I am writing in response to Rep. Laurel Libby’s commentary, “Let’s let Maine parents decide how to spend on education,” published Jan. 27. I am a resident of Rep. Libby’s district and am interested in her position. While private school students sometimes get higher scores, it is important to recognize that private schools choose their students and what services they offer them. Students and families that struggle and/or don’t fit in can be pushed aside.

Secondly, school choice is expensive. Maine must continue to fund schools at 55% and would pay for vouchers on top of that. The Arizona bill is projected to cost $125.4 million annually by 2025. New Hampshire expects to spend as much as $77 million for the first three years of the program.

Finally, because of a recent Supreme Court ruling, vouchers can go to any private religious school. If much of the day is religious instruction, taxpayers are footing the bill. Arizona, praised in Rep. Libby’s column, has no standards of accountability and/or performance for the private schools it funds.

The welfare of society depends on all students being educated. This is particularly true in an era where menial work continues to become mechanized. Pressures on society are impacting schools just as they are affecting all facets of our lives. Maine has one of the most equitable funding formulas in in the nation. Let’s keep it that way.

Susan Martin

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