Education

In his state-of-the-state speech, Governor Lynch made it clear that he’d like to see a change to the Constitution,  setting out how New Hampshire pays for public schools. Similar efforts have failed before, sometimes over the meaning of a single word or phrase.   We’ll look at this latest attempt, the arguments around it, and whether this year is the year an amendment is approved. 

Guests

The North Country’s Senator John Gallus, a Republican from Berlin, was among the 17 senators voting Wednesday in favor of a constitutional school funding amendment.

There were seven “no” votes.

As reported by NHPR’s Josh Rogers:

(Please) Stand for the Pledge of Allegiance

Feb 14, 2012
Flickr Creative Commons/Just Some Dust

A bill requiring New Hampshire students to stand during the Pledge of Allegiance passed a house committee today.

"Standing is a sign of national patriotism," says Republican Representative Lawrence Kappler.

Current law permits students to remain seated, as long as they are silent and respectful. The constitutionality of the bill is in question, however. Representative Gary Richardson believes that requiring someone to stand is clearly an issue of free speech. 

Flikr Creative Commons / Renator Ganoza

The New Hampshire Department of Education says it will not yet ask the federal government  for flexibility with the requirements of No Child Left Behind, the federal education law. The DOE is gearing up to request a waiver this spring.

According to state education officials New Hampshire is not ready to ask for a waiver from the toughest testing standards required under No Child Left Behind. Paul Leather from the Department of Education says  in order to get a waiver, the state must first build a system that will evaluate teacher and principal effectiveness.

Photo by F. Tronchin via Flickr Creative Commons

Same-sex marriage is back in the headlines with a ruling on Proposition 8 in California and legislative action in Washington state. Earlier this week, New Hampshire saw rallies both for and against traditional marriage. As this front in the culture war rages from coast to coast, maybe it’s time to figure out exactly what we’re fighting over.

House Votes to End Chancellor's Office

Feb 8, 2012

The New Hampshire House today voted to eliminate the Chancellor’s Office within the University System. The bill calls for many of the responsibilities of the Office to be shifted to the Board of Trustees and to school presidents. Created in 1974, the Chancellor’s duties include government relations, purchasing and audits.

Flikr Creative Commons/ evmaiden

The New Hampshire House voted to put off making a final decision on a pair of bills that would withdraw the state from No Child Left Behind, and forego $61.6 million dollars in federal funding.

House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt from Salem cited the lost money as he urged collegues to table the bills.

"There are significant and justifiable concerns about withdrawing from this program," Bettencourt said, "concerns regarding the potential loss of significant federal funds currently being received by our local school districts."

Flikr Creative Commons

The New Hampshire House of Representatives is currently awash in education bills, many of which will never see the light of day. However, some of these bills are setting the stage for big discussions about public schools, the role of the state, and the rights of parents.

To help sort through the confusion, the following is a roundup of bills coming before the House between now and Crossover day.

R.I. Student Draws Ire Over School Prayer Challenge

Feb 7, 2012

There are not many 16-year-olds who take a police escort to school, but until recently, Jessica Ahlquist was one of them.

An atheist, Ahlquist sued the city of Cranston, R.I., over a banner hanging in the auditorium of her high school, Cranston High School West. Printed on the banner, a longtime feature at the school, is a prayer to "Our Heavenly Father."

In January, a federal judge ordered the banner removed. The school board is expected to decide Thursday whether to appeal.

Chris LoCascio, a junior at UC Riverside, feared that there was no end in sight for tuition increases at the University of California. The state kept cutting subsidies, students kept protesting, but no one had any answers. So he and other students decided to turn the discussion on its head.

What if, he says, "instead of charging students upfront for their education, students would attend the UC with no upfront costs whatsoever"?

Under the Fix UC proposal, the bill would not come due until students graduate and start making money.

We sit down with Ross Gittell, the New Chancellor of New Hampshire’s Community College System.  As one of the state’s leading economists, Gittell enters the job with a deep understanding of  our business and jobs climate.  Now, as Chancellor, he hopes to draw upon that background:  making a strong link between education, training and economic health.  We'll talk with him about his new role

Guest

So-called helicopter parents first made headlines on college campuses a few years ago, when they began trying to direct everything from their children's course schedules to which roommate they were assigned.

With millennial children now in their 20s, more helicopter parents are showing up in the workplace, sometimes even phoning human resources managers to advocate on their child's behalf.

Megan Huffnagle, a former human resources manager at a Denver theme park, recalls being shocked several years ago when she received a call from a young job applicant's mother.

Flikr Creative Commons / Renato Ganoza

 

New Hampshire students continue to improve academically, according to the results of the latest round of standardized tests.

The New England Common Assessment Program, or NECAP, test students in grades 3 through 8 and eleventh graders.

The test shows that 67% of all students are proficient in math, up two percentage points from last year. 79% are proficient in reading, and only 54% are proficient in writing.

black man is President of the United States, an increasing number of women are running large companies, and same-sex marriage is legal in a  number of states. Still, hate crimes and societal and institutional discrimination continue across the country.  We tend to hear about the most egregious examples. We’re going to focus in this segment on the more subtle exercise of bigotry that academics call “microaggressions”.

The New Hampshire House is considering a plan to allow students replace any two public school courses with courses designed and taught by a parent or their designee. 

Under the bill, schools couldn’t veto subjects or teaching methods of parents but would have to grant students credits toward graduation. The measure’s sponsor, JR Hoell of Dunbarton, says the proposal affords parents a needed bit of freedom.

“Parents are taking a greater role in overseeing the academic progress of their children; the school system is taking a reduced role.”

 

A House Committee has voted to recommend that New Hampshire pull out of No Child Left Behind.

Republican lawmakers on the House education committee cited local control and small government as reasons to withdraw the state from No Child Left Behind.

The vote was along party lines.

The dissenting democrats say they too are frustrated with the federal education laws, but are concerned about the federal money the state would lose if it withdrew from the program.

If the bill passes the state would forfeit $63 million in federal grants.

Lawmakers heard testimony Monday about a bill that would give public school students an average of $2,500 for homeschooling or private school attendance.

The funds would come from a tax credit given to businesses that donate to state-certified scholarship programs.

 “In the last decade eight states have launched education tax credit programs to expand educational opportunities for hundreds of thousands of students,” said House Majority DJ Bettencourt, who sponsored the legislation.

“Education tax credit programs have saved money in other states,” said Bettencourt.

A decade ago, President Bush signed into this wide-ranging education reform bill into law, which has been hotly debated since. Supporters of No Child Left Behind said it was a “wake up call” for public schools, but opponents said it created a nightmare of paperwork and impossible expectations.  We’ll look at the legacy of NCLB, where its helped the national education system, its challenges and how the Obama White House has approached it.

Guests 

By zooovro

A new law allows parents who object to certain classroom materials to request alternative coursework for their child.  Governor Lynch vetoed the bill last year, but the legislature recently overrode that veto.  We’ll look at arguments for and against this law, and how school districts may adapt.   

Guests:

  • J. Scott Moody, Vice President of Policy at Cornerstone Policy Research and Cornerstone Action
  • Rhonda Wesolowski, President of NEA-NH.

We'll also hear from:

Since the state received eleven and a half million dollars in federal money for charter schools last year, there has been a flurry of activity, including in Nashua where two charter schools are in the works. Meanwhile, though many former foes now support charter schools, questions remain on such issues as admission policies, accountability, and how teacher unions fit in.  Today we'll look at how charter schools are doing and where they're heading. 

Guests

(Photo by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/greg2point0/2623514400/" target="_blank">Greg Gillinger</a> via Flickr)

When Word of Mouth sent me to cover a competition designed around Legos, I had no idea that I was walking into the Superbowl of problem solving. 

LINKS:

First Lego League Web Site

Watch the Yappin' Yodas in action

Tulane Publications / Flickr Creative Commons

The Upper Valley Business & Education Partnership makes connections between schools and their wider communities. Tyler Mansfield and Jim Madden met through the Partnership’s “Everybody Wins!” reading mentoring program.

JIM: I’ve always loved to read so it was really just sort of a natural fit to share my love of reading with the students. I guess we both discovered we kind of liked mysteries.

(<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/instantvantage/6108039196/" target="_blank">Instant Vantage</a> via Flickr Creative Commons)

You may recall that as President, Ronald Reagan labeled ketchup as a vegetable. On Monday, a joint House-Senate spending bill added tomato paste slathered on pizza to the vegetable group. In fact, pizza is now designated as a “supervegetable”. Julian Pecquet covers health care for The Hill and has been following the bill, and the lobbying effort behind it.

We can't help but wonder what Michelle said when she found out.

 

 

Deanna Couture

Between 2000 and 2009 New Hampshire’s Latino population grew by 79 percent.

These changes have created new challenges for some New Hampshire schools.

SFX: announcements, and hall noises

Walking through the halls of Nashua South High school, it’s clear where everyone stands. Literally.

Students Talking: This is the Spanish corner, yeah basically yeah this is the Spanish corner, like Dominican, Puerto Rican, right there is the Mexican corner, for real. (Spanish chat fades away, hall SFX continues)

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/auvet/4864672208/in/photostream/" target="blank">jimmywayne</a> via Flickr/Creative Commons

The phrase “first in the nation” is the shorthand we use for talking about the New Hampshire presidential primary coming before any other.

New Hampshire is first among states in other ways, too. Some are good – like having the lowest rate of child poverty among states. Some are not so good – like having the highest student debt load in America.

Manchester Community College has received a grant of nearly 5 million dollars for a worker training program.

As NHPR’s Sam Evans-Brown reports the funds come from an unexpected source.

When American companies can’t find the American workers with the skills they need, they can bring in guest workers on a temporary visa.

Applying for that visa costs the employer a lot of money, and the Department of Labor gives that money back in the form of grants to train Americans.

risdmuseum / Flickr/Creative Commons

The Community Child Care Center of Portsmouth provides child care, early education and before- and after-school programs. When Christine Hegarty’s husband passed away, the center provided support to her and her children, Erin and Quinn.

CHRSTINE: What had really appealed to both my husband and myself was the care the kids got and the feeling that was provided by the staff.  And what happened was going to community child care, that really was their neighborhood. My kids loved it. They never wanted to leave.

The idea of virtual learning is growing in the American education system.  More students from Kindergarten through 12th grade are learning in front of a screen rather than from a live teacher.  While some say the format is cost efficient and tailored to each individual's learning speed, others say essential components of the schooling system, such as development of social skills and hands on lessons, are being compromised in the process.  Many educators are looking on with reluctant optimism as the virtual world expands in its implementation.  Today we're looking at education that favors co

Ben McLeod / Flickr Creative Commons

Governor Lynch’s newest amendment, which aims to give the legislature more elbow room to pay for education, has surprised, angered and pleased law makers on both sides of the aisle. This is the third amendment proposed this year after the House and Senate each passed versions of their own. Lawmakers on the right are displeased with Lynch's legal word choice, lawmakers on the left don't want an amendment at all, but there are those who think a compromise is possible.

Guests:

Brooke Hauser, author of The New Kids, Big Dreams and Brave Journeys at a High School for Immigrant Teens, talks about the hard knocks the newest kids face.

Links:

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