The following op-ed by Bill Duncan was published in the Concord Monitor on July 24, 2019.
We are at an interesting juncture in the debate over Gov. Chris Sununu’s proposed Learn Everywhere program. The legislative committee charged with ensuring that proposed agency rules conform with the statutes they implement (that’s the Joint Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules, JLCAR) has, by a party-line vote of 6-4, lodged a “preliminary objection” to the Learn Everywhere program in a letter listing many problems. Central to the committee’s concerns is the provision that New Hampshire high schools “shall” accept graduation credits created by private groups accredited by the State Board of Education (SBOE).
Normally, when JLCAR sends a proposed rule back with a preliminary objection, the agency makes the required changes and resubmits the rule to JLCAR for a virtually assured final approval. That does not seem likely in this case.(more…)
Union Leader editorial parodies school funding proposals to arrive at school choice as the response to the ConVal decision
Today’s Union Leader school funding editorial opens with,
The latest court decision regarding education funding in New Hampshire presents either a great opportunity or a further slide in New Hampshire’s advantage over other states
The editorial proceeds on a twisted trail trying to debunk the whole notion established in the New Hampshire Constitution that the opportunity for an adequate education is a fundamental right of every child in the state.
The great opportunity, of course, is school choice.
If that’s actually the starting point for opponents of school funding fairness, it’s hard to imagine a consensus solution.
The House Finance Committee chair: the House education funding proposal is an important step toward responding to the ConVal decision
The Senate has sent its proposed budget back to the House with a major reduction in the House commitment to education funding. That will get discussed and voted on it the House and probably sent to a committee of conference.
In the June 9 Concord Monitor, House Finance chair Mary Jane Wallner explains the context and rationale for the strong House support for increase education funding as a first step in implementing Judge Ruoff’s important decision: (more…)
Just before the SBOE vote, NH League of Women Voters issues a statement opposing the NHDOE Learn Everywhere proposal
If you are not yet alarmed about Commissioner Edelblut’s proposal to privatize public education in New Hampshire, here’s our background on his Learn Everywhere plan and here is great coverage by Reaching Higher NH. The current version of the plan is here on page 345 of the board packet for the Thursday, June 13, SBOE meeting, where the board is expected to vote on the package. (more…)
The Union Leader delves further into the Ruoff decision on today’s front page. Read the whole thing but here are some highlights:
If there’s one message that comes through loud and clear in the nearly 100-page ruling on education funding handed down late Wednesday by a Cheshire County Superior Court judge, it’s this: A child’s educational opportunity should not be determined by his or her ZIP code…..
Superior Court Judge David W. Ruoff drops a bomb on Concord: the state’s support for public education is unconstitutional.
In backroom conversations, New Hampshire’s elected leadership have recognized for years that the adequacy formula determining state funding for public education is unconstitutional. The Legislature had set the funding level unrealistically low – currently $3,636 plus some other targeted forms of aid – and just hoped to keep the issue in the background as long as possible.
The string ran out on that strategy this year as schools closed or dropped important courses and the NH School Funding Fairness Project led by Andy Volinsky, John Tobin and Doug Hall held 35 forums (and counting) around the state explaining the system and the damage it is doing to students, property poor communities and property taxpayers. While the Fairness Project and hundreds of active supporters pursued a legislative remedy, ConVal and 3 other school districts went to court in March to challenge the formula.
Portsmouth Herald: “We do have an education funding problem, which is a drag on our economy, particularly in rural areas, and it’s getting worse.”
The Herald weighed in editorially on the school funding issue after an editorial board visit by Executive Councilor and lead Claremont case attorney Andy Volinsky:
The fight over education funding in New Hampshire has, at least for now, moved from courts of law to the court of public opinion.
The lead lawyers in the landmark 1997 Claremont II education funding lawsuit, which affirmed New Hampshire’s constitutional duty to provide every K-12 student an “adequate” public education, acknowledge that despite favorable rulings from the state Supreme Court, disparities in educational opportunities have not gotten better over the past 20 years. In fact, they have gotten worse.
The NHPR series “Adequate: How A State Decides The Value of Public Education” has provided important insights into education funding in New Hampshire and the impact inadequate state support for its schools has had on our communities. The series will culminate next Tuesday with a forum to be held at NHPR headquarters in Concord. Here are the details. You can register here to attend the forum live in NHPR’s Studio D.
Laura Knoy is host a great panel:
- John J. Freeman—Superintendent of Schools, Pittsfield School District
- Our own John Tobin —One of the attorneys for the plaintiffs in the landmark Claremont education case against the state, and a leader in the current NH School Funding Fairness Project
- Rick Ladd—Republican state representative from Haverhill; former chair of the Education Committee, N.H. House of Representatives
- Jessica Huizenga—Superintendent of Schools, Milford School District
Don’t miss it!
Timberlane Regional School District residents and two state senators turned out at the Performing Arts Center on Monday night to learn how the state’s school funding mechanism is affecting communities.
The presentation was led by attorney John Tobin, who was part of the landmark Claremont education funding case before the state Supreme Court in the 1990s. He said the current funding system is hurting students, taxpayers, and home and business owners.