Sen. Molly Kelly: Strengthening NH’s Economy by Protecting Education

Education is the foundation of a strong economy. Over the past few years, legislation has been passed that improves New Hampshire’s educational system and prepares our students to compete in the 21st century.

As part of our bipartisan reforms, we identified curriculum standards for an adequate education for all New Hampshire students.

But as we begin our legislative session under the new majority, there is a movement to undo the progress we have made.

HB 39 proposes eliminating arts education, world languages, health education and technology education – which includes information and communication technologies – from the state’s core curriculum stan-dards.

Local school districts choosing to offer these subjects would have to do so at their own expense, which would certainly require an increase in local property taxes.

Additionally, this bill diminishes the state’s responsibility to provide an equal opportunity for a quality education for all of our students.

Not only would this proposal downshift massive costs to our local school districts and create inequality within our education system, but it would be detrimental to the growth and sustainability of New Hampshire’s economy.

Advanced manufacturing is a rapidly growing industry in New Hampshire, but it relies on an educated and trained work force.

If we eliminate information and communication technologies from our core standards, we will slide backward and lose this growing industry to other states and countries that have invested in a better educated work force.

Furthermore, in order to compete in the 21st century economy, we must prepare our students with skills to communicate in an increasingly global world.

Eliminating languages severely inhibits their chances for success in their chosen careers.

By the time our students graduate high school, many of their counterparts across the world can speak at least one if not several languages besides their native tongue.

The skill of learning another language is necessary for future success, and the vast majority of four-year universities and colleges require students to have studied a foreign language in order to matriculate.

Not only do we need to ensure that we can compete nationally and globally, we need to strengthen our local economy.

A study conducted by Americans for the Arts in 2009 showed that for every $1 spent on the arts, $7 was returned to the local economy.

We risk losing this economic stimulus that many of our communities depend on if we shortchange arts education.

By ensuring that our students receive the best education possible, we are not only preparing the future generation for success, but we are positioning ourselves for a bright future.

By maintaining high educational standards, we are investing in and strengthening our state’s economy and can attract new jobs to the Granite State.

In tough economic times, there are certainly difficult decisions to make about where we spend our money.

But ensuring an equal opportunity for a quality education for all New Hampshire students is essential to our success as a state.

Sen. Molly Kelly, a Keene Democrat, represents District 10 in the New Hampshire Senate.

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