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Sanborn Regional School District has been selected as one of six finalists for the Lawrence W. O’Toole Award, a $100,000 Nellie Mae Education Foundation grant. The award is granted to an individual, organization, school, or district that exhibits great leadership through innovation in moving student-centered learning approaches forward in New England.
This is a great honor recognizing the important work Sanborn has done in the PACE pilot project and in making competency based learning real for their student. You can show your support for Sanborn and New Hampshire by voting here. Voting lasts through September 30, and is restricted to one vote per email address. (more…)
In the four states that released results from their annual statewide assessments–Missouri, West Virginia, Oregon, and Washington–students exceeded expectations on the Smarter Balanced Assessment (SBA), reported the Hechinger Report. Experts say that though many factors likely contributed to the results, students are performing better despite the more difficult exam: (more…)
New Hampshire has become a leader in the nation’s education reform efforts, from piloting an innovative assessment program (PACE) to student-centered “extended learning opportunities” where students participate in volunteer work, internships, or independent study in lieu of traditional classroom study. (more…)
The Union Leader reports that the House adopted a variety of education bills this week, many regarding state standards, assessment, and curriculum. Arguing in favor of HB 276, bill sponsor Rep. Rick Ladd said that school boards should be allowed to adopt their own standards, while Rep. Mary Heath pointed out that no current law requires districts to adopt the Common Core standards, leaving them free to choose their own without the help of the bill.
Union Leader coverage of yesterday’s Common Core votes:
NH House votes continued support for common core education standards
CONCORD – The New Hampshire House of Representatives Wednesday killed or set aside for study a series of bills aimed at delaying or terminating the state’s participation in the controversial college and career readiness standards program known common core.
The action on five common core-related bills by the House brought to an end, at least for this session of the Legislature, the continuing emotional debate over the issue.
The House rejected, 201-138, House Bill 1508, which would have terminated state participation in common core. Sixteen Republicans joined 185 Democrats in the majority, while three Democrats joined 135 Republicans on the losing side, in favor of ending the program.
The House Education Committee had recommended that the bill be killed on a vote of 13-6, but Republican common core opponents tried, unsuccessfully, to portray the program as federal government intrusion in local education decisions.
The question will be, how much did we have to compromise on including student testing in teaching evaluations? From Education Week:
Two more states—Alabama and New Hampshire—are about to get waivers from requirements under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, sources say. (Expect an announcement sometime very soon.) That will bring the grand total to … 39 states, plus the District of Columbia. So almost everyone. (But, notably, not big juggernauts California and Texas.)
“Parents, student aid agencies seeking answers…” blared the Union Leader on its front page today, featuring the financial pain inflicted on parents:
The decision means Litchfield mother Kim Nichols won’t be eligible for a scholarship to help pay for her son to attend a Catholic school in Nashua.
Nichols, who pays more than $12,000 in yearly tuition to Bishop Guertin High School, said she was “furious” with the judge’s decision.
The scholarship organization NEO says it has over 1,000 more such applicants. The only surprise is why there aren’t more. The program is meant for public school students, but few have applied. So NEO has been working with religious schools since the law passed a year ago, recruiting parents to apply for the state tuition subsidy. As a result, applications are primarily for kids who are already in religious schools.
Maybe the Union Leader will now do a front page story on how Manchester’s Bakersville Elementary School is successfully reaching hundreds of low income kids today…
The New Hampshire Board of Education and the Department of Education have been moving methodically towards competency based education for years. It’s consistent with the Common Core State Standards being implemented right now in New Hampshire. and a number of schools are well down the road. This Concord Monitor report is a good summary:
The state Board of Education is moving toward competency-based education rather than credit-based, with the goal of more clearly defining what students must know to graduate.
“It’s the right work,” said Concord Superintendent Chris Rath. “I think the clearer we can be with kids about what it is we want them to learn and be able to know and do, the better the results. Kids have to know what the target is to hit it.”
In education, money counts: NH’s top schools often have the lowest amounts of poverty – Nashua Telegraph
This piece is interesting. Danielle Curtis, the Telegraph’s education reporter, made the headlined observation, that our top ranked schools are in our wealthiest communities, as she was scanning the US News and Newsweek rankings. She called me and others to talk it over and you can see the well crafted and accurate result here, on the Telegraph site. This is a large and complex topic but she found a good thread through the issue.
Money isn’t everything.
It’s a phrase that applies to many situations in life, whether it’s a parent explaining why they won’t be buying those brand-name jeans, or a mentor encouraging a new worker to take that entry-level job they’d love.
But when it comes to education, does the saying hold true?
It’s a question that has been tossed around for years, by lawmakers trying to create a balanced budget and by educators lobbying for more funding for schools.
Take a look at the annual rankings of the nation’s top high schools, and other similar awards, and you’ll see that money is, at least, important.
“When you’re in a budget debate, the first statement is always, ‘Schools don’t get better by throwing money at them,’ ” said Bill Duncan, of Advancing New Hampshire Public Education. “But they do, actually, they really do.”
Duncan said that while money is by no means the only factor that plays into a school’s success, the financial support a district receives from its taxpayers and the socioeconomic situation of a school’s students factor into the test scores they see, the number of college-bound students they graduate and resources they can use to aid struggling students.
Kevin Landrigan reported in today’s Nashua Telegraph that Republican operative Charles McGee helped fundraise for the Network for Educational Opportunity. Here’s the document. Notice the hyperbole and national ambitions.
Tax credit ruling
It won’t be too long before Strafford County Superior Court Judge John Lewis rules on the constitutional challenge to the education tax credit.
Even supporters of the credit are pessimistic about their chances of winning the case at this level, but confident the state Supreme Court will uphold the credits as not violating the ban on direct public aid to private or religious schools.
Meanwhile, we’ve learned a prominent Republican operative helped the effort to solicit tax credit donations, at least early on.
Email documents in the lawsuit confirmed that former GOP Executive Director Chuck McGee, a Spectrum Monthly executive, helped the Network for Education Opportunity prepare some of its marketing materials.
It isn’t shocking that New Hampshire Democratic leaders were critical of the group securing the services of McGee, who was convicted of charges for his role in the GOP phone jamming episode on Election Day 2002.
“Did Jeb Bradley and Andy Sanborn know their voucher attack on public schools was a taxpayer-funded payday for former NHGOP executive director and convicted felon Charles McGee when they defended it in the Senate last week?” Democratic Party communications director Harrell Kirstein responded in a statement.
This pitch from NEO also overstated its financial success, maintaining that $1 million in donations had already been committed.
NEO officials confirmed to state tax authorities less than a month ago that only $140,000 in donations had come in. They have maintained publicly that pledges for these tax credits are well in excess of that number, and they will show up before the June 15 deadline.