N.H. Dem Senator: School Choice ‘Great if the Parent Is Well-Educated’ But Shouldn’t Be Available to Everyone

A New Hampshire state Democrat argued that only “well-educated” parents should be allowed to exercise choice over their children’s education, and that affording the same right to the less-educated would result in “a huge amount of trouble.”

State Senator Jeanne Dietsch (D., Peterborough) told a House Education Committee hearing on Tuesday that “this idea of parental choice, that’s great if the parent is well-educated. There are some families that’s perfect for. But to make it available to everyone? No. I think you’re asking for a huge amount of trouble,” according to an audio recording obtained by NHJournal.

Dietsch was speaking in favor of a bill she was sponsoring that would repeal a law allowing the state Board of Education to create an alternative program for granting graduation credits, which became the state’s “Learn Everywhere” program.

When pressed by Republicans over whether she believed that “only well-educated parents can make proper decisions for what’s in the best interest of their children,” Dietsch attempted to explain herself.

“In a democracy, and particularly in the United States, public education has been the means for people to move up to greater opportunities, for each generation to be able to succeed more than their parents have. My father didn’t graduate from high school, so it was really important that I went to college,” Dietsch said. “When it gets into the details, would my father have known what courses I should be taking? I don’t think so.”

She insisted on her point, even as committee vice-chairman David Luneau tried explain that Dietsch was not saying parents with low levels of education were not suitable managers of their children’s education.

New Hampshire’s Republican education commissioner Frank Edelblut disagreed with Dietsch’s assessment. “I believe all New Hampshire parents want the best education possible for their children, and should be empowered with choice and options to make that possible,” he told NHJournal.

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