Joe Schapiro: Edelblut is waging war on education
Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut has been the face of a remarkable and alarming attack on public education in New Hampshire. This op-ed from Joe Schapiro outlines some of the actions of this pro-privatization official.
The commissioner gave his full-throated support to a school voucher program which, since being inserted into the budget and signed by the governor, is widely viewed as the most extreme in the country. Estimated to attract a handful of students at a minimal cost in its first year it is now 5,000 percent over budget, at a cost to taxpayers of approximately $8 million dollars for this year alone.
This fall the commissioner was the featured speaker at a meeting of the Government Integrity Project, an extreme right-wing organization that promotes unfounded reports of election fraud, organizes protests against the use of masks in schools, and disrupts school board meetings around the state.
Also this fall, the commissioner spoke to the Cheshire County Republican Committee. It is no coincidence that soon afterward, a small group of people attended the Chesterfield School Board meeting demanding all curriculum information and reading material used in classes in order to cleanse the school of teaching “divisive concepts.”
Now Commissioner Edelblut has added to the Department of Education website, a page that invites and encourages parents and students, to make complaints about their teachers under the thinly veiled guise of discrimination based on being made to feel guilty on account of being white. This is a naked act of incitement and a call to vigilantism against the very people whom we entrust to teach and care for our children.
Whether it’s defunding our schools, disrupting efforts to keep our students safe, censoring essential discussion about race, or supporting unfounded accusations against educators, Frank Edelblut supports them all.