Senate Bill 193 in New Hampshire, which would provide a type of voucher for parents who send their children to private schools, passed the state House earlier this month with a comfortable margin, Courthouse News reports.
The bill, if passed, would allow certain parents to redirect money from the state away from their public school district and into private schools to which they choose to send their children. It is scheduled for a hearing before a state Senate committee in April.
Proponents of school choice support the bill, including most of the Republicans in the New Hampshire House and Gov Chris Sununu, say the bill will step up the competition public schools feel and possibly drive them to make improvements.
“We have an education system in this state where we have many fine public schools, but from top down, from Washington, DC, to Concord, the establishment has over-regulated this industry, this business,” the news service quoted state Rep Rick Ladd, a Republican, as saying. “What we need to do is provide opportunity for children. Competition is good, not just for the private school but for the public school.”
Opponents of the bill say it will take away money from public schools and render them less able to provide the kind of educational programming students need in school, although some of the funds directed away from the public schools might be partially reimbursed in certain cases.
That reimbursement wouldn’t cover all the losses, of course, and the vote in the House, 184-162, was mostly along party lines, although some legislators crossed those lines. As we have pointed out, though (here and here), competition doesn’t really work the way voucher proponents and business captains think it might when in the context of public schools.