High schools in New Hampshire are now required to grant credit for alternative programs approved by the state board of education or a local school board. The program, called 'Learn Everywhere,' has been the subject of heated debate for over a year.
Supporters say the program will give families more control over their education by allowing students to earn credits towards their high school diploma through extracurriculars ranging from robotics club to dance class.
“I am excited because particularly in the time of a pandemic, where we are recognizing the importance of a flexible and nimble education system to bring opportunities to all of our students, this is a tool that will be available to our schools; it’s a tool available to our families and students,” said Department of Education Commissioner Frank Edeblut during a discussion of the final rules by the state board of education on Thursday.
Opponents - including many Democrats and school leaders - say it undermines public schools' standards and school boards' local control.
“It remains that the vast majority of the comments that we got over a long period of time, particularly from districts and educators, was not in favor of these rules,” said board member Helen Honorow.
The initial vote on Thursday was a 3-3 tie, with chairman Andrew Cline abstaining, but Ann Lane, who has voted for Learn Everywhere in the past, changed her vote in favor of the rules after Cline asked for clarification. The final vote was 4-2.
With the adoption of Learn Everywhere rules, organizations and businesses that want to offer programs for high school credit can now apply for approval from the state board of education or a local school board.