March 18, 2013

Learn free or die? the struggle for school choice in New Hampshire

By Learn free or die? the struggle for school choice in New Hampshire

Readers may recall that New Hampshire passed an important school choice tax credit scholarship program last year.  The law allows businesses to contribute money to scholarship programs for low-income students to attend the school of their choice (or even home school).

Unfortunately, students in the state didn’t have much time to celebrate before a handful of taxpayers filed suit.  Since students may choose to use their scholarships to attend religious schools, the plaintiffs — funded by anti-choice groups — argue that the program enables the government to use public money to fund religion.  That argument is a losing one.  As one Reason.com article recently noted, it ignores private decision making “from the businesses who decide to donate to the scholarship organizations that decide to whom to award the money, to the parents who decide where to send their children.”  School choice programs in other states have survived similar anti-choice attacks. PLF plans to file an amicus brief in this case.

But there is an even more immediate barrier the program must overcome: a repeal bill facing the New Hampshire Senate.  The repeal bill, which already passed in the New Hampshire House, is currently under consideration by the Senate Health, Education and Human Services Committee. The Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing about the bill at the end of the week.

Hopefully these hurdles fall soon, allowing low-income kids to start pursuing their educational goals at the institutions they and their parents think are best.

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