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Thursday, April 26, 2012

School tax credits would hurt education

Letter to the Editor

“All journeys must begin with a single step. Let’s take that step with scholarship tax credits,“ write House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt, R-Salem, and Rep. Greg Hill, R-Northfield, in a Sunday Telegraph guest commentary (April 22: “Choice in education shouldn’t be restricted to the rich”).

Actually, gentlemen, you have already taken the first steps in your journey. A journey cynically designed to defund public education.

Step one? How about the evisceration of funding for our community college and university systems to the tune of some $50 million?

Subsequent steps? How about Bettencourt’s enthusiastic endorsement at this winter’s testimonial, um, town hall meeting in Mont Vernon of Speaker William O’Brien’s advocacy for staff reductions, vouchers and, of course, that old standby, home schooling.

Thus, this pathetically irresponsible bill (HB 1607) is really step four or five in your ongoing assault on public education.

Surely, you cannot believe that $2,500 will afford any better “choices” for “middle-class,” “disadvantaged” or “special- needs” students that can remotely replicate the education and services delivered in the public realm.

What this bill does aim to deliver, had you the intellectual honesty and courage to admit, are reductions in staff, enrollment and state revenue while advancing the Norquistian dream of dismantling government.

Jayson Darula

Mont Vernon