Education

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The board of New Hampshire’s Community College System announced today it will freeze tuition for the 2016-2017 academic year.

Tuition for a full-time, in-state student will remain at just over $6000 a year.

This marks the fifth consecutive year without an increase in tuition.

Casey McDermott / NHPR

All this week, NHPR is looking at how New Hampshire schools are rethinking the role they play in the lives of their students and their communities.  More students are arriving preoccupied with hunger, homelessness, and other family crises.  Teachers are on the front lines, trying to fill basic needs before the learning begins. Schools are cobbling together their own system of social services in the face of the state’s heroin crisis, the aftermath of the recession, and struggling local economies.  


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This week NHPR has been reporting on how New Hampshire schools are fundamentally rethinking the role they play in the lives of their students and in their communities. Reeling from the state’s heroin crisis, the aftermath of the recession, and struggling local economies, many schools are taking on a mountain of new responsibilities beyond the classroom, often with limited help from the state.

Casey McDermott, NHPR

When David Griffin started teaching middle school in Berlin more than three decades ago, he thought he knew what to expect. He never imagined that stocking a food pantry might be part of the job.

Sure, Griffin says, he always anticipated a few needy kids in each class. But in the past few years, especially, the number of students who need help — and the complexity of their needs — seems greater than ever.

A decision by Dartmouth College to deny tenure to an Asian-American professor has brought national attention to the lack of diversity in higher education.

More than 3,000 people have signed a petition to overturn the decision.

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As college kids move back to campus, one Ivy League insider says that elite universities aren’t producing independent thinkers, but high functioning sheep. On today’s show: the downside of being among the best and the brightest.

Then, oh, the tales bellhops and hotel maids could tell. And many have shared stories of walking in on or cleaning up after some unsavory scenes. Concierges, on the other hand, tend to get a more polite view of guests - along with some fairly ridiculous questions. Later in the show, an inside look at the concierge, including how to tip. 

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With the number of diagnoses and prescriptions on a twenty-year rise, these days, having a kid with ADHD is no longer outside the norm. Still: there's plenty of disagreement over the nature of the diagnosis itself, when medication can help kids, and when other approaches might be better. 

This program was originally broadcast on January 19, 2016.

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After about a year of negotiating, the University of New Hampshire has reached a new five-year labor agreement with the university chapter of the American Association of University Professors – Tenure Track. 

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It's a growing group nationally: parents who refuse to let their children take statewide assessments such as those aligned with Common Core. Now, New Hampshire lawmakers are considering a bill allowing parents to do the same without fear of penalty, arguing these tests do more harm than good. But test-backers say they provide valuable information.

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  What happens when a school takes one of those lunchroom staples off the menu?

Something big – at least if you look at recent events at schools in Londonderry, New Hampshire.

Voters in Hampton will decide whether a proposed 25 million dollar renovation of Hampton Academy middle school will proceed.

The plan calls for an extensive renovation of Hampton Academy, including a new gymnasium and overhauls of the existing building’s interior. The total cost of the project is 24.9 million dollars.

Hampton School District Superintendent Kathleen Murphy says the renovation is long overdue.

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Students in New Hampshire’s urban school districts are more likely to be expelled or suspended than students from non-urban districts, according to a new study from the UNH Carsey School of Public Policy.

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Next month, residents of Candia will vote whether to pull their high schoolers out of the Manchester school district and send them instead to Pinkerton Academy in Derry. If the agreement goes through, Candia would be the last town in the greater Manchester area to remove its students from the city’s school district – the largest in New Hampshire.

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  Lawmakers in Concord yesterday killed a bill that would provide money for full-day kindergarten programs in the state. The vote of 157-200 was along party lines.

Currently, the state provides adequacy funding for half-day kindergarten programs only. While the bill would not have required districts to offer full-day programs, it would have provided additional state dollars to those districts that already provide them.

Sponsors of the bill argue the state should fund kindergarten at the same level as other grades.

Opponents of the bill cited cost.

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As stricter nutrition regulations go into their fifth year, some New Hampshire students and schools, continue to push back against these federal guidelines to make meals healthier.  But the rules have many supporters too who say that serving food with less sodium, fat, and calories is a necessity in an era of childhood obesity.

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Labels get thrown around willy-nilly during primary season...among them? Progressive.  However candidates Clinton & Sanders use the term, its history is not so straightforward. 

On today’s show, the rise and fall of progressive politics. Then, from anti-bullying seminars to the dare to keep kids off drugs program, ushering a gaggle of students into an auditorium or gymnasium for an all school assembly is a time honored tradition. But sometimes the educational value of the message is questionable.

After Bernie Sanders announced his proposal to make college free, college affordability has been front and center in the Democratic primary. When it comes to broad goals, the candidates agree. But as for the best way to get there, that’s where they differ.

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Over the last decade, high schools and universities have adopted programs encouraging female students to pursue degrees in science, technology, engineering and math, and there’s been a lot of talk about closing the gap.  But now, this divide is changing, with women dominating in some stem fields and men in others.  We’re getting the latest picture.

Guests:

meridiannh.com

Students in Manchester schools are heading back to classes this morning at new times.

The school district is changing hours based on its new contract with the Manchester Education Association.

The high schools will start at 7:45 this morning, the middle schools at 7:35 and elementary schools in the city will begin at 8:45. 

 

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A new state law limiting when schools can record in classrooms is having unintended consequences for some New Hampshire school districts.

The law was aimed at protecting the privacy of teachers and students, but school officials say the added regulations have made it more difficult to film classrooms for legitimate reasons.

Priscilla Morrill is a reporter for the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript.

When the Department of Education released its latest round of state-level reading and math scores this week, it was cause for cheer in New Hampshire. The state ranked in the top two or three states in every category and grade-level tests.

Those kind of high marks have been common in New Hampshire for years. But a recent report suggests the state’s status as one of the nation’s top test-takers should come down a few notches. 

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The latest batch of national assessment tests shows New Hampshire students remaining among the highest achievers in math and reading.

The 2015 National Assessment of Educational Progress shows the average scores for reading in New Hampshire holding steady compared to 2013 for both fourth graders and eighth graders. For the younger group, only one state had a higher average score than New Hampshire. For eighth graders, New Hampshire was tied with four other states at the top of the list.

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The Attorney General’s office has refused to defend the law that caps state aid to schools in a case brought by the city of Dover.  It’s the latest in a long string of battles over education funding in the state.

New Hampshire's Charter Schools: A Growing Choice

Oct 26, 2015
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New Hampshire now has 25 of these alternative public schools, after a spate of rapid growth. We’ll look at some of the themes raised in NHPR’s recent series, A Growing Choice.  These include how charter schools are funded, who their students are, and what overall role they play in public education. 

Guests:

Ryan Lessard / NHPR

Governor Maggie Hassan and New Hampshire’s congressional delegation will be among those on hand for the opening of a Job Corps center today in Manchester.

The facility will provide vocational training to 300 students ages 16 to 24. 

The effort to build the center began in 2001, but construction stalled several years ago over contract language that would have required that it be built by union labor.

The agreement was later lifted, and construction began in 2013.

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The number of homeschooling families in New Hampshire and nationwide continues to grow, and they’re more diverse: including families with a wider range of political, religious, and educational approaches. But even as this group expands, it is less regulated by the states, sparking debate on how much oversight is needed. 

The show was originally broadcast on September 22, 2015.

GUESTS:

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Custodians in Nashua and their supporters are expected to hold a rally Monday evening ahead of a school board meeting to protest the board’s decision to end their union contract.

In a move that took many by surprise, the board voted 7-1 earlier this month to seek bids from private contractors to take over the district’s custodial services — and union members aren’t taking the move sitting down. 

Ron Turiello's daughter, Grace, seemed unusually alert even as a newborn.

At 7 months or so, she showed an interest in categorizing objects: She'd take a drawing of an elephant in a picture book, say, and match it to a stuffed elephant and a realistic plastic elephant.

At 5 or 6 years old, when snorkeling with her family in Hawaii, she identified a passing fish correctly as a Heller's barracuda, then added, "Where are the rest? They usually travel in schools."

Manchester School District

 

A preschool teacher in Manchester has been named the 2016 New Hampshire Teacher of the Year.

Ashley Preston, who teaches at Parker Varney Elementary School, becomes the state's candidate for National Teacher of the Year.

Preston has been teaching for nine years, all of them in the Manchester School District. The Department of Education says the selection committee recognized her ability to help her students be curious, critical thinkers and problem solvers.

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Harvard, like other prestigious Ivy League schools, is a non-profit. Still, its 36-billion dollar endowment is bigger than the GDP of Jamaica. So why does it remain tax free? Then - meditation, sitting, mindfulness: whatever you call it, it’s springing up everywhere, from Google’s corporate offices to high school classrooms in the Bronx. But can techniques developed to help hospital patients really improve the lives of low-income students? We find out why mindfulness has a place in the classroom. Plus, music industry insiders clamor to predict and announce the summer’s most popular hit – but what about the song of the fall?  We’ll discuss the qualities that make up a classic autumnal anthem. 

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