In discussing Learn Everywhere at their March 14 meeting, SBOE members appeared to consider the program viable only if Learn Everywhere groups were granted a free pass to issue graduation credits at any New Hampshire high school. There seemed to be a feeling that there would be no point to the program if SB 140 passed.
SB 140 merely reaffirms current practice. It says, “Each local school board shall determine whether to grant academic credit for alternative, extended learning, and work-based programs.”
But there’s another way to see the Learn Everywhere program. Seen as a partnership between local school boards and the State Board of Education, Learn Everywhere could serve as SBOE’s effort to expand the highly successful Extended Learning Opportunities program already in place in most New Hampshire high schools.
In the partnership approach, SBOE would recruit and vet groups and guide them in developing the capacity to provide credible ELO programs. The board could involve school districts in the licensing process itself, helping Learn Everywhere groups develop their programs. Then, before involving students, Learn Everywhere groups would shop their propose programs to the school districts. The high school ELO staffs could provide feedback on what it would take for that program to gain local approval. They would act as the state board’s quality control mechanism.
Over time, as Learn Everywhere gained credibility and became institutionalized, the SBOE imprimatur would facilitate local acceptance and speed up the process.
SBOE has no need to await legislation. The board could incorporate the SB 140 language into the Ed 1400 rule. The controversy would evaporate and the board would be in a great new partnership with its schools.