To The Daily Sun,

Mr. Leonard Campbell, who is a friend of mine, opposes this bill, I respectfully disagree with him and wholeheartedly support HB20.

I disagree with Leonard’s premise that this bill is an assault on public schools. To the contrary it offers strong competition that likely will result in better public schools. And it offers improvement available to all students, even those stuck in underperforming schools, who do not have the wherewithal to fund a private education on their own, or whose parents do not know their rights for their kid’s education.

I speak from a position of experience, having educated six children, in three different settings: Catholic school (Holy Trinity, Laconia), public schools (Laconia) and secular private school (Parker Academy, Concord). Three of our kids had reading disabilities and needed substantial remediation.

The disabilities were recognized in Catholic school, and the Catholic school soon recognized their deficiencies were too severe for the Catholic school to improve, they suggested the best place for them would be the public school. The public school also agreed that they had the programs and teachers to improve their reading. My wife and I cried at the thought of changing schools but we did it hoping it was the right decision.

Unfortunately, the public school failed miserably in improving their reading abilities. Years passed with no grade improvement in these kids' ability to read. They were stuck a number of years behind, exactly the same level of reading as they were on arrival to the public schools. We did a lot of research and found  a program that we believed offered good hope in making progress. The public school refused to recognize their failure and refused to offer any financial assistance to the secular private school that had a great track record of success in kids like ours.

We had to hire an educational attorney to prove to the public school their abject failure with our kids and that time is of the essence as the kids were quickly growing up. The public school was forced to pay most or some of this special program in a private school setting. The results were extraordinary. Our kids gained up to 5 years reading level in one year with more gains to follow.

Now clearly many parents do not know they have these rights or have the financial ability to battle with the public schools to achieve them. And they shouldn’t have to! This is why I support HB 20. I think every family deserves the right to choose the school that best fits their children’s academic needs and my tax dollars should go toward that end. No parents should go through what we experienced.

I hope this argument is viewed as refreshing to many. Leonard, my friend, and I are having a discussion on this subject in a civil and respectful manner! Who knew this could happen in our society! Please try it some time.

Respectfully,

Tom Garrity

Laconia

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