Education

 

Recent allegations of racist attacks or bullying among school-aged children have schools and communities doing some soul searching, along with establishing new policies and procedures.   

A new report shows New Hampshire has made big strides in connecting public schools to broadband Internet. But there are some districts in the state who lack access.

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New Hampshire students will be introduced to new standardized tests this spring.

In recent years, New Hampshire has worked with a consortium of other states to create its standardized tests - what's known as the Smarter Balanced and the NECAP system.

Now, with the help of an assessment company, the state is crafting its own test, the New Hampshire Statewide Assessment System, or SAS.

Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut says the new system will be more tailored to New Hampshire and it will take significantly less time for students to complete.

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Governor Sununu says requiring all school districts to start the school year after Labor Day would help bring the state's education system into the 21st century, and help the economy. 

“We talk about innovation in schools; we talk about 21st century – well,  I think it's time that we start looking at the calendar,” he said on The Exchange. 

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The University of New Hampshire has released an interim report on efforts to improve campus climate. The report comes from a task force created in the wake of a string of racially charged incidents that embroiled the Durham campus last school year.

Franklin Pierce University is offering free tuition, room, and board for the fall semester to up to 20 college students displaced by Hurricane Harvey.

Linda Quimby, vice president of enrollment at Franklin Pierce, says the move is meant, in part, to send a message to current students about moral leadership.

“We do think it sends a powerful message. And we also feel that it’s a way that Franklin Pierce can best reach out to individuals who may be impacted by the storm.”

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High schoolers in the town of Northwood now have busses to take them to school again. But the town is still struggling to find drivers for elementary students.

NHPR Staff

A new audit of the state’s Community College system found dozens of areas in need of improvement.

The audit, from the state’s Legislative Budget Assistant, identified 29 different areas of concern, ranging from unclear delineation of powers to conflicts of interests to questionable spending.

Republican State Senator John Reagan requested the audit.

Jason Moon for NHPR

School districts across New Hampshire have been grappling with a shortage of school bus drivers.

Nowhere has that situation become more dire than in Northwood, where officials have been forced to delay the start of the school year and to push back the start of the school day by two hours.

That’s causing big problems for parents.

CREDIT MIKE ROSS, UNH

The University of New Hampshire says, thanks to a new program, more than 400 incoming freshman will attend the school tuition free. 

Under UNH’s new ‘Granite Guarantee’ program, any full-time, first year student, who lives in New Hampshire and qualifies for federal Pell grants, can attend the university without paying for tuition.

Victoria Dutcher, vice president for enrollment management at UNH, says the program is designed to encourage more in-state students to attend.

Jason Moon for NHPR

Civil rights groups are filing a formal right-to-know request with the Manchester school district.

Speaking from the steps of city hall, Manchester NAACP president Eric Jackson said the school district hasn’t been transparent enough about its efforts to address racial inequities.

Eddie Cheuk

In a letter addressed to the school community, St. Paul’s Rector Mike Hirschfeld said the school recently commissioned its own independent investigation to find out if a newly surfaced game was part of a sexual competition among students.

Amanda Loder, StateImpact New Hampshire

Laurie Laizure of Manchester likes to think she’s the kind of parent who’s engaged in what’s happening at her kids' schools.

Which is why she was so surprised to learn, when scrolling through Facebook last month, about a sexual assault that took place at Manchester West High School. In 2015, a 14-year-old student — a classmate of Laizure's daughter — was raped by an older student in a secluded hallway during school hours.

NHPR

In the nearly 20 years since  state the Supreme Court issued its landmark Claremont II decision calling for equal access to an adequate education, significant disparities among communities persist, according to a recent report by the N.H. Center for Public Policy Studies.

Claremont School District v Governor of New Hampshire led to the allocation of additional state money for communities in need, yet these districts still lack sufficient funds from local resources such as property taxes. 

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New Hampshire students may soon be brushing up on their state history. A new law will require New Hampshire high school students to take one credit of history and a half credit of civics as a prerequisite for graduation.

Democratic Senator Lou D’Allesandro, a former civics teacher, sponsored the bill. He says chronic low voter turnout in the U.S. is a symptom of poor civics education.

Last week, lawmakers in Concord signed off on a plan to provide state support for full-day kindergarten in New Hampshire. The new law will use revenue from the electronic gambling game keno to give school districts more money for full-day kindergarten.

NHPR reporter Jason Moon recently sat down with NHPR host Sally Hirsch-Dickinson to talk about what this mean for schools and town across New Hampshire. Listen to their conversation here.

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The city of Nashua will now offer full-day kindergarten at all of its elementary schools. That decision comes as lawmakers in Concord decide whether to support full-day kindergarten state-wide.

Nashua joins the roughly three quarters of school districts around the state that offer full-day kindergarten programs.

Districts who offer full-day programs, do so without support from the state.

But interim superintendent of Nashua Schools Connie Brown says with an overall decline in enrollment, they will be able to implement the program at no cost.

New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Studies

A new report shows disparities in school funding in New Hampshire persist, two decades after a landmark lawsuit targeted the state’s education funding system.

biologycorner / Flickr Creative Commons

The SAT scores of 11th graders in New Hampshire are up slightly from last year.

Preliminary data released this week shows New Hampshire’s high school juniors improved their scores in both the math and English portions of the College Board SAT.

Two-thirds met the state’s proficiency benchmark in English, while 44 percent met the benchmark in math.

This is the second year that the SAT has been used as the statewide assessment for 11th graders.

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.

Sheryl Rich-Kern for NHPR

Hudson Middle School principal Keith Bowen noticed a disturbing trend a couple of years ago.

"A lot of our achievement scores hadn’t changed, despite all our efforts."

Test scores are one thing. But then Bowen noticed more troubling trends.

"We started to hear about the opioid crisis. There were a lot of students who lost a parent, partly because of opioid use, partly due to suicide."

In other words, students were dealing with challenges bigger than algebraic equations.

David Fernandez via Flickr

New rules on the certification of school nurses are causing a stir.

Last year, lawmakers passed a bill that tightens the requirements for who can work as a school nurse in New Hampshire. Among other things, it requires a bachelor’s degree and certification from the state Board of Education – just like a teacher.

Jason Moon for NHPR

Dozens of people showed up to the State Board of Education meeting Thursday morning. They came to weigh in on a proposal to reevaluate the state standards on math and English.

Board members heard from parents, teachers, and business leaders on a request made by Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut to reevaluate the state standards in math and English. These standards define what students should know, and help shape what actually gets taught in the classroom.

John DePetro was among those in favor of a review.

Jason Moon for NHPR

With 14,000 students from a huge variety of backgrounds, the Manchester School District is both the largest and most diverse in the state.

But those distinctions come with challenges that sometimes result in stark disparities between schools just a few miles apart.

The New Hampshire Department of Education has unveiled a draft of its plan to comply with the federal Every Student Succeeds Act.

The Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA, was passed in 2015 as a replacement for No Child Left Behind.

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Dartmouth Professor N. Bruce Duthu has turned down the position of Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences following charges that he supported a boycott of Israeli academic institutions. 

Duthu, a professor of Native American Studies and an Associate Dean, was appointed earlier this spring to be the next Dean of the Faculty starting July 1.

Casey McDermott

Commencement ceremonies took place this weekend at UNH, after a tense few weeks at the school, with a series of racial incidents prompting  community-wide conversations about campus diversity.

This weekend’s ceremony offered a chance to reflect but also to look forward. 

Mike Ross, UNH

In recent weeks the University of New Hampshire has seen a string of racially charged incidents play out on campus. The events are forcing a difficult conversation just days before graduation.

Peter Biello for NHPR

Department of Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut has pulled the plug on a scheduled speaking engagement at a GOP event this weekend.

CREDIT MIKE ROSS, UNH

UNH President Mark Huddleston addressed a growing string of racially charged incidents at the school’s Durham campus in recent weeks.

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