Perhaps Betsy DeVos knows that the Trump administration’s days in power are winding down. She is throwing $46 million in federal money at New Hampshire in an effort to destroy the state’s public schools. This grant will double the number of charter schools in the state. Most of the state is rural or small towns. The largest city in the state is Manchester, with a population of about 100,000, with 14,000 students.

The Congressional delegation and legislature are Democrats but the Governor Chris Sununu is a conservative Republican who appoints the State Board of Education and the state commissioner of education. The latter, Frank Edelblut, homeschooled his seven children. Edelblut has proposed a program called “Learn Everywhere,” which would compel districts to pay for programs offered by for-profit or non-profit non-school providers. Edelblut has a vision of deschooling or unschooling, disestablishing public schools. He is like Betsy DeVos, only worse. Governor Sununu’s State Board narrowly approved ”Learn Everywhere.” Edelblut says public schools will “save money,” because they will cut programs and lay off teachers. Public money will flow to private providers and there will be less for public schools. He likes that. A state legislative committee is trying to block Learn Everywhere, saying that the state can’t tell districts how to spend money.

DeVos is helping Edelblut undermine the NH public schools.

The New Hampshire Department of Education is getting $46 million from the federal government to expand public charter schools over the next five years.

The DOE says it will use the money to help new charter schools with start-up costs and increase professional development for charter school staff.

Charter schools have been slow to grow in New Hampshire. Over the past 15 years, the State Board of Education has approved 33 charters, and 28 schools are now operating. With this new grant, the DOE says it plans to add 27 new schools over the next five years, with a particular focus on serving poor and at-risk students.

The grant money will be used to help schools with start-up costs, rather than ongoing operational costs, which are covered by a combination of state funding and external fundraising.

The state has no income tax or sales tax, which means schools are funded by property taxes. The property owners will bear the cost of two separate school systems, even if they would rather support their community public schools.

Meanwhile, folks in New Hampshire have some questions about who will pay for the charters after the federal start-up money is spent. They point out that the state’s few ”high quality” charters do not enroll many students eligible for free-reduced price lunch (i.e., low-income.) Commissioner Edelblut is thrilled with the chance to defund public schools.

No Democrat should support charter schools. They are an integral component of the rightwing effort to privatize public funding.