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.

File Photo

Students who graduate from Great Bay Community College with an Associates’ Degree can now transfer up to 63 credits toward their bachelor’s degree at the University of New England, in Biddeford, Maine.

The partnership was initiated by Great Bay, after administrators noticed an increasing number of students transferring to UNE’s Physicians’ Assistant track, which ultimately graduates students with a masters’ degree.

Now, the new transfer agreement includes more than 20 programs at UNE, including in oceanography and elementary education.

Michael Brindley for NHPR

New Hampshire has lost out on a federal grant that would have helped create more charter schools in the state.

The state Department of Education had applied for a $5.4 million, five-year grant.

The state was told Monday it was not one of the eight states selected by the US Department of Education to receive new grants.

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."

Indiana Public Media via Flickr Creative Commons

The chair of the Croydon School Board says the board is prepared to go to court over a school choice dispute with the state.

The attorney general’s office has given the board until Monday to stop using taxpayer money to send a small group of students to a private school, which the state says is illegal.

Board chair Jody Underwood tells NHPR's Morning Edition there are no plans to stop the practice, which she argues is allowed under state law.

MattBritt00 via Flickr Creative Commons

Dartmouth College has released the results of a major survey which finds that more than 1 in 4 female undergraduates at the school have been victims of some sort of unwanted sexual encounter.

Colby-Sawyer College

The president of Colby-Sawyer College plans to step down next year.

Thomas C. Galligan announced this week that he will leave the job at the end of June, when he’ll wrap up his tenth year at the helm of the small New London college.

New Hampshire is running out of federal money that helps new charter schools with start-up costs.

The state Department of Education has about $600,000 left in its federal start-up grant for new charter schools.

“That is about one charter school. Depending on the size of the school, it could be two,” says Caitlin Davis with the DOE.

When students in Manchester return to school Wednesday, their classrooms may look a little different.

That’s because teachers there say they won’t be bringing anything into the classroom they purchased on their own, due to the city’s ongoing contract dispute.

Mayor Ted Gatsas recently vetoed a new teachers contract, which means this will be the third year in a row educators will be working without a raise.

As a new school year gets underway, more New Hampshire high schools are looking for ways to help students dealing with mental health issues.

Exeter High School is introducing new mental health services this year, in response to a rise in students dealing with issues such as depression and anxiety.

Jim Tremblay, principal of Exeter High School, joined NHPR’s Morning Edition to talk about the program.

When did you realize this was something the school needed to do?

Photo Credit woodleywonderworks via Flickr Creative Commons

Homeschooling continues to gain in popularity across the country, and by most accounts, here in the Granite State, as well.

From 2002 to 2012, the number of homeschooled children in the state jumped by nearly 30 percent.

But tracking how many children are being homeschooled in New Hampshire now is easier said than done.

That’s because parents are no longer required to file annual notifications of intent to homeschool.

Charlotte Albright/Vermont Public Radio

The recently-closed Lebanon College will reopen next year as a branch of River Valley Community College.

Officials will gather Tuesday afternoon for a press conference to formally announce the school’s reopening.

This comes a year after the small private college announced it was shutting down immediately due to declining enrollment and years of financial struggles.

The college’s reopening was made possible in part by a $1.6 million loan from the US Department of Agriculture-Rural Development.

Michael Brindley for NHPR

Plymouth State University’s new president has been on the job for a few weeks now, after officially taking over last month.

Donald Birx comes to higher education in the Granite State at a time when college affordability is a hot topic on the New Hampshire primary campaign trail.

He joined NHPR’s morning Edition.

The Hechinger Report

Here at State of Democracy, we love a good graphic. Maps, charts, tables -- any illustration that displays lots of data in a clear, informative manner earns a gold star from us. Here's one recent example that caught our eye: a map showing the graduation rate for nearly every school district in the United States in 2013.

Courtesy: Mel Pepin

Meet Declan Alexander Rourke, an AT/RT cancer survivor.

Soon he’s visiting Disneyland, and is super pumped about a Star Wars attraction, where he will get to fight Darth Maul.

“I am not sure if Maul is going to have a single bladed light-saber, or a double, because in the Clone Wars, he has a single… Episode One… double,” he effuses, slapping his hand on the table for emphasis.

Two proposed changes to the the state's education funding formula have been passed by the two chambers of the New Hampshire Legislature. Both seek to increase or lift altogether the state's cap on growth in per-pupil spending. And both would pay for such it by reducing so-called "stabilization grants," created in 2011 to keep certain school districts from losing huge amounts of funding after the last round of changes to the base aid formula.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR; Data: SAUs 28, 30 & 62; Legislative Budget Assistant
Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

With lawmakers now in the final phase of crafting the state budget for the next two years, schools around the state are watching the process uneasily. The Legislature is looking, once again, to tweak the formula it uses to send money to local districts. 

Michael Brindley for NHPR

The state’s two largest school districts – Manchester and Nashua – have a lot in common.

Both have high poverty and a diverse student population. And there’s a controversial educational practice they also share – leveling or, as it’s also called, tracking.

That’s when students are separated into different classes based on their past performance.

biblioholic / Flicker CC

The two biggest school districts in the state have not met the federal benchmarks set for participation in a controversial state-wide standardized test, known as the Smarter Balanced.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

Kindergarten is a year of transition. Kids are learning how to listen, follow directions, sit still... but while they are making that transition, there’s a lot of mandatory wiggling.

In Mr. Woody’s morning kindergarten class, in Plainfield, a class of students blows off some steam while doing a “wiggle dance.” A stereo plays a children’s song that Mr. Woody sings along to, and the kids giggle and flail.

Sara Plourde | Data: NH Dept. of Education, NH School Administrators Association

The number of New Hampshire public school districts offering full day kindergarten has been on the rise since 1999, when there were fewer than a dozen.