podcastED: Step Up For Students President Doug Tuthill talks with New Hampshire education choice pioneer Kate Baker Demers

New Hampshire education choice advocates rally at a National School Choice Week event in January.

On this episode, Tuthill interviews Demers, who started the Children’s Scholarship Fund in New Hampshire, and has worked tirelessly as its executive director for the establishment of a tax credit scholarship fund in 2012 and Education Freedom Accounts, which lawmakers approved in 2021. Both are open to families whose incomes fall at or below 300% of the federal poverty level.

“I have the opportunity to talk to the families that participate in our children’s scholarship fund programs every day. And so first and foremost, they are the ones that drive these programs into being and I think I see myself as a messenger for the families in New Hampshire.”

Demers offers an overview of each program and recalls how she went from a successful businesswoman and charter school board member to the founder of a nonprofit organization that expanded education choice opportunities for families and fended off legal challenges from opponents.

She also shares details of growing up in a lower-income neighborhood and how that inspired her to help others who are in similar circumstances. Demers shares her advice with those in others seeking to establish or expand choice programs in hostile climates.


  • Demers’ early career and transition to education choice advocate
  • The history of New Hampshire’s education choice scholarship programs
  • The changing demographics of New Hampshire and effects of the changes on K-12 education
  • How the tax credit scholarship works with Education Freedom Fund accounts to provide families with school options and customization
  • The keys to successful education choice advocacy
  • How education savings accounts can offer success to traditional schools by allowing them to provide unbundled services

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BY Doug Tuthill

A lifelong educator and former teacher union president, Tuthill has been president of Step Up For Students since August 2008.