Short-Sighted House Finance Subcommittee Vote on Kindergarten is Wrong for New Hampshire

Media Contact: Allie Wright, [email protected], (202) 794-1823

SCAN calls on Republican legislators to stand by Governor Sununu’s plan

Concord, N.H. (March 22, 2017) – Division II of the state House Finance Committee voted 5-3 this afternoon to strip $18 million from Governor Sununu’s budget that invested in kids by providing additional targeted funding for full-day kindergarten programs. This action comes after ill-advised comments from Speaker Shawn Jasper, which indicated his opposition to ensuring more of New Hampshire’s children have an opportunity to attend full-day kindergarten. 

“This is a short-sighted decision by a subcommittee of the Finance Committee,” said Mark Shriver, president of Save the Children Action Network (SCAN.) “When he proposed his budget last month, Governor Sununu showed that he recognizes the importance of a full-day of kindergarten and understands the long-term economic benefits quality early learning programs can have for New Hampshire. The Republican majority in the House should stand with Governor Sununu and vote to put the full-day kindergarten funding request back into the budget.” 

In a March 21st article in the Concord Monitor, Speaker Jasper was quoted as saying “the capacity of a 6-year-old to be attentive in the classroom for a full day is pretty much non-existent.” This statement is contradicted by years of research and data that demonstrates the benefits high-quality early childhood education has for young children. Jasper’s position also puts him far outside the state’s political mainstream. A poll commissioned by SCAN in November 2016 showed 85 percent of voters wanted Governor Sununu to make early education a high priority and 69 percent wanted to fund full-day kindergarten, even if it was paid for by a cigarette tax increase.

Governor Sununu recognized the popularity of full-day kindergarten when he said in his budget address last month: “I’ve heard from many young parents that this is a priority of theirs…So, I am proud today to be the first governor to deliver a real full-day kindergarten program for communities across the state.”

SCAN has demonstrated strong support for the governor’s plan, including the release of television ads praising the proposal and targeted digital ads that urge legislators to vote in favor of the $18 million allocation.

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Save the Children Action Network is the political voice for kids. We believe that every child deserves the best start in life. That’s why we’re building bipartisan will and voter support to make sure every child in the U.S. has access to high-quality early learning and that no mother or child around the globe dies from a preventable disease or illness. By investing in kids and holding leaders accountable, we are helping kids from birth to age five survive and thrive. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.