Monadnock’s Superintendent wants the best quality education for her kids, just not for your children.  (See her letter below)

There is a heated battle taking place in New Hampshire right now.  SB193 is a proposed bill that would set up Education Savings Accounts for families so they could access funding for their child to use at the school of their choice.

Most Superintendents send some students to specialized schools outside the district if they  believe it will help those  children .  For instance, if a school does not have the capacity to educate a child with a severe disability, that child could be transferred to a facility offering what the child needs.

The related  costs are included in the sending district’s special education budget, covered by the taxpayers.
The tuition can be much higher then the average cost per student in the sending district. Administrators and parents would argue that this is what is best for children with special needs.

However, if you as a parent determine the local public school is not meeting the needs of your child, your ability to move your child to a more appropriate school is limited. SB193 seeks to help parents in those situations.

Most parents are happy with their local public school, but there are times when a child is bullied or needs different academic challenges.  Monadnock’s Superintendent, Lisa Witte, acknowledges that her child attends a charter school.  We agree that she should have the ability to make sure her child is in the best school.  That’s what makes her public position opposing SB193 disheartening. She provided testimony opposing other parents’ right to exercise better options for their children.

What if there is no alternative Charter School available to a child who is bullied? What if a parent sees that their child is falling behind academically, because the local school is using confusing Common Core math?  There can be numerous reasons for removing a child from a school.  Parents are oftentimes in the best position to determine whether or not  a school is the best fit for their child.

In Ms. Witte’s letter, she mentions multiple reasons for denying parents the freedom to choose a better school for their child. In fact, I’ve heard many of those reasons cited by opponents of charter schools. However, she clearly ignored those reasons when choosing the local charter school for her child.  If she really cared about each individual child, wouldn’t she want the best for your child, too?

When a parent removes a child from a local public school, state funding for that child stops. Children enrolled in private schools, or who are home-schooled, do not receive state funding. Local school districts receive state funding only for children actually enrolled in their district.

If a parent removes a child from a local district’s school because of bullying, the state funding to that district for that child stops. The money stops whether Ms. Witte likes it or not.  SB193 would help low-income families who otherwise would not be able to place their child in a private school due to lack of resources.  Why would anyone want to force  children to remain in schools where they are being harmed or not receiving a quality academic education?  It’s time for parents to start asking Ms. Witte and other school-choice opponents: WHY?

I have fought to improve the quality of public education in New Hampshire so parents need not feel forced to remove their children from their local public school.  Where has Ms. Witte been?  I don’t recall seeing her testify in support of better quality academic standards for our local schools.  Where has she been when parents filled the rooms to testify to the numerous problems with Common Core that have been driving them to remove their kids from local public schools?

These parents have been trying for years to improve their local schools, only to have Superintendents across the state ignore their concerns.

Monadnock has big problems under Ms. Witte’s leadership.  The district’s  proficiency scores are abysmal for math and reading.  Forcing parents to keep their children in a school is not the solution. Instead, try putting more attention into academic development.

Enrollment is declining in the district. 
While there could be many reasons for this, one of them could be parents choosing to send children to more appropriate schools. Ms. Witte can’t get to the root of that issue by opposing measures like SB 193, thus making those families’ financial situations harder.

Parents in the Monadnock Regional School District need to contact Ms. Witte, and hold her accountable for the decisions she’s made as Superintendent.  Ask her why so many children are not proficient in math and reading.
Why  are Monadnock Regional school board members backing Ms. Witte’s decision to oppose SB193?  Why aren’t they holding her accountable for the problems in the district?  Is this a way to deflect attention from what’s really going on in SAU 93?

The best way to keep kids in a local school is for that school to offer a quality education .

Instead of being a force against children, why not be the leader who elevates the quality of education, providing the quality public school that parents want for their children?

Improve the quality of education, and fewer parents will be looking for alternatives.

HouseSB193Witte2017 (Written testimony by Superintendent Lisa A. Witte)

Ann Marie Banfield currently volunteers as the Education Liaison for Cornerstone Action in New Hampshire. She has been researching education reform for over a decade and actively supports parental rights, literacy and academic excellence in k-12 schools. You can contact her at: [email protected]