New Hampshire has a current bill which would allow investors to finance pre-schools in an effort to prevent special education remediation. This “pay for success” program is actually Social Impact Bonds. This latest craze by investors in education is extremely dangerous and should not even be a consideration anywhere in a child’s education. It is a system that has the potential to be widely abused in order for outside corporations to make money off student outcomes.
New Hampshire’s Senate Bill 503 has already gone through their Senate and will be heard in their House Education Committee on Tuesday, April 5th at 10am in the New Hampshire General Court.
I have to wonder what state legislators across the country are even thinking anymore. They are selling out public education to corporations and investors. New Hampshire couldn’t even give this an accurate fiscal note because it is, when you break it down, a bet. A bet that had disastrous consequences in Utah and Chicago Public Schools according to education blogger Fred Klonsky. I wrote about how the legislative apparatus for Social Impact Bonds already happened in Delaware and just today, the Delaware Republican Senate caucus revealed a Poverty Agenda Plan that includes Social Impact Bonds as one of their steps to eliminate poverty. While it is not known if this plan would include educational “pay for success” programs, I know not all of the GOP Senators in Delaware would even want this kind of program in education.
Most of the Social Impact Bond activities in education would seem to be a violation of federal IDEA special education law. Corporations and special education are like oil and water. The former has no reason to be involved at all while the latter is a necessary step towards success for students with disabilities. Response to Intervention is not a replacement for special education, but far too many states seem to think it is. And now big business wants to bet that it is. Response to Intervention (RTI) is based on reading skills and ignores the whole gamut of other areas a disability could come into play. The only reason states want kids reading by 3rd grade is so they can take the state assessment and let the data gravy train speed up. Both RTI and Social Impact Bonds are anti-special education measures. By denying child find, as dictated by IDEA, it is setting up a child with disabilities to fail at an early age. Both RTI and “Pay for Success” programs in education should be abolished immediately. The fact the US Government is promoting these kinds of programs is even more troubling.
States with passed Social Impact Bond legislation or have “Pay For Success” programs already in place are Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Ohio (Cuyahoga County), Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Washington D.C. and Wisconsin. The United States government has several “Pay for Success” and “Social Innovation Funds” projects going on, including a part written into the Every Student Succeeds Act. (source: PayForSuccess.org)
Earlier this month, a second attempt for “Pay For Success” legislation died in Florida. Other states that explored them but never implemented them are Hawaii, Maryland, New Jersey (a bill was vetoed by Governor Chris Christie), Rhode Island, and Vermont.
If I were a parent of a toddler or pre-schooler in New Hampshire, I would voice my concerns with their House Education Committee immediately! This is absolutely the most disgusting thing I have ever heard of in education and makes all that came before pale in comparison.