Battle for School Choice Heats Up in New Hampshire
By Lisa Telliga
A battle for school choice has begun in New Hampshire as an article from the New Hampshire Union Leader reports.
The small school district of Croydon has all of 37 students in grades 5-12. Five of which are at the center of controversy and in a fight to go to the school of their parents’ choice.
Croydon is so small that the 764 resident community only provides schooling through 4th grade. After which, they contract with nearby Newport Public School District for the remaining school years.
Parents and the Croydon district have found that Newport Montessori School meets the needs of these 5 students better than the public school option, so the district pays the tuition for the students.
New Hampshire’s Attorney General has launched an attack and filed suit on behalf of the New Hampshire Department of Education to stop Croydon from paying the private school tuition.
Croydon is operating within the law in providing a private education for these students. With many small rural towns in New Hampshire, the law allows communities to contract with nearby schools to provide services that they are unable to, whether it’s other public school districts, private schools or charter schools as long as they are not religiously affiliated.
This is school choice at its best. Allowing parents and communities to make educational choice on a per student basis and allowing funds to follow that student. This attack on this choice is disheartening and a step in the wrong direction.
There has been sweeping change across the country in favor of school choice options as the momentum grows. Twenty-two states and the District of Columbia allow for private school choice. A national poll conducted by the American Federation for Children in January 2015 found 69% of respondents support the concept of school choice.
Clearly, New Hampshire’s Attorney General has missed the message.