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Hooksett highs: A good multiple choice test

Hooksett high school students are enjoying school choice this fall in what could become — by accident — a model for the rest of the state.

Hooksett does not have its own high school. For years it contracted with Manchester, but the town’s school board wanted out of that contract and last year secured an early release that took effect this summer. Though Hooksett’s school board wanted to send all of the town’s high schoolers to Pinkerton Academy in Derry, voters in March rejected the contract.

That created an opportunity. With no tuition contract sending all Hooksett high schoolers to a single high school, the school board negotiated deals with Pinkerton, Manchester, Londonderry, Bow. Families can choose which high school they want their students to attend. This fall, 165 Hooksett high school students will attend the school of their family’s choice.

Earlier this month, Hooksett secured a deal with Manchester that makes the city school district Hooksett’s default district. Students who do not choose a school will be assigned to either Manchester Central or West. This arrangement — a default school, with the option of choosing an alternative — is a fine model. Students can go to the school that would serve them best, not one chosen for them by the school district. There is no reason it cannot be duplicated, even in municipalities that have their own high schools, and even for elementary, middle and junior high.

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