Linda Tanner: Free education is a public good
New Hampshire is being used as a test case for the most expansive pay-as-you-go voucherized system in the nation. In this op-ed for the Concord Monitor, NH State Representative Linda Tanner lays out what’s happening, and why it’s wrong.
I believe that free public education is a public good and part of our social contract. It is a public service that can be utilized by everyone, governed by a democratic process of an elected school board accountable to the community. Public education offers equal opportunity and is a cornerstone of our democracy. The underlying principle is that every child, no matter the circumstances of their background or who they are, deserves a fair start in life. Public education is about lifting us up, not weeding us out. Even if you are born into a situation without money or power, you have a chance to make your life better by developing knowledge, skills, and having a window to opportunities.
The voucher system is the libertarian dream scheme to privatize education by fracturing the “system,” forcing the dismantling of our public schools, taking away any governmental oversight or requirements on education, and placing the cost of education on the pocketbooks of parents and local taxpayers. Education will be a market commodity not a public good.