Press Releases


Entries in School Vouchers (20)


Josiah Bartlett Center - Charter Schools, Pensions and Golf Courses

Weekly Update from the
Josiah Bartlett Center

Keeping you up to date on our latest research
on the issues impacting New Hampshire

Two weeks ago, the state board of education denied every charter school application before them citing a financial problem that didn’t exist. Further their action circumvented legislation and calls into question whether they should be permitted to continue in their role as the state authorizingagency for charter schools. Their bad actions can be fixed and they should do so immediately as a gesture of good faith to both the legislature itself and the charter school community in New Hampshire... Click here to keep reading


Pease Golf Course turns Profit by Avoiding Debt

State Golf Course Actually Run Like a Business

While municipally-owned golf courses in Concord and Manchester are leaning on taxpayers to cover for losses, the publicly-owned Pease Golf Course continues to turn a profit. Click here to keep reading

Debates and Charter Schools

Grant Bosse and Paul Westcott break down the latest debate between Ovide Lamontagne and Maggie Hassan, covering Medicare, Medicaid, and charter schools, in this NH Watchdog on WGIR Podcast. Click here to listen.

Final Analysis: Pension Fund sees 0.9% Return

Revised upward from preliminary 0.7% Return

The New Hampshire Retirement System announced Friday that the pension fund posted a 0.9% gain for Fiscal Year 2012. Preliminary estimates had projected a 0.7% gain, but upon the final calculation for the fund’s real estate and alternative assets, the rate of return was revised upward. Click here to keep reading.


AFC - News: Louisiana Teachers Union Makes Racially-Charged Claims about Black Education Reform Group

Louisiana Federation of Teachers makes outlandish, groundless claims that Black Alliance for Educational Options “endorses teaching that the KKK is good”

BATON ROUGE, LA (August 30, 2012)—One of the largest teachers’ unions in Louisiana said in a statement early today that the Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO)—a national group committed to helping give low-income African American families access to high-quality educational choices—“endorses teaching that the KKK is good,” a baseless an unsubstantiated claim that represents a new low in their continued opposition to reforms that challenge the educational status quo.

The American Federation for Children—the nation’s voice for school choice, and a strong and unwavering BAEO ally—strongly condemned the remarks from the Louisiana Federation for Teachers (LFT), which appeared in a message posted on the official LFT Twitter page early this morning. The message was followed up with dozens of additional Twitter messages doubling down on the racist remarks, making demeaning statements about BAEO and other education reform groups and individuals, and making false claims about the nature of the statewide voucher program, its supporters, and how it affects children and families.

At no point on the Twitter feed does the LFT substantiate its claims—those that are completely at odds with the mission of BAEO and its like-minded allies.

“This is an absolutely appalling move by an organization that has taken desperation to new and unseen heights,” said Kevin P. Chavous, a senior advisor to the Federation and the former board chair of BAEO. “BAEO and its allies fight every single day to give children from low-income families access to the best educational options possible. We fight to overcome the institutional bigotry that has sentenced thousands of black children across the country to a substandard education. It’s a sad day when an organization like the Louisiana Federation of Teachers, which says it cares about kids, is among the organizations using degrading, race-baiting tactics to demean the very people who are doing their best to give kids hope.”

Chavous also demanded an apology from the LFT, and called on them to retract their statements or provide evidence backing up their unfounded claims.

“The LFT owes an apology to the thousands of black families across Louisiana who, through the work of BAEO and others, have gained access to an education that has changed their lives for the better,” Chavous said. “That the LFT would also stoop to such a level as families pray for safety in the shadow of a hurricane demonstrates more clearly than ever that this is a group that is out of touch with black families, the values of the people of Louisiana, the history of our country, and basic reality.”

This is the second time in just over a month that a local teachers union has resorted to shameful tactics to try to prevent low-income families from taking advantage of the statewide voucher program. In July, a lawyer on behalf of the Louisiana Association of Educators sent a letter to schools participating in the voucher program, threatening them with lawsuits if they did not drop out of the program. So far, not a single school has stopped its participating.

“The resolve of parents and schools is far greater than the threatening or racist scare-tactics from special interest groups,” Chavous said. “Families will not be intimidated, and they will continue to fight to give their children the best education possible.”

Read this release online here.


AFC - School Voucher Recipients More Likely to Enroll in College

New research shows significant increase in college enrollment for African American students

WASHINGTON, DC (August 23, 2012)—A new study released today by researchers at the Brookings Institution and Harvard University shows that African American participants in a private school choice program were 24 percent more likely to enroll in college as a result of receiving a voucher, reinforcing previously-released data showing improved graduation rates, parental satisfaction, and academic achievement among voucher students.

The American Federation for Children—the nation’s voice for school choice—praised the findings, which tracked voucher students in New York City over a nearly 15-year period. The research also shows that African American enrollment rates in selective colleges more than doubled among voucher students, and the rate of enrollment in full-time colleges increased by a remarkable 31 percent.

The study, which represents one of the longest-term measurements of school outcomes among voucher recipients, is also the first study to use a randomized experiment to measure the impact of school vouchers on college enrollment.

“Once again, the evidence clearly shows that putting all educational options on the table pays dividends for the students, both now and in the long-term,” said Kevin P. Chavous, a senior advisor to the Federation. “This research makes clear the life-changing affect receiving a voucher can have on a child, and should be a signal to folks across the country that we need to bring more choice to the communities most in need. It is both a moral and an economic imperative that we do so.”

Data for the newly-released analysis was drawn from an evaluation of a New York City voucher program that operated in the late 1990s and granted scholarships to low-income students to attend the private school of their parents’ choice. The New York School Choice Scholarships Foundation Program served more than 2,600 students, almost all of whom participated in the study.

The results, which were presented today at an event at the Brookings Institution in Washington, are the latest evidence of the success of private school choice programs. The data is consistent with the results of a 2010 study of the D.C. voucher program by the Department of Education’s Institute for Education Sciences that found voucher participants graduate at a rate of 91 percent—more than 30 percentage points higher than students who stayed in the public schools.

Similar studies showing increased achievement and parental satisfaction have been conducted in Milwaukee, Florida, and Louisiana.

The gold standard study was authored by renowned school choice researcher Paul E. Peterson, a professor at the Harvard Kennedy School, and Matthew M. Chingos, a fellow at Brown Center on Education Policy at the Brookings Institution.

Full findings of the study can be downloaded here.

Read this release online here.


NHDP - ICYMI: Lamontagne pans 1877 decision 

State banned funds for religious schools

Ovide Lamontagne's desire to repeal a 19th-century amendment to the state Constitution came under fire yesterday as Democrats continue to push education as a top issue in this year's gubernatorial race.

At a recent forum featuring Lamontagne and his Republican primary opponent, Kevin Smith, the Manchester attorney used a discussion about school vouchers to express his opposition to an 1877 state constitutional amendment "which specifically states that no taxpayer dollars can be used to support religiously affiliated schools."

"That was an anti-Catholic, Know Nothing amendment which we adopted," said Lamontagne, a graduate of the Catholic University of America who served as chairman of the state Board of Education in the 1990s. "I urge the people of New Hampshire . . . to repeal that amendment and then we can have a debate about to what extent we want to provide full school choice and vouchers to schools that are religiously affiliated."

Lamontagne's comment was captured on video and posted to YouTube by the New Hampshire Democratic Party. Yesterday, party Chairman Ray Buckley and state Sen. Lou D'Allesandro, a Manchester Democrat, took aim at the Republicans' gubernatorial front runner.

"I'm not sure if Ovide Lamontagne is running for governor or auditioning for Hot Tub Time Machine Part 2, Buckley said. "But listening to what he says on the campaign trail, he wants us all to go way back in time on education."

"We believe in public education," D'Allesandro said. "He wants us to go back to that 19th century creation where public money went to these private institutions. I think that's a travesty."

This is the second time in two weeks that Democrats have highlighted education in the race for governor, arguing that a strong public education system is fundamental to economic recovery. Last week, they held a press conference condemning remarks by state GOP Chairman Wayne MacDonald that implied Democratic gubernatorial candidate Maggie Hassan was using education as a distracting "side issue" instead of focusing on jobs and the economy.

Lamontagne and Smith have both expressed support for a school voucher system passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature this year that creates a state business tax credit to fund scholarships for students to attend private schools. At the forum, Lamontagne said the scholarship fund is "exactly" the kind of education initiative the state should be pursuing.

"We need to get the bureaucracy out of education so we have really a system that was designed after World War I, and it needs more site-based management," Lamontagne said. "That's the direction we need to go in."

D'Allesandro called the voucher system a "tragedy." Buckley said the most recent Legislature and Republican positions over the years have shown "a lack of commitment to public education" that "is something that is very troubling to the general public."

"The people of New Hampshire like their schools, they support their school programs," Buckley said.

Buckley said Lamontagne's role as chairman of the state Board of Education "was a major issue in the 1996 gubernatorial race," in which Lamontagne lost by a wide margin to Democrat Jeanne Shaheen after beating former Republican congressman Bill Zeliff in the primary.

"I suspect that the people of New Hampshire will react just as negatively, just as poorly, to even his updated versions of his positions of public education," Buckley said.


Read the Concord Monitor article here.



Candidate Lives At One Of Nation’s Most Elite Schools, Wants to Prevent Access For Less Fortunate

CONCORD, N.H.—Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Maggie Hassan continued her track record of mean-spirited hypocrisy by pledging to repeal a scholarship program that allows less fortunate children to attend private school all while living on the campus of one of the nation’s most prestigious prep schools, according to 4RG Chairman Andrew Hemingway.

NEA-NH-endorsed Maggie Hassan lives on the campus of Phillips Exeter Academy, which was ranked by Forbes as the sixth best prep school in the country. Her husband, principal of the prestigious private school, rakes in a salary of $250,000 a year. 

Yet, Hassan, when talking with a group of supporters about ways to bring in more money so she can increase government spending, suggested: “you can repeal this school voucher system that [Republicans] just passed, which is going to divert money to private schools.” (Please view this video starting at 4:07:

Hassan was referring to SB 372, which offers a tax credit to companies that put money into a scholarship program that will help poor and middle class students attend a private school.

“Maggie Hassan is perfectly comfortable launching her political career from the grounds of one of the nation’s best schools where her family lives and receives a substantial financial benefit, yet she is very quick to deny poor and middle class children the chance to attend a private school with children of her same financial capacity,” Hemingway said. “Do New Hampshire residents really want a governor who gives lip service to middle class families and those even less fortunate all while denying these same people the educational opportunities that her children have always had?

“I think it’s about time that someone shines a light on Maggie Hassan’s hypocrisy,” Hemingway added. “Maggie Hassan lives by a double standard under which people of her ‘stature’ deserve the best money has to offer, but children of middle- and low-income families have to be subjected to NEA-run schools that aim to provide an ‘adequate education’ at the very best. Don’t middle class and lower class children deserve the same ‘excellent education’ that Maggie Hassan’s two children received?”


About 4RG
4RG, which means “For a Republican Governor,” was founded by Andrew Hemingway as a PAC focused exclusively on supporting Republican candidates for governor. 4RG intends to fill voids in grassroots organizing, polling, door knocking and literature drops for Republican governor candidates all across the country. Additionally, the organization will promote its candidates online using social media technology developed by the founder. Please donate to 4RG to help us augment Republican governor campaign activities where we’re needed most, which will slowly help us work to restore our state governments as the strong Republics they once were. For more information, visit