Last week New Hampshire at long last was granted a waiver from the Bush-era education reform law, No Child Left Behind (NCLB). The federal government first announced the waivers in 2011 because of congressional inaction to reform No Child Left Behind. New Hampshire was the 39th state to be granted one.
The US department of education announced another round of waivers from the controversial federal education policy, No Child Left Behind, and once again New Hampshire’s application for a waiver has been passed over.
New Hampshire Education officials say that they believe the waiver will be granted imminently.
It has been ten months since New Hampshire applied for flexibility from the requirements of No Child Left Behind, and several rounds of waivers for other states have been approved since the application was submitted.
NHPR’s Sam Evans-Brown has spent this week digging into the Common Core Standards, which will roll out in New Hampshire schools next year. He joins us now to pull the camera back a bit, and talk about what the Common Core means in the big picture.
26 states are signed on the Smarter Balanced Test, which was created with funds from federal Race to the Top Grants. New Hampshire is a "governing member" meaning it has a say in policy decisions made on the tests.
With the new Common Core State Standards comes a new standardized test, called the Smarter Balanced Assessment. New Hampshire schools will take it for the first time in the spring of 2015, and in many ways, it’s the new test that will determine how the Common Core is taught.
Mahesh Sharma, a math education consultant, works with a class of kindergartners in Meredith as teachers watch during a recent professional development day. Work like this is going on all over the state to get teachers ready for the Common Core
Next year is the deadline for New Hampshire schools to transition to the Common Core State Standards. This means a change in topics for different grades, and a change in how teachers teach. For some schools this will be a big change, but others are well on their way to adapting to the new academic standards.
At the Manchester Curriculum and Instruction Committee meeting last week, slightly more than a dozen concerned citizens turned out to voice their opposition to the district's adopting the Common Core. While activists opposed to the standards are dedicated, in New Hampshire it remains a fringe issue.
The Common Core State Standards, a set of goal posts for public school students that have been adopted by 45 states, are well on their way to being implemented in New Hampshire. But those same standards are at the center of a widening backlash in other states that hasn’t really caught on in New Hampshire.
Support and opposition to the Common Core does not break down cleanly along party lines. On the one hand, Florida’s former Republican governor Jeb Bush is a big supporter of the standards, as are many liberal politicians.
As this school year comes to a close, teachers are preparing for next fall, when a massive transition will begin. Starting next year, schools are expected to align their teaching to the Common Core State Standards. Those standards are a set of learning goals for public school students that have been adopted in 45 states and the District of Colombia. Released in 2010, they lay out what students should know when they finish each grade.
Starting today New Hampshire teachers and students can get a preview of the standardized test that will replace the New England Common Assessment or NECAP in 2015. The Smarter Balanced Assessment opened a practice test to the public Wednesday. The practice tests in Math and English for grades three through eight, and grade eleven can be accessed through the Smarter Balanced consortium’s website.