As the Conway Daily Sun coverage makes clear, the Senate yesterday responded directly to the overreach represented by the governor’s Learn Everywhere proposal, voting unanimously for Senator Jay Kahn’s SB 140. The House will surely support local control as well.
The State Board of Education, which has had massive pushback on its proposed plan, could put the issue to rest by inserting the Senate’s language into Learn Everywhere when the board next takes up the Ed 1400 rules, possibly at its March 14 meeting.
And Conway School Board member Mark Hounsell has become a forceful new statewide voice for New Hampshire public education. His quotes from the Sun are highlighted below:
Local school boards received a show of support from legislators in Concord on Thursday when the state Senate voted to pass an amended version of SB 140 (the Learn Everywhere bill) by adding a key sentence: “Each local school board shall determine whether to grant academic credit for alternative, extended learning and work-based programs.”
Conway School Board member Mark Hounsell, who watched the live-stream of the Senate on Thursday morning, was thrilled by the amendment. Within minutes of the unanimous vote (24-0), Hounsell sent the following to each senator: “Thank you for your support of SB 140 as amended. I join with many in recognizing the actions by the Senate today was a strong vote of support of local school boards.”
At the Feb. 25 school board meeting, Hounsell and his colleagues agreed to write a letter to the state to oppose the Learn Everywhere initiative created by Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut and unveiled in January. Board members oppose the innovation because it takes away local control when it comes to students earning credits towards graduation.
“The new state rules and proposal will give more control to the state DOE,” Hounsell said at the time. “It will also require districts to award high school credits to any program, from anywhere, that can get a state department approval regardless if it passes the rigors of our local high school or not.”
In addition to eroding local control, he said the proposal could weaken local education standards, ultimately diminishing the value of a Kennett High School diploma….
The bill now goes to the House for its members to take action on it.
“Local school districts should be very encouraged by the strong corrective action on the part of the state Senate with the passing of SB 140,” Hounsell said by phone on Thursday. “The unanimous bipartisan support of the upper chamber in protecting the integrity and heritage of public high schools sends a strong message to the state Department of Education and the state Board of Education that the proposed Learn Everywhere rules are an overreach of their authority. Hopefully, the House will complete the correction by passing SB 140 as amended.”…
“I contend that high school diplomas are a legal property that is entrusted by local school districts to locally elected school boards,” Hounsell said. “The school boards award diplomas to students who have successfully past the rigors of a locally developed curriculum. I doubt that the state has any legal right to commandeer local high school diplomas. I have no doubt the state has no moral right for their proposed action that would do so.”