Education

courtesy of Colby-Sawyer College

New Hampshire is no stranger to the myriad challenges — declining enrollments, precarious finances, a struggle to compete with larger institutions — facing small colleges today.

Five colleges or universities operating in New Hampshire have closed their doors since 2002, according to the Department of Education, and each of them had fewer than 2,000 full-time students. 

Jason Moon for NHPR

School may be out for the summer, but some teachers in New Hampshire have been keeping busy by becoming students again. At a teachers’ workshop in Keene, educators brushing up on their Civil War history.

This summer, millions of excited 4-, 5- and 6-year-olds will be getting ready for their first real year of school. But some of them may be in for a wake-up call when that first bell rings.

If you have young kids in school, or talk with teachers of young children, you've likely heard the refrain — that something's changed in the early grades. Schools seem to be expecting more of their youngest students academically, while giving them less time to spend in self-directed and creative play.

File Photo

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.

http://laconiasafeschools.weebly.com/

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.

Dover School District

On Friday, all three branches of New Hampshire’s government will meet in a courtroom, in the latest dispute over how the state pays for public schools.

The showdown is prompted by a lawsuit brought by the city of Dover. It challenges a spending cap the Legislature has placed on how much money public schools can get from the state each year.

Scroll down for a chart and map tallying the impact of this policy over the past few years.

NHPR’s Jason Moon recently talked with Morning Edition host Rick Ganley to discuss the case and its place in a long history of education funding battles.

How does University of New Hampshire President Mark Huddleston explain the size of the school's top salaries, including his own, to students and families struggling to pay tuition?

The leader of New Hampshire’s flagship university, speaking on NHPR's The Exchange Monday, said the school needs to offer competitive rates to attract the best talent — but Huddleston maintained that the school isn’t “overpaying” in the process.

Ted Siefer / NHPR

  

There’s been a lot of debate recently around federally-mandated nutrition standards for school lunches. The rules aim to bring healthier food into school cafeterias. But many students, and some administrators, say, they have resulted in meals that are — for lack of a better word — gross.

But at one Manchester elementary school, the kids have taken matters into their own hands. 

Woodley Wonderworks via Flickr CC

Town meeting season is upon us, and a number of school districts around the state are considering adding full day kindergarten.

Voters in Dunbarton will consider a 75 thousand dollar proposal to create a conditional full-day kindergarten program. Conditional meaning when enrollment in other grades leaves enough room for a kindergarten class.

Dunbarton’s half-day program has only eight students now, but school officials are confident that expanding to full-day will bring in students currently attending private full-day programs.

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.

The State Senate passed a bill today that would make non-academic surveys of students opt-in rather than opt-out. That means parents would have to be notified and give consent before a non-academic survey could be given to students in schools.

Indiana Public Media via Flickr Creative Commons

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.

Tomorrow, eleventh graders in New Hampshire’s public schools will take the SAT as a statewide assessment for the first time.

Last year the Executive Council approved a request from the state Department of Education to use the SAT as the statewide assessment for eleventh graders. That means eleventh graders in public and charter schools will take the SAT during the school day, free of charge.

Previously, students who wanted to take the SAT did so outside of the normal school day and had to pay a fee of around $50 dollars.

Ted Siefer / NHPR

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.

Woodley Wonderworks via Flickr CC

  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.

NHPR/Michael Brindley

  Colleges and universities are increasingly relying on adjunct professors. In New Hampshire, nearly 60% of college teaching positions are filled by part-time, adjunct faculty.  But increasingly, adjuncts are complaining that low pay and poor working conditions are making the job difficult to keep.

Mic Wernej via Flickr CC

 

New Hampshire has one of the best high school graduation rates in the country, according to statistics collected from the U.S. Education Department.

New Hampshire's rate for the 2013-2014 school year is 88.1 percent, higher than the national rate at 82 percent.

Across the country, Iowa had the highest graduation rate, at 90 percent; followed by Nebraska at 89.7 percent; New Jersey at 88.6 percent, and Texas at 88.3 percent. New Hampshire came next.

The District of Columbia had the lowest, with a 61 percent graduation rate.

  It's been eight years since No Child Left Behind expired and congress failed to reauthorize it, but today both of New Hampshire's senators were among the 85 who voted to overhaul the federal government's controversial education law. 

James F Clay/FLICKR

A bill that would mandate education on drugs and alcohol in schools is likely to be fast tracked once lawmakers return to Concord in January.

A New Hampshire school district planning committee is set to vote on whether it will try to withdraw from its current district and form its own.

Cornish voters in 2014 approved the creation of a study committee to examine how the school district could better control its budget and address the school's dwindling population.

The committee decided in November that the best path would be to withdraw from SAU No. 6 and form a single school district. The plan would allow Cornish to have one school board, budget and audit.

Does It Pay To Pay Teachers $100,000?

Nov 19, 2015

We're brought up to believe our teachers are modern-day saints.

Just look at how we portray them in the movies and on TV. From Dead Poets Society's iconic Mr. Keating to resourceful LouAnne Johnson in Dangerous Minds, we reinforce time and again that teaching is a noble calling.

These teachers are heroes, we're told. It's hard to imagine them even thinking about money.

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.

biologycorner / Flickr Creative Commons

The results of a new standardized test are out and the headlines are fairly bleak.  The results of the Smarter Balanced Assessment, released Thursday, show that across the board, 58 percent of New Hampshire students scored “proficient” or better in reading, and in math the picture is even worse: only 46 percent made the cut.

Flickr Creative Commons / Brave Sir Robin

Dartmouth College is beginning its transition to a new residential model designed to provide students with more continuity when living on campus and greater interaction with faculty beyond the classroom. The move to a residential college system was among the changes President Philip Hanlon announced in January to address problems such as high-risk drinking, sexual assault and a lack of inclusion.

 

The New Hampshire Attorney General's Office has asked a judge to bar the Croydon School Board from using tax money to pay for some students' tuition at private schools.

The complaint asks for preliminary and permanent injunctions against Croydon. Officials gave the board until Sept. 28 to stop using public funds— more than $32,000 —to pay for four students studying this year at the Newport Montessori School.

Croydon's one school goes up through the fourth grade. Parents then have school choice, with most choosing Newport public schools.

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. 

Thomas Favre-Bulle / Flickr Creative Commons

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.

Cross your fingers.

Congress is trying to do something it was supposed to do back in 2007: agree on a rewrite of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. It's not controversial to say the law is in desperate need of an update.

Tuition will stay the same this year for community college students in New Hampshire.

System trustees anticipated the freeze, but couldn’t finalize it until the state budget went through last month.

Pages