Next Wednesday, March 9th is the date for this.
The SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION FUNDING REFORM will hold a public hearing on a constitutional amendment, CACR 12, at 9:30 AM in the LOB 207.
Here’s the amendment that Speaker O’Brien presented to the committee this morning.
Art. 5-c Public Education.
In fulfillment of the provisions with respect to education set forth in Part II, Article 83, the general court shall have the authority and full discretion to define reasonable standards for elementary and secondary public education, to establish reasonable standards of accountability therefor, and to mitigate local disparities in educational opportunity and fiscal capacity.
Further, in the exercise thereof, the general court shall have full discretion to determine the amount of, and methods of raising and distributing, State funding for education.
The first sentence conflicts with and undermines the right of the people in Art. 6, Pt. I. The people of NH have a constitutional guarantee of the political independence of the towns from state interference when it comes to public instruction, the hiring of teachers and controlling the instruction of their children. This inalienable right of conscience of the people was upheld in Hale v. Everett 1868 and guarantees local control of our schools and prevents state interference.
It is dangerous to grant the legislature the authority to define “standards” and demand “accountability” for public instruction. By defining “standards” the the state controls the curriculum; by requiring accountability the state controls testing. What’s left when the state controls the input and output of public education as well as the purse string for state funding?
These “standards” can trickle down to private and home schools as well, if there’s no longer any protection under Art. 6, Pt I for public schools. The use of the term “reasonable” is problematic and only invites court intervention when disputes over what’s reasonable ensues.
As written CACR 12 is an Act of Uniformity no better than those of the British government in the 1550’s which caused many families to leave England and come to the colonies. The standardization of children by the state, whether deemed “reasonable” or not, is offensive to liberty and sets the stage for tyranny.
The committee email address: ~HouseSpecialCommitteeonEducationFundingReform@leg.state.nh.us