Periodically we share stories from New Hampshire families about their experiences with educational opportunities as part of our Family Profile series.
This one comes from a Millennial parent who values choice. As a current homeschooling family, they will not benefit from the Education Savings Account bill, yet she believes it is critical for NH children and our state’s future. The following is a letter she wrote to the House Finance Committee in support of Senate Bill 193 and is shared with permission.
House Finance Committee.
Please support ESA’s, recognizing the long-term benefit to our state’s finances, as well as the short-term immediate relief for children in need and the provisions that prevent the local schools from being hurt by the ESA’s.
Personally, the ESA’s will not help me financially one bit. I have to continue paying full freight (taxes plus home education costs) for my 4 children… yet I fully support ESA’s from a taxpayer perspective.
My local school needs to see competition. If only 5% of students use the ESA option, this won’t hurt my school financially. They’ll have more left per child to spend, in fact!
I used to believe education was only about academics, but now I see it as 30-40 hours of a child’s week in an environment that affects their mental, academic, and social growth – or in the case of many situations in our local schools, a lack thereof. When a child is anxious, stressed, bored, bullied, etc, their brain is unable to absorb and process new material. Yet we spent on average $17,000 for that child’s school year! That is waste we can cut out!
I do believe it’s too much to ask of our public schools to expect them to meet all the needs of all children and families. Those financial costs will continue to soar way beyond inflation if we continue to allow the public schools to have a near monopoly, waiting on them endlessly to make good on their promise to one day become excellent for everyone. That increase in cost is one NH citizens are not only weary from trying to sustain, but is pushing some families to move to states of lower taxation.
Meanwhile, while we wait, the cost to those children being left behind who are NOT experiencing mental, academic, and healthy social growth is huge. A recent Exeter High grad told me he can’t remember the last time he read a book. Meanwhile, my oldest child (in middle school) reads 3 books a week; that boy was never given the right environment to be inspired and coached to learn to love reading. His life will be forever impacted because he has wasted years not learning. Think of what that means now for his prospects of ever starting a business, being a high wage-earning employee, and even the likelihood that his future children will be challenges in the school system (poverty of the mind does tend to pass on generationally).
Thanks to ESA’s, now more children will have an option.
$3400 will indeed help families get their kids to the nearby Catholic school in Hampton, one of the Christian schools near Dover, and should there be a Muslim/Buddhist/you name it private school approved by the state, then that is alright in my NH Live Free or Die book, too! $3400 isn’t even the entire variable cost of a student each year in public schools, so schools will have the entire $12,000+ in fixed costs plus more for all remaining students.
Primarily, these ESAs will create competition.
As a millennial parent originally from the south, I attest to my generation weighing all options when considering jobs and where to live. We like choice! This bill will be a draw for other new families to come to our state. If we remain a state with schools that are so-so (50% of kids are proficient at grade level), families will gravitate elsewhere.