or he wouldn’t be entitled to a partial property tax rebate. Parents choosing to opt out of the public school system are no different.

School voucher efforts are grounded in a right-wing philosophy that seems to define freedom as “every person for himself.” This is not what our Founders envisioned. Rather, they set forth a more positive concept of freedom inextricably tied to a responsibility to the larger community.

Nothing exemplifies this better than our country’s centuries-long investment in public education. Instead of chipping away at our public schools via privatization schemes, let’s focus on fully funding them.

MARY WILKE

Concord


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