CACR 12, the education funding amendment supported by House Speaker Bill O’Brien, Senate President Peter Bragdon and Gov. John Lynch, grants the legislature the “full power and authority” to determine standards and funding for the state’s public schools.
Former New Hampshire Democratic Party chair Kathy Sullivan opposes the proposed constitutional amendment. “You cannot trust this Legislature with your kids’ education,” she warns.
We can hope the current Legislature will be washed away on the tides of the 2012 election, but if they are not, we will be dealing with the same people who would eliminate kindergarten, lower the drop-out age and tell communities that they cannot participate in programs like the International Baccalaureate Program. Putting Bill O’Brien in charge of educational funding and standards is an invitation for New Hampshire’s public schools to bear more than a passing resemblance to those in Alabama or Mississippi.
I do not believe that the goal of Speaker O’Brien is to permit targeted aid. I believe that his goal, and the goal of a number of other Republicans promoting the amendment, is to permit the Legislature to strip as much state funding as they can from the public schools, while taking over the content of what is taught in the schools. That is what the language in this amendment permits, and this is what Bill O’Brien and his majority will do if this amendment passes.