No Choice for Kids LTE - Dec 2019

Brentwood Newsletter LTE about Democrats taking away opportunities for children to learn - Dec 2019

The Federal Government has a grant program called The Expanding Opportunities Through Quality Charter Schools. Grant funds may be used to expand the enrollment of one or more existing high-quality charter schools, or expand or replicate charter schools that are based on an existing, high-quality charter school model and requires that applicants must demonstrate that at least 60 percent of the students across all of the charter schools the applicant currently operates or manages are individuals from low-income families. The New Hampshire Department of Education applied for some of the grant money and won a 5 year $46 million grant to expand or replicate the seven NH charter schools which met the federal definition or “high-quality charter school.”

This grant program has been going on since 2010 and almost all of the grants in its history range between $2-10 million except for those which go to California. This is the largest grant this program has awarded and has the potential to double the number of charter schools in the state with the “high-quality” education programs geared for low-income families to have access. These schools are consistently outperforming other schools in the state for lower cost per pupil. There has never been a correlation between school spending and outcomes. Allowing more NH children to have more choice in schools and access to higher quality schools would help us move away from ZIP codes deciding the type and quality of education a child receives. Right now there is about 4000 charter school students and this would help over the next 10 years to double the amount of students who could attend charter schools each year. In some places in NH, there are waiting lists for these schools which are greater than the capacity of the school which means that children are not able to access the education that they believe would best suit them. The money could also be used to switch a local district school to the model used in these high-quality programs to try to improve the local school performance.

On November 8th, the Joint Legislative Fiscal Committee voted on party lines to table the NH DOE’s request to accept the first portion of the money. There seems to be a hesitation by the Democrats to foster education innovation and open up options to students. Also at the beginning of November, a Representative was suspended from the House Education Committee for unbecoming comments about private and religious schools. It seems like there is a sentiment which wants to limit learning environment options for children and double down on an expensive one-size-fits-all model of education.

Josh Yokela

State Representative for Brentwood, Danville, and Fremont

You can watch the Joint Legislative Fiscal Committee hearing on this here:

And learn more about the grant the NH DOE was granted here: