Education

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.

UNH EOS

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

Redjar / Flickr Creative Commons

The New Hampshire House of Representatives has passed a bill that would end what has been called a moratorium on new charter schools. The bill still has a way to go before it is law, but charters in the pipeline could still open in time for next school year.

N.H. Department of Education

Governor Maggie Hassan plans to nominate Virginia Barry for a second term as the state’s commissioner of education.

Hassan will present Barry’s nomination to the Executive Council on Wednesday. The reappointment to a second four-year term is subject to the council’s approval.

Barry took over as the state’s education chief in 2009. Prior to that, she was a professor at Plymouth State University. She is also a former elementary school teacher and principal.

The Senate heard arguments Tuesday for a bill that would send more than $200 million to higher education.


Thomas Favre-Bulle / Flickr Creative Commons

The New Hampshire House of Representatives has voted, 188 to 151, to repeal the Education Tax Credit that took effect less than two months ago. The law grants an 85% tax credit to businesses that donate to scholarship organizations, which give the money to students going to a private school, an out-of-district public school, or home school.

Sheryl Rich-Kern

At the start of this spring semester, Manchester’s three high schools are launching two new initiatives around computer-based learning.

Emily Corwin / NHPR

The House Ways and Means Committee heard testimony Thursday on a bill that would repeal the School Choice Scholarship Act, which passed last year. The act allows businesses to receive a tax credit when they donate scholarship money to private schools.

Many of the same arguments that were heard last session came up again this time, as lawmakers debated whether or not a tax credit for businesses that fund private and even religious schools is wise – or even constitutional.

Keene, N.H., Schools To Have Police Visits

Jan 22, 2013

The police department and school district in Keene, N.H., are starting a program to have police officers visit the schools on a random, but daily, basis as part of their regular patrols.

New Charter schools hoping to open next fall will likely have to wait a while longer before they can submit their applications to the state. A proposal to fix the charter school funding problem was delayed in the legislative shuffle.

According to the Attorney General’s office, the Department of Education can’t approve any new charter schools until a budget has been passed. That means a number of schools that were hoping to open in the fall, are hanging in limbo: unsure if they’ll have time to apply

Ben McLeod / Flickr Creative Commons

Civil liberties groups have filed suit challenging the constitutionality of New Hampshire’s Tax Credit Scholarship law. The ACLU has teamed up with Americans United for Separation of Church and State to for the complaint.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

The Department of Education is set to release the culmination of three years of work. It’s a model system of how the DOE recommends schools should evaluate their teachers. New Hampshire schools are free to do what they will with those recommendations… for now.

For starters, why do teacher evaluations matter?

New Hampshire’s Commissioner of Education Virginia Barry has put improving the state’s public school teachers at the center of her time in the office, and she has a ready answer to that question.

Flikr Creative Commons / Kawwsu29

On January 1st businesses can start getting tax breaks for donating to organizations that give public school students money toward going to a private school. But before that law has even taken effect, there are proposals to change it.

The business tax credit scholarship law was never popular with Democrats, who called it a back-door school vouchers measure. Governor-elect Maggie Hassan has said that she would try to repeal it, and a Manchester Representative, Peter Sullivan, will file a bill that would do just that.

Flikr Creative Commons / rex libris

Online courses in higher education have been around for decades. Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester has been offering online courses since 1996.

Now the university is piloting a new online model — one that dispenses with courses, grades and credit hours. College for America is a low-cost, nontraditional approach that's getting a lot of attention. And it may be the first of its kind to get federal approval by the Department of Education.

An online petition asks the Nashua school district to establish anti-discrimination policies for transgender students.

Dartmouth College

The Dartmouth College Board of Trustees has elected alum Philip Hanlon as the school's new president.

Hanlon, 57, is currently provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at the University of Michigan, where he is also the Donald J. Lewis Professor of Mathematics. Hanlon, a 1977 Dartmouth graduate, will be the college's 18th president.

Hanlon will take office on July 1. He succeeds Jim Yong Kim, who left the college in April to serve as president of the World Bank.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

Higher Education officials and Business leaders gathered for a forum today on how to increase the number of New Hampshire STEM graduates – that’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. But while it was Community Colleges and Universities talking about the issue today, the lack of interest in STEM is a problem at every level of the American education system.

N.H. Conference Tackles Need For More Tech Graduates

Nov 27, 2012

Representatives of New Hampshire’s community colleges, public universities and business community are gathering in Manchester Tuesday to discuss how to increase the number of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, or STEM graduates in New Hampshire.

Kyle Todesca, UNH

The University System of New Hampshire is asking lawmakers for $100 million dollars in annual state funding.

That’s more than twice what they were given in the previous budget.

Heads of the various state departments, and the presidents of the state’s universities went before budget writers today to present their initial requests for state funds.

Chancellor of the University System, Ed McKay, says he is cautiously optimistic that governor elect Maggie Hassan will make restoring the cuts from the last budget a priority.

Flikr Creative Commons / Alexandre Lemieux

E-books are now selling more copies than hardbound, print books, and the average public library e-book collection has expanded by 55 percent in 2010 and 75 percent in 2011.

For the past few months a number of proposed charter schools in New Hampshire have been in a sort of limbo, unable to formally apply to the state because of funding concerns in the Board of Education. Today the legislative fiscal committee took a step that might move the issue forward.

Brady Carlson: So Sam, for folks who haven’t been paying attention, bring us up to speed on the charter school situation.

Sheryl Rich-Kern

In New Hampshire, a statewide task force on effective teaching is publishing new guidelines to improve the quality of teaching.  One issue that’s getting a closer look is teacher mentoring programs.  In Nashua, one mentoring program works to groom better teachers and keep them in the classroom for years to come.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

Charter School advocates and organizers packed the room for today’s meeting of the State Board of Education, to ask them rescind the moratorium on New Charter school approvals.

Several of the schools whose applications were denied because of a state budget shortfall were on hand, saying the moratorium was poorly timed.

Schools like the Gate City Charter say that this will keep them from opening on time.

Cevasco: My name is Karin Cevasco, and we are here to compel you to accept our application.

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