Education

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Officials with both districts say the renovations are long overdue and that taxpayer money is being wasted caring for out-of-date school buildings.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

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

New Hampshire’s governor doesn’t have a whole lot of executive power, at least compared to peers in other states. But one of the few ways a governor can exert his or her influence is through nominations to fill open seats across state agencies.

NHPR

 

New Hampshire's Commissioner of Education plans to resign at the end of January.

Commissioner Virginia Barry sent an email to department staff Friday announcing that she will step down from the post on Jan. 30. 

Michael Brindley

  An incoming state Senator who also heads New Hampshire's largest teachers union says he’ll be open about any conflicts of interest that may come from serving in the two roles simultaneously.

But Scott McGilvray, a Hooksett Democrat, said it's only "critics" raising concerns about where his interests will lie.

"Being part of running the state’s largest teachers union, it certainly puts a big target on my back," he told NHPR's Morning Edition.

Photo via MeritPages

New Hampshire’s Colby-Sawyer College plans to eliminate five majors. The cuts come amidst declining enrollment and financial concerns at the school. 

For the past two years the college has been operating at a loss of more than $2 million.  This year that loss is projected to be at $2.6 million. 

The decision to cut was based on money, but how did the school decide to cut these programs? And what does that decision say about where liberal arts education is headed?

Next school year, some high school students on the Seacoast will be able to hit the snooze button a few more times. The Oyster River and Portsmouth School Districts recently voted to move the start of their school days to 8:15 and 8:30, respectively. Research shows the change can help students get more sleep, but the decision was not without controversy.

“Get your clothes on, ok? Get dressed. Then come on down and meet me for breakfast.”

It’s 6:30 a.m. at the MacManes household in Durham, and that means it’s time to get ready for school.

Allegra Boverman

  Republican Gov.-elect Chris Sununu will have considerable power to shape the direction of public education with four key appointments during his first months in office.

Sununu takes office in January as New Hampshire's first Republican governor in a dozen years. He'll immediately have three appointments to the seven-member State Board of Education, which approves education standards and charter school applications. He'll also choose a commissioner of education in March when Commissioner Virginia Barry's term ends.

The Portsmouth School Board voted Tuesday night to make the start of the school day about an hour later for middle and high school students.

Next year, middle and high schoolers in Portsmouth will start the school day at about 8:30. The current start time is 7:30.

Research shows the extra time can make a big difference for students in everything from emotional well-being to academic performance.

Board member Patrick Ellis voted in favor of the change.

Jason Moon for NHPR

The Portsmouth School Board held a public hearing last night on whether to push back the start of the school day for middle and high schoolers next year.

Among the roughly 60 parents and teachers who attended last night's meeting, there was broad agreement that a later start time could benefit students. A growing body of research suggests later start times can help teens get more sleep and be more productive during the school day.

Portsmouth superintendent Steve Zadravec outlined two proposals to push middle and high school start times back by an hour.

The Portsmouth School Board will hold a public hearing Wednesday evening on whether the school day should begin later for the city’s middle and high school students.

Jason Moon for NHPR

Today, millions of Americans around the country are performing their civic duty at the voting booth. But here in New Hampshire, there’s growing concern that students aren’t learning enough about the historical foundations behind that tradition. 

Michael Brindley

The presidential campaign is usually an opportunity every four years for students to study democracy in real time. But, by all accounts, this campaign has been anything but normal.

The adult themes and harsh rhetoric have been especially challenging for educators, who’ve had to figure out how to address these subjects in the classroom.

NHPR Morning Edition host Rick Ganley spoke with educators across New Hampshire to see what’s different about teaching the presidential campaign this year.

Johannes Thiel via Flickr cc

 

Breaking up is hard to do. But in New Hampshire, multi-town school districts and administrative units (SAUs) are doing just that. Some say the process should be made easier, particularly for cooperative districts that were designed to discourage dissolution. But others warn of unintended consequences for students.  

School enrollment throughout New England has been declining, a demographic change that has prompted Maine and Vermont to encourage districts and towns to combine schools and resources to save money and provide educational opportunities for students.

Courtesy

A Laconia High School English teacher has been named the state’s top educator.

Tate Aldrich was named the New Hampshire Teacher of the Year at a surprise ceremony at the school Friday.

Aldrich has been teaching English for eight years, all of them at Laconia High School, which also happens to be his alma mater.

Tate Aldrich joined NHPR’s Morning Edition to talk about the award.

What was your reaction when you learned you won?

Trigger Warnings, Born In Between, & Miranda July

Sep 9, 2016
Thomas Hawk via Flickr CC / flic.kr/p/dSuxV1

Demanding trigger warnings? Canceling speakers? Shutting down comedians? College students today make the political correctness of the past seem tame. Today, is oversensitivity ruining education? We’ll also look at the roots of extreme protectiveness in a nation where police officers are stationed at more and more high schools…a story about what happens when school discipline meets law enforcement. And while the trans-gender movement gains ground, we’ll explore the shockingly common occurrence of doctors assigning gender to intersex babies. 

Small Colleges, Big Challenges

Jul 11, 2016
courtesy of Colby-Sawyer College

Nationwide, many smaller institutions are struggling to survive due to dwindling enrollment, rural locations, and doubt about the inherent value of a liberal education.  We talk with two New Hampshire college presidents to find out how they're facing these new economic realities and an uncertain future. 

GUESTS:

  • Scott Carlson, Senior Writer with the Chronicle of Higher Education.
  • Dr. Kim Mooney, incoming President of Franklin Pierce University. She is a Franklin Pierce alumna, formerly Provost and Vice-President for Academic Affairs, and served on the board of trustees of Franklin Pierce College.
  • Dr. Susan Stuebner, President of Colby-Sawyer College in New London, N.H.  She took office July 1st.  Previously she was Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Allegheny College in Pennsylvania.


Jason Moon for NHPR

School may be out for the summer, but some teachers in New Hampshire have been keeping busy by becoming students again. At a teachers’ workshop in Keene, educators brushing up on their Civil War history.

Chris Ball via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/fgCbCo

Last year, President Obama toured a federal prison in Oklahoma - an unprecedented move for a sitting president and a clear sign of the administration's focus on criminal justice reform. Among its proposed reforms is a call to "ban the box" – which would move or remove questions about a job applicant's criminal history. Today, should the box also be banned from college applications?

Then, hip hop has been key to the runaway success of Hamilton...suddenly people are rapping about American history. Now, an educator and lyricist is applying that formula to the classroom. 

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