A report from left-leaning media outlet NHPR on how parents are spending their Education Freedom Account money has inspired outrage from Granite State Democrats. They are apparently horrified that parents are spending education funding dollars to, well, fund education.
The EFA program lets families earning less than 300 percent of the federal poverty level receive the state’s share of their child’s school spending and use it on alternatives to their assigned public school. It’s a win-win for the families — who get an education they believe is better suited to their students’ needs — and the local schools, who still receive the local funding (usually around $15,000 per) for a student the school no longer has to serve.
State House Democrats overwhelmingly oppose the EFA program, despite its popularity with parents and voters, and they are proposing bills to restrict it or kill it entirely.
NHPR reported on publicly-available data released by the New Hampshire Department of Education showing “participants spent a total of about $805,000 at Amazon.com and approximately $2.76 million at private schools last year.”
Given that Amazon is both the world’s largest marketplace and the biggest online bookseller (with more than 1,000 items under the “homeschooling materials — 1st grade” category alone), it’s hardly a surprise that parents buy education supplies there. And spending education money at private schools is a no-brainer as well.
NHPR also specifically noted that “Among the program’s biggest supporters in the legislature is House Majority Leader Jason Osborne. According to records, a homeschooling company run by his wife received $28,750 last year in Education Freedom Account funding.”
There’s nothing unusual about a homeschooling company being hired to help homeschool kids. But because some moms and dads picked a company owned by a Republican politician’s wife, Democrats pounced.
“Corruption doesn’t get much more blatant,” tweeted New Hampshire Democratic Party communications director Colin Booth. State Rep. Laura Telerski (D-Nashua) and other Democrats promptly liked and retweeted his message.
NHJournal asked Booth to explain the “blatant corruption” he had in mind, but he declined to comment. We’ll confess — we’re stumped.
To be clear: EFA money goes to parents. Parents decide how to educate their children. Based on the $28 grand in question, it looks like about six kids are using services from Osborne’s wife. She’s selling, they’re buying.
The New Hampshire Democratic Party calls that “corrupt.”
But if that’s the new standard for corruption — voting to spend money that eventually reaches someone in your family — then what to do about Democratic legislators who have spouses, children, or other relatives who work in public schools? Every state budget has billions of school spending, dollars these Democrats voted to send…. right into their families’ pockets!
Then there are the votes for Medicaid expansion. How many legislators have family members on Medicaid? And don’t get us started on votes to fund state pensions, cast by legislators on pensions. Forget the “mom and dad middlemen;” these Democrats are literally voting themselves cash.
Quick, Colin — start tweeting!
This argument is obviously ludicrous. And Colin Booth isn’t a dumb guy. So, why make it?
People make bad arguments when they can’t think of any good ones.
Parents want them, kids like them, and local schools get more money per pupil thanks to them. The only people who lose are teachers unions, as their monopoly on education continues to crumble.
But if the NHDP wants to find “blatant corruption,” it might start with legislators whose campaigns are funded with millions in cash and labor from teachers unions, then cast votes to force kids into failing public schools on behalf of those same union groups.
Go get ’em, Democrats. We’re all counting on you.