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A big hurdle remains for Learn Everywhere

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.


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…)

Do supporters consider the Learn Everywhere program viable only if it eliminates local control?

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.  (more…)

A comprehensive report from Reaching Higher NH on the March 14 SBOE discussion of the proposed Learn Everywhere program

Here is a full and detailed post on the Learn Everywhere discussion held by the board on March 14.  This is the kind of coverage we need to make the State Board of Education fully understandable to parents and voters.  The post itself is hard to improve upon so we will not provide highlights here.  Just read it!

One surprising element is the mention of a March 18 “invitation only” stakeholders meeting to discuss needed changes to the Learn Everywhere rules.  This kind of meeting is frequently used to gather input on a proposed rule and has always been public in the past.  The board had not been notified of the meeting and was apparently surprised to hear about it.

It’s not clear that there is any statutory basis for holding a nonpublic meeting to take public feedback on proposed rules.  Hopefully, the board’s legal counsel will straighten this out.

Conway Daily Sun: “NH Senate supports local control of academic credits.” Indeed – by a vote of 24-0

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: (more…)

Conway School Board member Mark Hounsell: Learn Everywhere is “the biggest threat to public education”

The last paragraph of the Conway Daily Sun article sums it up:

According to Hounsell, “The essential difference between Learn Everywhere and ELO’s is that Learn Everywhere is a program of private groups that precludes participation or decision-making by local school boards.”

Here are some highlights: (more…)

In the end, Commissioner Edelblut cannot win a battle over who gets to grant high school graduation credits

Empowering private “Learn Everywhere” groups to grant academic credit leading to high school graduation is the over-the-top priority for the governor and the commissioner.  It would be an education revolution bigger than vouchers.

But Learn Everywhere as currently proposed would be just the first shot in what would become a long running battle.  Return fire will come from the school districts, where the ultimate control of high school diplomas actually lies.  They have lots of options.  They could increase the requirements for diplomas that include Learn Everywhere credits.  Or create special lower value diplomas to carry Learn Everywhere credits that don’t meet their standards.  Or..or…or… (more…)

Much embarrassment all around on Learn Everywhere lobbying misstep

We’ve never seen anything like the current battle over Commissioner Edelblut’s “Learn Everywhere” program.  Everywhere you turn, in the face of wide-spread rejection of this proposal, the commissioner is there with his sales pitch – one-on-one with state board members, in meetings to organize visible support and in direct calls to superintendents seeking their support.

But the dustup in Manchester is a telling setback for the effort. (more…)

SBOE’s Learn Everywhere testimony was loud and clear: “We don’t need a new program. Support the great Extended Learning Opportunities we already have!”

Here is the Reaching Higher NH video of the State Board of Education public hearing on the Department of Education’s proposed Ed 1400 rules, which the department calls “Learn Everywhere.”  Most of yesterday’s presenters also submitted written testimony which, together with the additional written comments the board will have received by the February 20 deadline, will be in the public record and will be posted here when made available.

And here is Reaching Higher’s thorough and reliable writeup on the hearing.  We will not try to improve on that here, but will make a couple of observations. (more…)

More superintendent feedback on Learn Everywhere, this from Lisa Witte, Monadnock Regional

January 28th, 2019

New Hampshire State Board of Education
101 Pleasant Street
Concord, New Hampshire 03301

Dear Members of the State Board of Education;

As a public school educator with over two decades of experience, I wholeheartedly support personalized learning and extended learning opportunities for students. Now more than ever, learning experiences that occur beyond brick and mortar school buildings and traditional classrooms are an integral part of developing the skills it takes for the students of today to succeed in the 21st century – and beyond. (more…)