Manchester School District

The new school superintendent in Manchester says a recent audit taking the school district to task in several areas should be used as a blueprint to help address those is

Flikr Creative Commons / Kawwsu29

  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.

Keith Ramsey / Flickr

Interest rates on newly issued subsidized Stafford loans doubled on Monday.

The New Hampshire Higher Education Assistance Foundation has been working with families to help them understand what that means when planning for college.

As of July 1, the interest rate jumps from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent.

Tara Payne is vice president of the Center for College Planning.

She says her concern is that students who qualify for subsidized federal loans are the ones with the greatest need.

Kyle Todesca, UNH

The University System of New Hampshire Board of Trustees voted Friday to freeze tuition for in-state students for the next two years.

The move comes after lawmakers agreed to substantially restore funding cuts made to the system in the last budget.

The tuition freeze for in-state students marks the first time in 25 years the cost of attending University System of New Hampshire schools will not rise.

After the Legislature cut support for higher education in half in the last budget, tuition rose by 9 percent in 2011 and by another 6 percent last year.

Tuition at New Hampshire’s seven community colleges will remain frozen for the next academic school year.

The decision comes after lawmakers signed off on a state budget that fully restores deep cuts made to the system in the last budget.

Chancellor Ross Gittell says the restoration of funding allows the community college system to hold the line on tuition for the upcoming school year.

He says it will also be used to help align education and training programs with the needs of businesses.

The U.S. Department of Education has approved New Hampshire’s application for a waiver from certain requirements of the No Child Left Behind law.

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan informed state officials today that their application had been accepted.

The waiver frees the state from ten different sections of the controversial education law, which calls for universal math and English proficiency by 2014.

Principia School / Flickr Creative Commons

New Hampshire’s new Education Tax Credit Program has been around for all of six months, and so far, it’s had a rough time.

Last week a superior court ruled the program can’t give scholarships to religious schools But this is just the latest difficulty for the program.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

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.

The search for a new superintendent of the Manchester School District is expected to wrap up this weekend.

The search committee announced the names of three finalists for the job this week.

Two – Debra Livingston and Maureen Ward – are from New Hampshire.

Livingston is the superintendent of the Fall Mountain Regional School District, which covers several towns in the southwestern part of the state.

Thomas Favre-Bulle / Flickr Creative Commons

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. 

Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium

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.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

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.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

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.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

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.

By the 2014-2015 school year, the new Common Core State Standards are set to be in full effect.

  • What are the Common Core standards?
  • Where do they come from?
  • Why the push for new educational standards at all?
  • What arguments are critics making against it?
  • What exactly will change for students & teachers in the classroom?
  • How will the new standardized testing affect school curriculum?

In a week-long series, NHPR education reporter Sam Evans-Brown answers all these questions and more on the Common Core.

biologycorner / Flickr Creative Commons

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.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

New Hampshire will have to wait a little longer for more flexibility from the federal education law No Child Left Behind. The US Department of Education granted three more states waivers today, but New Hampshire was not on the list.

With the addition of Alaska, Hawaii and West Virginia there are now 37 states that the DOE has exempted from many of the requirements of No Child Left Behind. Eight states, including New Hampshire, have waivers pending.

Oral arguments were heard Friday in a lawsuit which will determine if the state’s new education tax credit is constitutional. The state argues that for the tax credit to be considered unconstitutional, the judge has to consider first if directing money through a tax credit is the same as spending money in the budget. Next the judge will have to determine if because some parents use that money to send their kids to religious schools, does that violate the state’s constitution?

A lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the controversial Education Tax Credit will be heard today in Strafford County Superior Court. The law was passed last year by Republicans seeking to create more avenues for educational choice. But Democrats say it saps resources from Public schools and have targeted the law for repeal.

Morning Edition host Rick Ganley spoke with NHPR Education Reporter, Sam Evans-Brown about the lawsuit. 

Liz Faiella for NHPR

  For the first time in six years, Dartmouth cancelled classes in the arts and sciences Wednesday. The College administration instead scheduled what it calls a “Day of Reflection and Understanding” after threatening messages were left for some students on an anonymous online discussion board. 

New Hampshire’s public universities made a pitch for restored funding to the budget writers in the New Hampshire State Senate Monday, but they got a lukewarm response.

The federal government has approved Southern New Hampshire University’s online College for America.

This is the first time that a program not based on grades and credit hours has qualified for federal financial aid. College for America is competency based, which according to SNHU President Paul Leblanc, allows students a lot more flexibility. To explain what competency based education means, Leblanc says, “the key is if you can show us if you’ve mastered that writing competency in a week, then we’re not going to make you sit through 15 weeks of college composition.”

Sheryl Rich-Kern, NHPR

As college costs rise around the country, some small private colleges are finding a new way to attract students—by offering financial incentives.  Some are offering discounts. Others are freezing tuition.  But New England College in Henniker has come up with its own plan to attract a wider range of students.

Beginning this May, it’s offering a year-round academic calendar, allowing students to save money by graduating in three years instead of four.

Nature Schools Gaining Popularity In N.H.

Apr 11, 2013

Nature preschools and forest kindergartens may sound more fun than foundational. But this nontraditional approach to early learning is gaining popularity for teaching the basics while getting kids away from screens and out into nature.  And now Antioch University in Keene has begun offering a teacher education program for nature-based curricula and programs schools.

Michael Brindley/NHPR

Children with special needs are required to have someone making critical decisions about what’s in the best interest of their education. But some children have no one to fill that role.

That’s where New Hampshire’s educational surrogate program comes in. But it’s need of more volunteers to fill gaps in some parts of the state.

Linda Potter always starts her training sessions with a lesson in perception.

“Tell me what you see,” she asks the group.

Sam Evans-Brown / Data: Department of Education

Today the New Hampshire House of Representatives passed a budget that doesn’t fund $2.5 million for new charter schools. If that policy stands it would be mean a de facto, two-year moratorium on charter schools. It’s a move that was met with surprise and confusion by charter school advocates. But to understand the decision takes knowing something about the long, political history of charter schools.

Governor Wentworth School District

A snow day isn’t what it used to be for some students in the Granite State. Many New Hampshire schools are adopting what are known as blizzard bag days.

The concept has been popular among the schools that use it, but the program has yet to take off statewide.

You're 8 years old, and you're excited that there's a fresh blanket of snow on the ground. Then you get a phone message.

“Due to inclement weather and treacherous road conditions, school is canceled for all Governor Wentworth Schools.”

You start thinking snow day. But then...

Sheryl Rich-Kern, NHPR

This week, New Hampshire became the third state in the country to announce it will no longer use GED Testing Services for its high school equivalency exams.

Beginning in 2014 , the state is moving to Educational Testing Service, also known as ETS.

And instructors are urging the more than 1,400 adult learners in the state to finish their GED exams before the end of the year.

Otherwise, they’ll have to face starting over with a new test that will be harder to pass.

GED has been the brand name for high school certifications for almost 70 years.

Sheryl Rich-Kern

A team of Nashua High School students is trying to create a bacteria-powered battery that runs off a composter. The team is one of 16 around the country that received up to 10-thousand-dollars in seed money from the Lemelson-MIT Program.


Monday marks the beginning of a collaboration between UNH’s space and earth research team, and the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas.