Advancing New Hampshire Public Education

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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.

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In classrooms, the debate over standards is settled – Opinion, Concord Monitor

The Common Core is an outdated political marker at this point but it is still part of the government-schools-have-failed-so-we-need-school-choice debate so it is worth reviewing a sample of the strong support the State Board of Education has heard for the standards in recent months.  Here’s a November 8th oped about that from Bill Duncan in the Concord Monitor:

The New Hampshire State Board of Education, with seven members appointed by the governor, has always been important work, hearing appeals from local boards, writing the rules to implement statutes, establishing academic standards. But since Gov. Chris Sununu’s election, the state board has become a central forum for the debate about New Hampshire public schools.

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Dover speaks out for neighborhood schools: “No on vouchers”

The House Education Committee is scheduled to vote on SB 193, the voucher bill on Tuesday, November 14 at 10:00 in Legislative Office Building 206-208.  Although the bill will go to the full House in the upcoming legislature no matter what, this vote is an important test.
The Dover School District and the Dover City Council have written a letter and Dover Superintendent of Schools William Hebron has written his own letter to the New Hampshire House Education Committee opposing SB 193, the voucher bill.
Both letters are strong and eloquent.  Here are excerpts.

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NH Department of Education turns its charter school program officer into a school choice lobbist

Sen. Dan Feltes sponsored a 2016 bill establishing a much needed “charter school program officer” in the department of education and worked diligently with others to fund it in 2017.

Now the department has issued its position announcement.  Here is the announcement itself.  (more…)

SB 193 punishes schools that we should be helping

Governor Sununu announced his support for SB 193 yesterday, conditioned upon limiting the students who would qualify.  From the Concord Monitor coverage:

The amendment championed by Sununu would narrow that range to four categories, Ladd explained at the event: those in families with income at or below 300 percent of the household poverty level; those in underperforming schools; those in an individualized education program; and those who have unsuccessfully applied for tuition assistance at a charter school lottery.

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SB 193: Analysis of Potential Impact on Tax Rates in Rural New Hampshire – Reaching Higher NH

Reaching Higher NH has released a new analysis showing that the potential impact of SB 193, the voucher bill, on local property tax rates in rural communities could be substantial.

Our analysis shows that rural or property-poor municipalities would be disproportionately impacted by SB 193. Berlin for example, would need to raise local taxes by $0.12 (per $1,000 in equalized valuation) in order to compensate for the loss of state aid should approximately 1% of its students choose a voucher; Moultonborough, in contrast, would only need to raise its local taxes by $0.01 to compensate for 1% of its students choosing a voucher.

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.

When activists target local school boards for disruption, it works!

The towns of Northwood, Nottingham and Strafford, comprising SAU 44, are losing their successful four year superintendent as a result of a concerted effort by one school board member in one member district.  Northwood school board member Tim Jandebeur, working closely with the Northwood Taxpayers Forum, created an atmosphere that the superintendent felt made it impossible for him to continue.  Here’s how the Union Leader described it: (more…)

SB 193, the voucher bill, will come back looking pretty much as it did in the 2017 legislative session

SB 193 would create a universal voucher program under which the State would take the adequacy funding that would have gone to a school and grant it, minus 5% administrative cost, to any student who’d been in school for a year (plus any kindergarten and first grade student) to use toward private or home school expenses.  Here is the SB 193 coverage provided by Reaching Higher NH.

As a Reaching Higher NH analysis has shown, there is no upper limit on how much this program could cost New Hampshire school districts.  The Union Leader coverage of that analysis identified some of the initial arguments on both sides of the question of the financial impact of SB 193: (more…)

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:

Highlights

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…)