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Picture of a high school in New Hampshire.

Education on the ballot for many

Voters say they want fun and affordable education.

By Kathryn Gilroy

Former educator Judi Lindsey said education is one of her top issues in 2024. She voted for Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson and canvassed for her in front of the Green Street Community Center in Concord, New Hampshire, this week because of Williamson’s positions on education reform and climate policy.

“Because I was a teacher, I saw the public schools,” Lindsey said. “They need to be, as [Williamson] says, palaces of learning. We should have the best there.”

Lindsey said that the entire education system needs to be redone to make it more child-centered.

“We make it fun, and you can make it so much more affordable,” Lindsey said. “Every kid should have the same chance.”

However, Guilford, New Hampshire, resident Ivan Govish said the education system should teach children only some topics.

“They’re pushing a lot of the trans stuff into school,” Govish said. “That is probably the biggest one, and then the gender therapy for little kids and all that nonsense.”

Classes addressing gender identity are an exception in American schools, according to The . Only seven states require that curriculums include LGBTQ topics, and the federal government recommends that schools include lessons on gender identity in their sex education programs.

At a rally in Manchester on Saturday, former President Donald Trump said that the U.S. education system is ranked at the bottom of every single list.

Outside Southern New Hampshire University arena during a rally for former president Donald Trump. (Kathryn Gilroy/91㽶Ƶ)

“On day one, I will sign a new executive order to cut federal funding for any school pushing Critical Race Theory, transgender insanity and other inappropriate racial, sexual or political content onto our children to destroy their lives,” Trump said to a cheering crowd.

However, there is “little to no evidence” that K-12 public schools are teaching Critical Race Theory, but elements such as the current consequences of slavery have been taught, according to . The term “critical race theory” is being used by state legislatures to pass laws restricting how teachers can teach racism and examine history through the lens of racism, according to the .

Cameron Ouellette, a 17-year-old high school senior from Winnisquam, New Hampshire, said he wants the education system to focus on setting up students for success rather than teaching about different genders.

“They’ve changed it within the last three years to this political agenda that is being pushed nowadays,” Ouellette said.

Ouellette said Trump is the best candidate to change the education system because he remembers what schools were like when Trump was president.

During Trump’s term in office, he created the , a program that promotes American history education principles that are “accurate, honest, unifying, inspiring, and ennobling.”

“He wants people to go out in a world, whether it’s a blue-collar job or a white-collar job, and to know what they’re learning in school and to be able to apply that to a work ethic and go home with a decent paycheck to support their families,” said Jason Foster, a 52-year-old disc jockey from Laconia, New Hampshire.

Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley also touts education reform as an issue in her campaign.

At a rally in Exeter on Sunday, Haley said the country needs to focus on getting kids back to reading.

“If we don’t do something and do something quick, we’re going to be in a world of hurt 10 years from now,” Haley said. “We need to focus on not sending those kids forward but holding them back, bringing in their parents, doing reading remediation and let’s set them up for success.”

As governor of South Carolina, Haley helped get her education reform package passed by the state legislature in 2014, which redistributed money to districts with higher poverty levels and allotted $29 million for all state schools to hire a reading coach, according to 

New Hampshire State Sen. Tim Lang said the parental choice in kids’ education is extremely important.

“The ability that we have compulsory education, and the ability for parents to find a school that works for every child,” Lang said. “I got four kids. They’ve all learned differently.”

Lang said education nationally has lost focus.

“Education used to be about learning, teaching kids how to read, how to do math, how to do science, right?” Lang said. “We’ve kind of wandered into all kinds of areas that are distracting from that, and I think our test scores show that kids are not scoring high in basic reading.”

Foster said that education is an essential issue in America at the moment and that teachers’ personal opinions should be set aside in the classroom.

“We should teach what’s appropriate to navigate yourself through life, without any physical altercation or verbal altercations, and be peaceful,” Foster said. “Knowledge is power.”

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