Department of Education

Jason Moon for NHPR

A bill that seeks to limit the political activity of state commissioners had a public hearing today.

The bill would prohibit the heads of state agencies from doing things like donating to a candidate or participating in a campaign while they’re in office.

Senate Democratic Leader Jeff Woodburn is the prime sponsor.

NHPR Staff

The Executive Council voted today to give Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut a raise.

Edelblut's salary will increase from $93,759 a year to $99,928 a year.

Edelblut was confirmed as commissioner one year ago. The Department of Education requested the raise.

The vote came without discussion and fell along party lines, with Republicans voting in favor and Democrats against.

New Hampshire’s plan to comply with the Every Student Succeeds Act has been approved by the federal government.

The Every Student Succeeds Act is the federal law that replaced No Child Left Behind in 2015.

ESSA gives states more flexibility to define their own goals and add their own metrics beyond standardized testing.

New Hampshire’s plan, developed by the state Department of Education under Commissioner Frank Edelblut, looks to take advantage of that flexibility.

Jason Moon for NHPR

A bill that would reorganize the Department of Education got the approval of the Senate Education Committee Tuesday.

The bill would rename the department’s divisions and reshuffle some of the responsibilities between them.

It would also give the commissioner more power to make changes in the future, provided the changes are approved by legislators.

Casey McDermott / NHPR

Bhagirath Khatiwada is the new Cultural and Linguistic Competence Coordinator for the New Hampshire Department of Education. That means he's in charge of helping school leadership and teachers engage all students in the classroom, including children of immigrant parents.

Morning Edition Host Rick Ganley spoke with Khatiwada, who himself immigrated to New Hampshire in 2008 from Bhutan.

Jason Moon for NHPR

Since taking office in February, Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut has drawn criticism that he’s politicizing what’s supposed to be a nonpartisan office — by speaking at Republican party meetings, for example, or using his official Twitter account to take a jab at Democratic executive councilor Chris Pappas.

An Update On Special Education In New Hampshire

Nov 27, 2017

New models for education seek to provide resources and access to services for not just students with special needs (such as intellectual disabilities or learning disabilities), but for any student who may be marginalized in their  community. This may include students who speak English as a second language, and students living in poverty. But individual schools and school districts still struggle to meet their students' needs, through workforce shortages, funding limitations, or exhaustive performance requirements. 

NH Department of Education

Concord High School English teacher Heidi Crumrine was named New Hampshire Teacher of the Year on Tuesday.

The New Hampshire Department of Education says Crumrine was chosen for her dedication to teaching every type of learner. Now she’ll be the state’s candidate for National Teacher of the Year.

Morning Edition Host Rick Ganley spoke with Crumrine on Wednesday.

The transcript has been edited lightly for clarity.

So what are you most passionate about when it comes to teaching?


A federal audit of how New Hampshire manages federal education funds has found six areas of significant concern.

The U.S. Department of Education completed a fiscal review of how the state education department administers federal grants last fall, reviewing 19 areas. In its recently issued report, auditors rated the state satisfactory on eight measures and said it is meeting requirements, but should make improvements, in five other areas.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

When Republicans took full control in Concord this year, they wasted no time outlining an ambitious policy agenda on a number of fronts, including education.

While Republicans were able to accomplish much of that agenda, they weren’t able to get everything they wanted. Here’s a rundown of some major developments in education policy so far this year.

Peter Biello for NHPR

Department of Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut is asking lawmakers to up state spending on STEM education and career technical education.

In a request to the Senate Finance Committee, Commissioner Edelblut is requesting $17 million for the renovation of two career technical centers in Rochester and Plymouth, $4 million to expand broadband internet to more schools in the state, and about $900,000 to establish a grant program for robotics education.


A Senate bill proposes allowing parents to use public education funds for alternative educational expenses, from private school tuition to computer equipment. A growing number of states have adopted such measures but not without plenty of debate.  We'll take a look at that discussion here, and around the country. 

Peter Biello for NHPR

Department of Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut is dismissing claims that he’s seeking more power for his new position.

Earlier this week, Republican State Senator John Reagan introduced an amendment to a bill that would consolidate some authorities in DOE under the commissioner’s office.

Edelblut says he asked for the changes, but he disputes charges from Democrats and the state’s largest teachers union that this is a power grab.

A proposal to reorganize the state department of education is attracting some controversy.

Republican State Senator John Reagan proposed the change in an amendment to an unrelated education bill.

woodleywonderworks via Flickr CC /

A New Hampshire House subcommittee voted Wednesday to eliminate $18 million dollars in kindergarten funding from Gov. Chris Sununu’s state budget proposal. 

Michael Brindley for NHPR

State Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut was confirmed for a full, four-year term by the Executive Council Wednesday. Edelblut had earlier been appointed to fill out the remainder of the term of his predecessor, former commissioner Virginia Barry.

Edelblut was approved 3 to 2, in a party-line vote of the five-member council.

Bi-partisan frustration rises in the Granite State over President Trumps unsubstantiated charges of New Hampshire voter fraud.  The New Hampshire House votes to kill a Right-to-Work bill, which would have impacted how unions collect fees. The policy has been a priority for Republicans, who control the House, Senate and Governor’s Office for the first time in more than a decade.  And the Executive Council confirms the Governor's choice for Education Commissioner, Frank Edelblut. 

Michael Brindley for NHPR

It’s been a busy year for Frank Edelblut. First, he rose from political unknown to near-upset in the Republican gubernatorial primary. Now, he’s poised to become the state’s next education commissioner. 

Edelblut’s background and philosophy would mark a significant break from his recent predecessors in that job.

Governor Chris Sununu has nominated former political rival Frank Edelblut as commissioner of the state Department of Education.

The announcement was a brief, unceremonious item on the Executive Council’s agenda Wednesday morning as Governor Chris Sununu read off a list of nominations.

“For the Commissioner of the state of the New Hampshire Department of Education I nominate Frank Edelblut of Wilton New Hampshire.”

But the choice signals a big shift in priorities for the state agency.



New Hampshire's Commissioner of Education plans to resign at the end of January.

Commissioner Virginia Barry sent an email to department staff Friday announcing that she will step down from the post on Jan. 30. 

Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium

New Hampshire’s scores on the latest federally mandated standardized test – the Smarter Balanced – were released Thursday.

The headline: Fewer than half of the state’s students were judged to be meeting grade level benchmarks in math, though they are doing somewhat better in English.

Courtesy of SNHU

  Southern New Hampshire University President Paul LeBlanc will spend three months at the U.S. Department of Education to help grow non-traditional higher ed programs. 

In an effort to increase access and affordability for students, the U.S. Department of Education will begin selecting universities as so-called experimental sites.

LeBlanc says experimental sites will act as centers of research and development for new models of higher ed. And he says he won’t be part of the selection process.

Todd Bookman / NHPR

Like many kids with autism, Hunter Picknell has trouble expressing himself.

“His primary form of communication is sign language, but there’s certain things he can’t do with his hands and fingers because of his motor-planning issues,” says Melissa Hilton, Hunter’s mother.

“He makes kind of his own sign language, which is very idiosyncratic. We often joke around and say it is sign language with an accent.”

EasternMennoniteUniversity / Flickr Creative Commons

We finish a two-part series on the teaching profession, with a look at how we prepare our teachers.  After criticism claiming credentialing standards in the U.S. are lax, many states, including New Hampshire, are trying to raise the bar and turn out more qualified teachers. Some say more in-classroom experience is key. But there are challenges to such changes, including the expense.  


rbcullen / Flickr Creative Commons

Today, defining a good teacher has become far more complex than we might remember from our own schooldays. Many states now rely on student test scores as a major way to assess teacher quality, while others also use classroom observations, student evaluations, and lesson plan reviews. Backers of tougher assessments argue that since U.S. students as a whole are lagging behind other industrialized nations, something needs to be done.  But others worry that these data-driven judgments diminish what’s really important:  teachers using their skills and creativity to engage with students .

Flikr Creative Commons / Renator Ganoza

Fresh results from New England Common Assessment Program tests, or NECAP, are in. 

The New Hampshire Department of Education says student performance in math, reading and writing stayed essentially the same as last year.

The DOE says that while the percentage of students in the proficient or above level went up or down a few points in each category, the changes weren’t statistically significant.

Overall, 77% of students tested were proficient or above in reading. That’s down from 79% last year. 65% in math (down from 68%) and 58% percent in writing (up from 55%).

ben.chaney.archive via flickr Creative Commons

In his state of the union address in February, President Obama asked for legislative help in making higher education more accessible to American students.

“So tonight, I ask Congress to change the Higher Education Act so that affordability and value are included in determining which colleges receive certain types of federal aid. And tomorrow, my administration will release a new “College Scorecard” that parents and students can use to compare schools based on a simple criteria -- where you can get the most bang for your educational buck.”

The President’s calls for reform come at a time when an estimated 40 million Americans want to go further with their education. Beyond the rhetoric, Obama’s 2013 budget outlined plans to overcome common barriers to getting a degree, including access, affordability, and completion. An initiative from Southern New Hampshire University is looking to change that.