Education | New Hampshire Public Radio


Dan Tuohy / NHPR

New Hampshire's largest school district could become the latest to publicly oppose a controversial bill that would deny state funding to any businesses, schools, or organizations that spread “divisive concepts” about racism and sexism.

State House dome
Dan Tuohy

New Hampshire's high school Career and Technical Education centers will have more flexibility in hiring under a bill signed by Gov. Chris Sununu.

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

A group of New Hampshire mayors, city councilors, and school board members are urging state budget writers to overhaul how the state funds public education.

Schools got a temporary funding boost after high-profile negotiations last budget cycle, and they’re eligible this year for an unprecedented amount of federal money through the three COVID-related relief packages. But longstanding issues with the state’s school funding formula remain.

Oyster River High School in Durham.
Dan Tuohy / NHPR

The Oyster River School District is the first district in the state to sign onto a public letter opposing House Bill 544.

The bill would deny state funding to any businesses, schools, or organizations that spread “divisive concepts,” including teaching about systemic racism and sexism and holding certain kinds of diversity and anti-racism trainings.

N.H. State House dome.
Allegra Boverman for NHPR

New Hampshire lawmakers are considering a program to expand school choice for thousands of K-12 students. It’s called an Education Savings Account, and it would give taxpayer dollars to families to pay for tuition at private and parochial schools, or other options.

If passed, it would be one of the most sweeping programs of its kind in the country. Here’s what you need to know about it.

Dan Tuohy for NHPR

New Hampshire spends more money per pupil on public schools than most states, but is average when it comes to teacher salaries.

Courtesy of Melinda Shofner

As of this week, nearly all schools in New Hampshire have fully reopened. Until now, it’s been a patchwork of different reopening plans, depending on the district. And for the Scopel Shofner family, in Barrington, it’s been a complicated year: the parents work at two different high schools, while their two kids go to other schools — each with a different approach to the pandemic. I checked in with that family via Zoom last night.

Dan Tuohy for NHPR

The New Hampshire Department of Education says it has granted seven waivers to schools that say they can't meet Governor Sununu's deadline of reopening fully next Monday.

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

COVID-19 cases among school-age children in New Hampshire are on the rise, with kids under the age of nineteen now making up a quarter of new daily cases.

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

Some school districts say they need more time to fully reopen than they have under the April 19 deadline Gov. Chris Sununu has set. They point to teacher vaccination timelines, understaffing, and inability to social distance on buses and in some classrooms as the major hurtles to a full return.

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

A year ago, New Hampshire schools shut down for what many thought would just be three weeks. Now, schools across the state are reopening fully. NHPR's Sarah Gibson visited Deerfield Community School, where teachers and students have been spending a lot of the pandemic outside. And as they return, many are hoping that doesn’t change.

A vaccination site in Dover, New Hampshire.
Sarah Gibson/NHPR

New Hampshire residents who work as teachers in nearby states say they're having a hard time getting vaccinated, despite New England's efforts to give shots to educators.

Sarah Gibson | NHPR

On Tuesday, the Manchester, New Hampshire School District announced tentative plans to expand in-person classes from two days a week to four, starting in May. And at Manchester West High School in Manchester, that experiment is well underway.

For over a month, staff there have been encouraging students who are learning English as a second language and others needing extra help to come in four days a week.

And getting students re-engaged a year into the pandemic is a massive effort.

Voter in Exeter, New Hampshire
Todd Bookman / NHPR

Voters across New Hampshire are choosing school board members today, and in some towns the election has come down to one issue: school reopening.

That’s the case for many residents in SAU 16, which serves Exeter, Brentwood, Kensington, East Kingston, Newfields, and Stratham.

Board chair Helen Joyce, of Stratham, says this is the first time in nine years that someone has run against her. Other historically easy races now have multiple candidates, she says.

COVID vaccine shot
NH National Guard

New Hampshire will start vaccinating teachers and school staff on March 12, Gov. Chris Sununu announced at a press conference on Thursday.

Sununu says the first of these vaccines will be available to school districts on March 12 through regional public health networks. Those who do not have access to these clinics can make appointments directly through the state registration site, starting March 17, for appointments starting March 22.

McKenzie Snow
Via LinkedIn

A former official in the Trump administration and advocate for school choice is expected to take on a significant role at the New Hampshire Department of Education, pending a vote in the Executive Council this week.

Cheryl Senter / NHPR

The New Hampshire Department of Corrections says that in order to comply with Gov. Chris Sununu's proposed budget, it would have to cut rehabilitative and educational programs that serve hundreds of inmates every year.

In a presentation to lawmakers this week, DOC Commissioner Helen Hanks said the state is looking at closing the Shea Farm Transitional Housing Unit for women in Concord and the Calumet Transitional Housing Unit for men in Manchester. These halfway houses currently serve around fifty inmates who typically are working in the community and awaiting parole hearings.  

State House of New Hampshire
Dan Tuohy / NHPR

Lawmakers in the New Hampshire State House are considering several bills aimed at protecting students' free speech and curtailing what their sponsors see as liberal political bias in schools.

House Bill 234 would establish rules for protecting First Amendment rights of students and speakers on campus.

photo of sign saying this stairwell is up only
Sarah Gibson/NHPR

While nearly all school districts in the state are offering in-person learning or a hybrid model, where students take classes in-person some days and at home others, Gov. Chris Sununu has ordered the remaining districts still in a fully-remote model to switch to at least some in-person learning.

Couresty of Bishop Guertin

Students at Bishop Guertin High School got a chance to speak to an astronaut in outer space on Friday. The project was the culmination of over a year of preparation by students at the Nashua private school to connect, via amateur radio, to the International Space Station.

Courtesy of Demetrios Tsaros

New Hampshire schools are trying to keep track of kids learning remotely. And if students are chronically absent, the school has a few options: Call the parents. Send a school employee to knock on their door.

Or, call the state’s Child Protection Services.

That option is becoming more popular as the pandemic drags on.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

Schools in northeastern Vermont and northern New Hampshire are finalizing plans to create what organizers hope will become the third interstate school district between the two states.

The New Hampshire Executive Council has confirmed Nashua businessman Ryan Terrell to the state Board of Education.

The vote, which fell along party lines, was a reversal of Terrell’s previous effort to join the Board.

State lawmakers heard hours of testimony Tuesday on a bill that would significantly expand access and funding for school choice in New Hampshire.

Dan Tuohy for NHPR

A group of mayors and school board chairmen from across New Hampshire are calling on Governor Chris Sununu, Department of Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut, and Republican leaders in the State House to help address budget shortfalls for public schools.

Dan Tuohy for NHPR

The New Hampshire Department of Education is partnering with a new online program to offer free tutoring to high school students.

Flickr/Ivan Radic

Far fewer young children are attending public kindergarten and preschool programs this year, according to recently released data from the New Hampshire Department of Education. The decline is part of a state-wide trend of decreased public school enrollment during the pandemic that is most dramatic among younger grades.

Dan Tuohy for NHPR

Most of New Hampshire's biggest school districts have gone largely remote, as coronavirus cases continue to rise.

Of the state's fifteen largest districts, the majority were in virtual instruction at some point this December.

New Hampshire State House photo
Allegra Boverman for NHPR

New Hampshire lawmakers have approved a federal grant aimed at increasing the number of public charter schools in the state and helping existing ones expand.

The grant has been at the center of a fierce partisan debate for a year and was repeatedly blocked by State House Democrats, who cited concerns about the long-term sustainability of publicly-funded charter schools.

Study Finds N.H. Schools Lack Policy Protections For Transgender Students

Dec 10, 2020

Most Granite State schools don’t have policy protections in place for transgender students, leaving them alone to “advocate for themselves,” according to a new report by the ACLU of New Hampshire.