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Letter to the State Board of Education commenting on the Learning Everywhere program

Members of the State Board of Education,
I comment for the record on the Initial Proposal of the Ed 1400 rules, the Learn Everywhere program.
The statute itself, RSA 193-E:2-a, V, reads like a extension of the ELO programs thriving in many of our schools.  But the proposed rule reads like an alternative to public education.  In fact, the recent Union Leader oped seemed to frame it that way.  Ms. Kerry McDonald said that Learn Everywhere would “….[loosen] the grip of schooling on education.….[W]e urgently need a new model of education….”
The board may not have that ambitious a goal, but what makes it possible for people to see it this way is that the state board, in effect, takes over responsibility for all New Hampshire’s locally issued diplomas in this section of the proposed rule (emphasis added):

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Vouchers revisited: “Public Education is much broader than public schooling.”

Today’s Union Leader carries an oped that sets out clearly the new theme for those who would have talked in the past about “school choice”, “parental choice”, “government school monopoly” or how voucher funded private schools outperform public schools.

You saw this theme first when now Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut said at his Executive Council confirmation hearing that he intended to be responsible for all New Hampshire children, not just public school students.

And Senator John Reagan is proposing SB 280 which would almost double the state adequacy benchmark to $7,500 per student by increasing the Statewide Education Property Tax.  At the same time, the bill would count all private, religious and home schooled students in the calculation of a community’s adequacy grant and allow school boards to send any child to a private or religious school.

In other words, rather than fight the losing battle for a high profile statewide voucher program, SB 280 would issue vouchers locally that would use full state funding and local property taxing power to send students to private schools. (more…)

Two opportunities this week to email or testify against the “Learn Everywhere” proposal to hijack high school diplomas

We’ve posted about the threat posed by the education department’s proposed “Learn Everywhere” program.  And here’s an oped appearing in papers around the state making the same case, that Learn Everywhere is actually a fundamental threat to the integrity of the high school diplomas granted by every district in the State. (more…)

The NH state board of education proposes to grant graduation credits toward local high school diplomas

When Gov. Sununu says, “SB 435 was one of my major legislative priorities,”  he’s talking about a one sentence amendment to New Hampshire’s definition of an adequate education:

The state board of education shall adopt rules….relative to the approval of alternative programs for granting credit leading to graduation.

The harmless-sounding bill, sponsored by a dozen Republicans and three Democrats, sailed through both bodies on voice votes (based on near unanimous committee support).

Legislators and school administrators probably did not realize the trap that had been laid for them until the State Board of Education approved the initial draft of the of the rule required by that sentence.

What does the proposed rule actually say?  Here it is.  Under the proposed rule, the state board grants itself the authority to make use of the diploma issued by any local school board in New Hampshire. (more…)