Some thoughts on the push to crush public education

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by Nathan Graziano

grazianoI teach in a public school so I can’t possibly write a column about school vouchers with a modicum of diplomacy. This screed will invariably devolve into another hot-shot of liberal vitriol, right?


I completely understand why parents and taxpayers are frustrated with public education in their respective cities and towns. Many of the schools in New Hampshire are missing the mark when it comes to results in the classroom, and it can seem like the students aren’t learning anything other than how to barricade the classroom doors.

I get it, and I agree: While public schools aren’t nearly the cesspools some people make them out to be, they can do better.

But I also realize that all of us—teachers, students and parents, alike—are still experiencing a hangover from a pandemic that cost students close to a year of instruction. Even at the college level, many students are still recovering, intellectually and psychologically.

Everyone in education was aware that remote and hybrid learning models were a Band-Aid and a bit of a farce. But the whole world was winging it from March 2020 to May 2023.

But the pandemic also threw open a window that was only cracked beforehand. Suddenly, the public—particularly parents and taxpayers—became much more comfortable airing their discontent with public education and educators.

Now New Hampshire is seeing a push toward voucher programs, where per-pupil funds are reallocated away from the public schools and into the hands of parents, who can opt to use the money to help pay the tuition for their children to private or charter schools, or to defray the cost of home schooling.

But is the problem that public schools are inept, or is it more ideological in nature?

For example, some people used the pandemic as an opportunity to impugn public educators for curricular decisions. Some organizations even put bounties on teachers’ heads[1].

Without a clear definition of the term, some people were claiming that public schools were indoctrinating students with Critical Race Theory—a.k.a. U.S. History—and other liberal propaganda.

Meanwhile, these publicly-funded Marxist breeding grounds were also allowing transgender students to use their own bathrooms[2]. It is true that most schools now have gender-neutral bathrooms, but this is not liberal propaganda. It is called “being compassionate.”

And while I’ve seen a few teachers throughout my 25-year career in public education go rogue—using their classroom positions to proselytize, from both sides of the political spectrum—they have been few and far between.

Most public school teachers don’t go into this profession nefariously rubbing their hands together with the intention of indoctrinating the community’s children with a progressive agenda. And they certainly don’t go into the profession for the fat paychecks or the public’s praise.

Most public school teachers go into the profession because they care about kids.


New Hampshire is on a slippery slope. While there are some tremendous private and charter schools in the state—and there are many dedicated parents who are qualified to home-school their kids—there are just as many that are not, and school vouchers are not the answer.

If we keep cutting funds for public education, which is instrumental in establishing a society that is safe and smart and equitable, then we end up with even larger chunks of the population who are barely literate and unable to think critically.

And the last I checked, those are pretty important prerequisites for any healthy democracy.


[1]  True story: The Moms of Liberty were offering $500 bounty to anyone who turned in a teacher for breaking a bullshit New Hampshire law called “The Right to Freedom from Discrimination in the Workplaces and Education Act” that purportedly banned anyone from teaching about race and gender.

[2] Another true story: A group of men, beer-bombed at a bar, once asked me, upon finding out that I was high school teacher, if we really set up litter boxes in the bathrooms for the students who identified as cats. I assured these men—two of whom were donning MAGA hats—that this was erroneous information. I told them that I, personally, identified as a transgender cheetah named Tiberius, and I used conventional toilets at work.


About this Author

Nathan Graziano

Nathan Graziano lives in Manchester with his wife and kids. He's the author of nine collections of fiction and poetry. His most recent book, Born on Good Friday was published by Roadside Press in 2023. He's a high school teacher and freelance writer, and in his free time, he writes bios about himself in the third person. For more information, visit his website: