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HB 1492 to modify the manifest educational hardship statute has been killed for this session

The House Education Committee today sent the bill to interim study.

Great story! Educators used the manifest educational hardship statute to help a kid overcome his challenges and graduate successfully from high school

New Hampshire educator Laura Spratt wrote to the State Board of Education this week about the manifest educational hardship (MEH) statute because the public hearing on the new MEH rules is tomorrow, December 14, from 1:00 to 1:30 and she wanted to get these thoughts into the public record for the board’s consideration.

Our department of education has been proposing changes, many of which are reflected in legislation proposed for the 2018 session, that would turn the MEH statute into a backdoor to universal school choice paid for by local New Hampshire taxpayers.

But here’s Ms. Spratt’s great letter about how her school district applied the MEH statute the way it was meant to be used. (more…)

Local school boards will be concerned about the big changes in the new Manifest Educational Hardship bill

House Education chair Rick Ladd’s proposal for change to the manifest educational hardship statute are now posted as HB 1492. It contains many concepts familiar from the proposals made repeatedly over the past eight months by the New Hampshire Department of Education. The bill needs much more analysis by school board members budget committee members and attorneys, but here are some initial observations. (more…)

Voucher bill, SB 193, part of a larger attack on public schools – Opinion, Portsmouth Herald.

The Seacoast Media Group papers published an oped by Bill Duncan today about the emerging commitment of state government to the school choice movement at the expense of our neighborhood schools. Here it is in full:

SB 193, the voucher bill, will come up for a vote in the House Education Committee this Tuesday, Nov. 14.  It is a very bad bill and so poorly written that even the committee Republicans are divided over it.

SB 193 would offer parents up to $5,100 (or even more) as an inducement to move their children out of neighborhood schools into homeschooling or private schools, including religious schools.


Update: the hearing on manifest educational hardship rules will be held on December 14

There will be no hearing this Thursday on the Initial Proposal of the manifest educational hardship rules.  The hearing is currently scheduled for December 14.

The Oct. 12, 2017 SBOE meeting: social studies standards, manifest educational hardship, charters and more

Here are the agenda the full board packet and the video:


Social Studies Advisory Panel

The department of education is undertaking an informal social studies standards review.  No plan or budget has been proposed but SBOE agrees with the many commenters over recent months that New Hampshire social studies standards need revision.    (more…)

Update: Public Hearing on manifest educational hardship rules will be held on December 14

Update: this hearing will not be held on November 9.  It will now be held on December 14

The Manifest Educational Hardship (MEH) rule has expired and the State Board of Education has begun the process of revising the rule.  The board has adopted an “Initial Proposed Rule” (page 3 of the board packet, here).  The public hearing will be held during its next board meeting, November 9, 2017, at the department of education, 101 Pleasant St., Concord. (Time will not be set until the meeting agenda is published a week or so before the meeting). (more…)

New Hampshire’s choice: neighborhood schools or the education marketplace

Here’s how Betsy DeVos describes the vision of public education that we see emerging in New Hampshire:

“The time has expired for ‘reform,’ ” DeVos told the American Federation For Children in May. “We need a transformation – a transformation that will open up America’s closed and antiquated education system. If we really want to help students, then we need to focus everything about education on individual students – funding, supporting and investing in them. Not in buildings; not in systems. It shouldn’t matter where a student learns so long as they are actually learning.”

Our schools lead the country in student achievement and innovation but that commitment to high quality public education for all students seems to be changing. We seem to be on the road to a DeVos-like vision system of publicly-funded individual parental choices.

There are many signs of this at the state board of education and in the Legislature. (more…)

What is “manifest educational hardship” and why do you care?

The Manifest Educational Hardship (MEH) statute governs the process for reassigning a student to another school if the parents demonstrate that continuing in the current school would have a detrimental effect on the student and another school would be better. Up to now, MEH has provided a path for school boards to respond to real problems a student might have.  However, local school boards and the state board of education have seen an increasing interest in using the MEH as a path for a family that might just prefer to send their child to a different school, whether or not there is a clear hardship at the current school. (more…)

Will 2018 be the school choice legislature?

Updated 11/26/17 with bills filed to date.

We know that the voucher bill, SB 193, will come back (More here), but there are another 13 school choice bills to watch if you are concerned about maintaining the vitality of New Hampshire’s neighborhood schools: (more…)