April 17, 2024

Garry Rayno: Education Priorities Upside Down in Legislature

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Garry Rayno keeps an eye on education shenanigans in New Hampshire, and right now, things seem upside down.

From the new proposed rules for education minimum standards to alternative education opportunities, the state legislature and the executive branch appear to have their priorities upside down.

Call it culture wars, call it the war on public education or whatever you want, but much more attention is being paid to about 3 or 4 percent of the state’s school-age students — mostly in private and religious schools or home-schooled — while about 24 percent of public school students with food insecurity do not receive the same attention.

While there is ample evidence a hungry student is not a student fully focused on his or her studies, and is less likely to succeed academically than those who aren’t hungry when they come to school, the House last week by the slimmest of margins, said the food insecure kids could go hungry in this, one of the wealthiest per-capita states in the country.

House Bill 1212 supporters were willing to trim the cost by reducing the income cap from 350 percent of the federal poverty level to 250 percent or about $17 million annually from the Education Trust Fund instead of $50 million.

But that failed to induce enough Republican support to take the bill off the table where a near party line vote had put it, effectively killing it for this year.

The Republican majority also did not want to spend $150,000 of federal pandemic money to hire a coordinator to help about 1,500 homeless students who do not qualify for state homeless services because they do not live with their parents.

Many of the 1,500 students are in the LGBTQIA+ community.

Many of the same people who did not want to spend state or federal money to feed the hungry and help the homeless children and youths favor greater restrictions on abortions or are “pro-life.”

What they are saying with their votes, is we want you to have babies whether you want them or not or whether you can afford them or not, but once they are born, you’re responsible for taking care of them with no help from us.

Read the full op-ed here at In Depth NH.

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