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An eloquent reminder of good things happening in our public schools

Sometimes it feels as if public education is under siege.  Lately the education news has been mostly about reductions in school funding and the Education Commissioner’s latest privatization effort, Learn Everywhere.  But it’s important to stop now and then and celebrate all the good things happening in our public schools.  A recent column in the Concord Monitor, by former teacher-of-the-year Heidi Crumrine, did just that.  


Scott Marion reads the “Save Our Summers Study Commission” report for us. He’s not buyin’ it.

People may know of the governor’s effort to mandate that schools start only after Labor Day but be only dimly aware of the Save Our Summers Study Commission he has empaneled to make the case for him.  But they have issued a report and Scott Marion, an education researcher and Rye school board member, has actually read it.  He gives his analysis in a letter to the Portsmouth Herald.  Here’s his thesis:

Would adjusting the school calendar by a few days really bring to a windfall of money to New Hampshire? The story in last week’s Herald and the recent editorial describing the Governor’s “Save our Summers” commission report made it sound that way. Given this alleged great news, I read the full report, but came away with three major questions:

-*- The report and the editorial never mentioned what’s best for kids. Shouldn’t this be the primary purpose of any major change we make to our educational system?

-*- Are the logic and analyses of the report trustworthy?

-*- Isn’t the “Live Free and Die” State all about local control?


Mary Wilke in the Concord Monitor: Fair education funding will solve ‘ZIP code problem’

In her oped for today’s Concord Monitor, Mary Wilke points out that voucher proposals, viewed alongside other education funding proposals, do not hold up to scrutiny.

John Adams said, “There should not be a district of one mile square without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves.”

If you agree with our Founding Fathers that a vibrant democracy depends on a strong public education system, then please take notice: Our public schools are under attack. Gov. Chris Sununu, Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut and their legislative allies are gearing up to ram another school voucher bill through the next legislative session.


Do we have the education leadership we need in New Hampshire?

What do you do with a Commissioner who talks about our schools only in terms of failure and whose education strategy for the future is private school vouchers?

Leading a large education system is a complex undertaking. It takes real…well…leadership. Is there another Commissioner in the country with such a rhetoric of failure? An education leader would normally convene parents and educators seeking engagement around a vision for what is possible. If math achievement is low, what’s our strategy? If our schools could do more to reach students with special needs, how do we support their efforts to do that? (more…)

NH Sheriff: Early childhood education can curb crime and help communities prosper

In an opinion piece in the Concord Monitor, Merrimack County Sheriff Scott Hilliard advocates for early childhood education, citing evidence that early support ultimately helps curb teen pregnancy, crime, and even drug use–a growing problem in the Granite State: (more…)

Op-Ed: State Board of Education Chairman Tom Raffio Reviews Standards, Testing Policy

In an op-ed in the Concord Monitor today (here is a full version with links to the statutes discussed), Chairman of the NH State Board of Education and CEO of Northeast Delta Dental Tom Raffio reviewed the State Board’s role in education policy and setting education standards. Fundamentally, Mr. Raffio reminds us that “[i]t may seem at times as if the State Board of Education and the Department of Education create policy. We do not. We implement the policies passed by our Legislature.”

With so much misinformation circulating about education standards and assessments, Mr. Raffio sets the record straight: state standards and accompanying tests have been in place in New Hampshire since the early 1990s. State law requires educational standards, while specifically emphasizing the importance of local control in meeting those standards.

Raffio clarifies a number of other hot-button education issues. On opting-out, Raffio reminds us that while no one likes standardized tests, they’re simply a part of life–from getting a driver’s license to going to college to joining the military. They also give parents and teacher valuable information about student progress, and help add accountability to our schools.

Read Raffio’s full op-ed here.

Bill Walker accuses DOE of bullying in UL column, but gets it wrong

Bill Walker, a member of the Republican County Committee in Sullivan County, accused the Department of Education of “bullying” Croydon students in his Union Leader “Another View” column, when in fact, they are merely enforcing the law. (more…)

The Valley News gets it about the Common Core

The Valley News published a well-informed editorial on the Common Core today, possibly called to action by Hypertherm’s Barbara Couch in her Sunday oped.  Here are some highlights:

The New Hampshire House spared the Common Core state education standards last week, but not before hearing from some lawmakers eager to amend or abolish them. Rep. Laura Jones, R-Rochester, said the standards promote mediocrity in the classroom. Rep. Ralph Boehm, R-Litchfield, objected to the mandate imposing them. And Rep. Patrick Bick, R-Salem, was pretty sure they represent a federal takeover of local education.

These legislators are long on fears but short on facts….

The Common Core comes to life at Hypertherm – Barbara Couch in the Valley News

UPDATE: Other versions of Barbara Couch’s oped have appeared in the Union Leader and here in the New Hampshire Business Review.

Started in Dick and Barbara Couch’s garage 40 years ago, Hypertherm is an iconic New Hampshire employer.  Not only does the company provide great jobs in the Upper Valley but everywhere you look Hypertherm is a force for good in the State. Reading and mentoring elementary school students, housing the homeless, helping families of children treated at  Dartmouth Hitchcock, serving on the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation and many other boards, the Couches and their company are deeply imbedded in New Hampshire life and committed to the State’s children. (more…)

NEA-NH president Scott McGilvary: No need to delay new school tests in New Hampshire – Concord Monitor

Political opponents of the Common Core frequently misquote the teachers’ unions’ position on the Common Core and the test.  Here, in today’s Concord Monitor, National Education Association – New Hampshire president Scott McGilvray leaves no room for misunderstanding: (more…)