Retired software entrepreneur Bill Duncan has been leading the fight to protect the state’s public schools from the Tea Partiers and Free Staters who have sought to dismantle it. Here’s how he described the challenge in a 2011 op-ed:
America’s system of public education, invented by Jefferson and Adams, is the foundation of our democracy and our market economy. The debates, regardless of politics, have always been about how to improve it to enable our kids to compete in the world.
But when today’s Republicans talk public education reform, they mean to dismantle public education — or “government schools,” as they call them — and replace them with private, religious and home schools.
New Hampshire’s public school system works well today. We cannot allow the Republican Legislature to violate the public trust by gutting it and giving the funds to private, religious and home schools.
Monday, Gov. Hassan nominated Duncan to serve on the state Board of Education. Given Duncan’s combativeness — and effectiveness — it’s no surprise those on the right lashed out at the nomination. And lash out they did!
"Bill Duncan is a proponent of destroying a child’s future," wrote Rep. JR Hoell (R-Dunbarton). “This clown needs to be voted down!”
"Can you spell NIGHTMARE to parents and school choice?" asked Rep. Jane Cormier (R-Alton). “Just YUCK.”
New Hampshire GOP chair Jennifer Horn described Duncan as “a radical anti-school choice activist,” a characterization echoed by state Sen. Andy Sanborn (R-Bedford).
Eight Republican House lawmakers, including Hoell, Pam Tucker (R-Greenland), Leon Rideout (R-Lancaster), Dan Itse (R-Fremont) and David Murotake (R-Nashua) along with Free Staters Laura Jones (R-Rochester), Carol McGuire (R-Epsom) and Michael Sylvia (R-Belmont) signed a letter blasting Duncan for making “outrageous public statements” and calling him “unqualified to fill the position.”
Greg Moore, director of the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity wrote, “Nominating Bill Duncan to the State Board of Education would be like putting General George Kuster [sic] in charge of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.”
The Executive Council will likely take up Duncan’s nomination tomorrow. The New Hampshire Tea Party has called on opponents to demonstrate against the nomination. “The Press will be there to cover the protest,” they wrote, “so bring signs.”