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.
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.
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.
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.”
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 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.