Education tax credit ruling hits low-income families

What opponents fail to recognize is that private schools offer a healthy competition to public schools

Since its implementation on Jan. 1, the education tax credit has been popular among parents as well as the business community, which has given generously to the fund. This program has been run solely upon donations from businesses, which are then distributed by the scholarship organization to families who apply for assistance.

The credit was a godsend for low-income parents, as it allowed them to send their children to more academically rigorous schools, increasing their likelihood of breaking the chain of poverty and realizing their full potential as citizens.

Now the education tax credit has been ruled unconstitutional by Strafford County Superior Court Judge John Lewis. Unconstitutional? The money secured from the scholarship program never goes to the state. In fact, those who established the program carefully designed it so the funds are moved into a charitable organization and are completely protected from greedy hands in Concord.

Why are so many on the political left arguing that the tax credit is unconstitutional? Because the credit allows for young people to be educated in private schools as opposed to government-run schools. Gov. Maggie Hassan boldly called the ruling “a victory for New Hampshire public education.”

What the governor and the left fail to recognize is that private schools offer a healthy competition to public schools. Many are demonstrating what education can – and should – accomplish. Allowing parents to send their children to schools with superior test scores and greater academic rigor does not threaten public education – it should encourage public education to improve.

Worst of all, they are violating the rights of the most vulnerable in our society by forcing them into a one-size-fits-all educational model that takes choices away from parents. They cannot legally infringe upon the rights of parents who can afford to send their children to private schools, but they can make it difficult for low-income families. And that is precisely what they chose to do.

While I appreciate the value of public education for all, we must never forget that it is the parent who is responsible for the education of their child. It is a manipulation and a rejection of this fundamental right that is animating the actions of the left.

Denying 400 students from low-income families the right to attend an academically rigorous school with a more wholesome culture is a selfish act that must be called out for what it is.

Ashley Pratte is executive director of Cornerstone-Action and Cornerstone Policy Research.

Categories: Opinion