Governor Sununu gets a failing grade on education

As part of the New Hampshire Democratic Party’s “Sununu Reality Check” accountability project, we will be highlighting the ways in which Chris Sununu’s out-of-touch policies benefit his friends, family, donors, and corporate special interests instead of average Granite Staters. Each day this week, we will address one of the project’s five areas of concern.

Today’s focus is on Sununu failing grade on education:

“Chris Sununu’s budget featured over $100 million in tax cuts for the top three percent of corporations in New Hampshire, yet he couldn’t cobble together the money to freeze skyrocketing tuitions at our colleges and universities,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Communications Director Wyatt Ronan. “While students and their parents are simply looking for a good education, Sununu’s political pick for Education Commissioner is trying to limit lessons about climate change, defend discriminatory practices like conversion therapy, and give himself more power. Now, Sununu is pushing school vouchers, which would take money from already-underfunded public schools to fund unregulated, unaccountable private and religious schools.  It’s clear that Sununu’s efforts do more to hurt students than help them in furtherance of his partisan ideology.”

“Sununu needs a reality check if he thinks bonuses for corporate executives are more important than retaining and educating New Hampshire’s next generation,” added Ronan.

See below for a reality check on Chris Sununu’s failing grade on education:

Sununu chooses not to freeze tuition as student costs rise 

While Sununu proposed $800 million in new spending in his budget, none of it went to the University System of New Hampshire. In contrast, then-Governor Maggie Hassan reduced in-state tuition in 2014 and froze it in 2015 & 2016 for community colleges. USNH Chancellor Todd Leach expressed “deep disappointment” in the governor’s decision not to freeze tuition for college students, who face some of the highest tuition costs in the country.

New Hampshire’s own Betsy DeVos

In Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut, Governor Sununu found the best Betsy DeVos impersonator he could find. (after all, Sununu personally lobbied for DeVos during her confirmation). Like DeVos, Edelblut has no experience in public schools, but his lack of qualification doesn’t stop at his inexperience. Edelblut’s radical views span from his support for gay conversion therapy for minors to his opposition to transgender rights to his desire to limit the amount that climate change in taught in classrooms. Edelblut has also pushed beyond the boundaries of his own department: He has attended local Republican Party events, inappropriately dipping his toes in political activity, including a 603 Alliance event headlined by Steve Bannon, who has complained that his children go to school with too many Jews. Edelblut requested an overhaul of the Department of Education that would grant him more power, despite promising to be the “implementation guy” in his confirmation hearing.

School vouchers

During his campaign for governor, Sununu supported giving taxpayer money to unregulated, unaccountable private, religious and home schools. This policy would put public schools at a severe disadvantage, with fewer resources for students in need. Former Governor Jeb Bush wrote an op-ed in support of Sununu’s school voucher bill that was fact-checked by Politico, rating his supportive claims as “Mostly False.” This month, Governor Sununu launched a media campaign for these school vouchers, which would allow taxpayer dollars to go to schools like Tri-City Christian Academy, which banned a valedictorian transgender student just last month.

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