Education

On Thursday, a proposal to spend state money on full-day kindergarten heads to a final vote.

The bill, which pays for additional state spending on kindergarten by taxing keno, is making for tough decisions on both sides of the aisle.

New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Studies

A new report shows disparities in school funding in New Hampshire persist, two decades after a landmark lawsuit targeted the state’s education funding system.

jdurham / Morguefile

River Valley Community College, based in Claremont, is launching two new programs in computer science and information technology. The move is an attempt by the college to better tailor its offerings to the needs of local employers. 

"There are actually companies that are very, very concerned about not finding the right talent in the state," said Ali Rafieymehr, interim president and vice president of academic affairs at RVCC.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

When Republicans took full control in Concord this year, they wasted no time outlining an ambitious policy agenda on a number of fronts, including education.

While Republicans were able to accomplish much of that agenda, they weren’t able to get everything they wanted. Here’s a rundown of some major developments in education policy so far this year.

Jason Moon for NHPR

Dozens of people showed up to the State Board of Education meeting Thursday morning. They came to weigh in on a proposal to reevaluate the state standards on math and English.

Board members heard from parents, teachers, and business leaders on a request made by Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut to reevaluate the state standards in math and English. These standards define what students should know, and help shape what actually gets taught in the classroom.

John DePetro was among those in favor of a review.

Jason Moon for NHPR

With 14,000 students from a huge variety of backgrounds, the Manchester School District is both the largest and most diverse in the state.

But those distinctions come with challenges that sometimes result in stark disparities between schools just a few miles apart.

Brian Wallstin for NHPR

Budget writers in the N.H. House are eyeing the lottery game Keno as a way to fund full day kindergarten. The state senate has always opposed Keno and Governor Sununu says he's yet to see the details of the plan.

Eddie Cheuk

A revered debate coach and one-time head of the Advanced Studies Program who groped and exposed himself to multiple female students.

A history teacher and cross-country coach who sexually assaulted, massaged and propositioned multiple male students. 

Jason Moon for NHPR

 

It’s a pregnant moment for state education policy. Republicans control Concord, and Gov. Chris Sununu ran on a promise to change how education is delivered here. Key aspects of that debate – full-day kindergarten, broad school choice, and the power of the state education commissioner were all debated Tuesday by lawmakers. But the message was mixed, and decidedly less conservative than last year's election results would suggest.

Jason Moon for NHPR

Lawmakers in the House put the brakes on a sweeping school choice bill that would have allowed parents to use public money for private school and homeschool expenses.

The House Education Committee voted to retain the bill, which means it is effectively dead for the current session.

Photo Credit woodleywonderworks via Flickr Creative Commons

Lawmakers will debate a controversial education bill Tuesday that would allow parents to use state tax dollars to pay for private school tuition and homeschool expenses.

The bill is testing how far and how fast school choice advocates are willing to go in implementing their agenda.

Wednesday night, the Manchester school board will vote on proposals that would change how students move from one school to another.

This overhaul of what's known as the feeder pattern is just one part of a larger redistricting process that the city has been struggling to accomplish for nearly a decade.

NHPR reporter Jason Moon spoke with All Things Considered host Peter Biello about the process, and why it's been so fraught for so long.

Flickr

A Senate bill proposes allowing parents to use public education funds for alternative educational expenses, from private school tuition to computer equipment. A growing number of states have adopted such measures but not without plenty of debate.  We'll take a look at that discussion here, and around the country. 


Jason Moon for NHPR

During a swing through the Seacoast Friday morning, Governor Chris Sununu stopped by the local Opioid Task Force in Dover.

Reflecting on the crisis, he said the state could be doing better with drug prevention programs for kids in school.

“To be blunt, when the 65 year old gray-haired comes in to a bunch of 5th and 6th graders, or even high schoolers…’just say no’. That message ain’t cutting it. No one is listening to that,” said Sununu.

Sununu said the state Department of Education should start playing a role in developing better programs.

FLICKR/ F OHanlon

A bill that would require parents to get advance notice before sex-related course material is taught in the classroom has passed the state Senate and now heads to the Governor.

woodleywonderworks via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/5p1N5a

A New Hampshire House subcommittee voted Wednesday to eliminate $18 million dollars in kindergarten funding from Gov. Chris Sununu’s state budget proposal. 

Michael Brindley for NHPR

State Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut was confirmed for a full, four-year term by the Executive Council Wednesday. Edelblut had earlier been appointed to fill out the remainder of the term of his predecessor, former commissioner Virginia Barry.

Edelblut was approved 3 to 2, in a party-line vote of the five-member council.

NANCY EVE COHEN / NEPR

In his revised executive order, President Donald Trump has cut the number of refugees allowed into the U.S. by more than half. But since the fall of last year, nearly 1800 refugees have already re-settled in New England, and more than a third of them are children and teens.

  At Philip G. Coburn Elementary School in West Springfield, Massachusetts, students come from all over the world.

"My Mom and Dad are from Sudan."

"My Mom and Dad are from Iraq"

"Turkey."

"Afghanistan."

"Nepal."

"I’m from Iraq."

Two major school construction projects on the Seacoast will go before voters this month. Similar proposals for both projects have been defeated in the past.

School districts looking to build or renovate have been in a tight spot ever since the state’s school building aid program was put on hold almost a decade ago.

Case in point: the Hampton and Newmarket school districts.

Officials with both districts say the renovations are long overdue and that taxpayer money is being wasted caring for out-of-date school buildings.

The Insitute via Flikr / https://flic.kr/p/bjqoJR

The science fair has been a staple of science education for decades. But recently the loss of Intel, the computer chip giant, as a sponsor of the International Science and Engineering Fair is prompting some soul searching about the purpose of this educational mainstay. Do these science fairs, complete with a tri-fold poster board, really help students learn the kinds of things that prepare them for today’s science-based challenges?

With Republicans in full control of New Hampshire’s State House for the first time in more than a decade, Republicans have been moving quickly to enact policies that have long been on their wish list.

That’s been particularly true in public education.

NHPR Staff

Governor Chris Sununu delivers his budget proposal to lawmakers this week. It’s the first step in a months-long journey to build a two-year spending plan that will affect nearly every aspect of life in New Hampshire.

To help you prepare for the months of headlines to come, NHPR reporters are highlighting areas of the budget that are likely to generate the most discussion.

NHPR/Hannah McCarthy

It's a rite of passage in New Hampshire -- every year, hundreds of fourth graders make a pilgrimage to Concord for a State House tour. In this audio postcard, students from Woodland Heights Elementary School in Laconia learn the basics of law making -- and how to make their voices heard.

Scroll down for a 360 degree photo of the students in the N.H. Senate chamber.

CREDIT BIBLIOHOLIC / FLICKER CC

The New Hampshire House passed a pair of education bills Thursday that focused on parental control.

One would require school districts to give parents two weeks notice before teaching lessons involving sex.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

The New Hampshire House meets Thursday to vote on bills ranging from education policy to a proposal to possibly change the state’s time zone.

josh rogers\nhpr

With Republicans controlling the Executive Council, Gov. Chris Sununu's pick to lead the New Hampshire Department of Education, former gubernatorial candidate Frank Edelblut is expected to win confirmation. But Democrats pushed Edelblut on his background – he has no professional  experience in education and homeschooled all seven of his children - and core beliefs. 

Michael Brindley for NHPR

It’s been a busy year for Frank Edelblut. First, he rose from political unknown to near-upset in the Republican gubernatorial primary. Now, he’s poised to become the state’s next education commissioner. 

Edelblut’s background and philosophy would mark a significant break from his recent predecessors in that job.

www.concordchristian.org

A school choice program that allows businesses to make tax write offs for donating to education scholarships had a banner year in 2016.

The program received $385,662 in donations last year, according to an annual report filed with the state’s Department of Revenue Administration. That’s a 77 percent increase from the $217,199 in donations the program saw in 2015.

The number of people 60 and older with student loan debt has quadrupled in the past decade, and older Americans now represent the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. student loan market, according to a new report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

As of 2015, more than 2.8 million Americans over 60 had outstanding student loan debt — up from some 700,000 in 2005.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

New Hampshire U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan is raising concerns about President-elect Donald Trump's pick to head the federal Department of Education.

The Democratic senator met Monday with Betsy DeVos, a billionaire Republican activist and school choice proponent who has supported publicly-funded vouchers for use at private and religious schools.

In a statement released after their meeting, Hassan said she remains concerned about what she described as DeVos' lack of experience in and support for public education.

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