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Opting out: School choice the wrong way

After a Bedford family made national news by objecting to the assignment of a left-wing propaganda book as required reading in a high school personal finance course, Republicans sought a legislative solution. They proposed letting parents opt out of any course material they find objectionable. It was an overreaction.

House Bill 542 would have amended state law to &#';Require school districts to adopt a policy allowing an exception to specific course material based on a parent&#';s or legal guardian&#';s determination that the material is objectionable.&#'; Though that sounds appealing at first blush, it is so broad that it would make public education essentially an a la carte menu.

It is true that public schools are too inflexible and don&#';t allow enough choice. They would benefit greatly from the competition that comes from charter schools and vouchers. But this bill put the burden on each public school to create a curriculum catered to each family&#';s individual tastes. Schools would have to provide alternatives to any instruction a family opposed, and a family could oppose anything for any reason. That is neither workable, nor sensible.

Gov. John Lynch vetoed the bill last week. He was right to do so.

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