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As 'Learn Everywhere' Plan Hits Stumbling Block, N.H. Ed Chief Holds Out Hope

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Annie Ropeik / NHPR
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N.H. Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut testified Thursday in support of the "Learn Everywhere" plan.

Legislators filed a preliminary objection Thursday to the New Hampshire Department of Education's new Learn Everywhere program. 

The program would tell school districts to offer high schoolers graduation credits from outside extracurricular activities. 

The program has support from the governor and the state Board of Education. Thursday's hearing was on the rules to implement it.

The state's Joint Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules objection was along party lines.

 

Dozens of opponents came to argue the program will undermine local control and hurt students who can't access extracurricular activities outside of school.

Claudia Damon is a former chair of the Concord School Board. "It raises a lot of inequities because kids who can't afford to pay for these extra programs can't benefit from them," she said outside the committee hearing.

 

But Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut says students aren't forced to use the program.

 

"So there's not a 'force' in that sense," he said. "It's an enabling, is what it is." 

 

Edelblut argues the program's proposed rules meet his department's mandate to collaborate with local districts.

 

Lawmakers on the rules committee weren't so sure. They approved a preliminary objection to the program along party lines. 

 

The Department of Education has 45 days to respond.

 

Annie has covered the environment, energy, climate change and the Seacoast region for NHPR since 2017. She leads the newsroom's climate reporting project, By Degrees.

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