CONCORD, June 24, 2021 – NEA-New Hampshire is deeply disappointed but not at all surprised by today’s vote on the budget. This body of elected representatives did very, very little in the way of truly representing the priorities and values of the majority of New Hampshire’s citizens, and this budget reflects just how out of step the General Court has become.
‘Nothing is more important than our children,’ they say. But House and Senate leadership defund our schools and muzzle our educators every chance they get. The budget they advanced today shifts an even greater amount of education costs onto the backs of local property taxpayers, fails to adequately fund the kind of education our children deserve, and sends a chilling message to educators to remain silent on the topic of systemic injustice of any kind.
The inclusion of the most sweeping, unaccountable private and religious school voucher program in the nation in this budget forces taxpayers to fund 2 different education systems – one public and one private – and both on the taxpayer’s dime. Two polls conducted this year have shown the overwhelming majority of Granite Staters oppose such a program, and a record 5,000+ registered their opposition to the legislation at its sole public hearing in the Senate. It is also estimated this will cost property taxpayers at least $69 million over the next 3 years.
“The voucher provision added to the budget has not received any analysis from the Legislative Budget Assistant and is essentially a blank check written by Republicans to be paid by local property taxpayers of New Hampshire,” said Megan Tuttle, NEA-New Hampshire President.
“In their ongoing attempt to defund and dismantle public education, House and Senate leadership turned to silencing educators after robbing our public schools of needed funds to pay for private school vouchers,” said Tuttle. “The divisive concepts amendment is yet another attempt to whitewash American history by intimidating schoolteachers into avoiding important conversations about any form of systemic injustice and mischaracterizing history lessons and current event discussions on racism and sexism as some plot to undermine America.”
“The American Dream” isn’t a stale slogan to those of us who work hard to provide a good life for our families. President Biden and Democrats are getting the economy growing, successfully distributing the COVID vaccine, and restoring American leadership around the globe; but Governor Sununu and Republicans here and around the country, want to distract us by banning certain subjects from being discussed in our schools,” said Tuttle.
“We will not be deterred. New Hampshire educators will persevere in their commitment to prepare our students to succeed in the world,” said Tuttle. “Our members, parents and supporters will do what we always have done each time a challenge is presented to us.”