Education

Jason Moon for NHPR

After the latest mass shooting at a school in Florida, there's one idea most policy makers seem to agree on: If you see something, say something. But as NHPR's Jason Moon reports, school officials and parents in one New Hampshire town are finding that's a lot more complicated than it might seem.

NHPR Staff

Voters approved an additional $307,153 to the proposed budget for Claremont schools Thursday night.

The amendment will offset a large part of cuts made to the proposed budget in January. Now the operating budget for the schools will be cut by only $22,000 compared to almost $340,000.

The budget will now go to the annual school district vote in March.

Morning Edition Host Rick Ganley spoke with Stevens High School Principal Pat Barry who attended the deliberative session.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The Executive Council voted today to give Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut a raise.

Edelblut's salary will increase from $93,759 a year to $99,928 a year.

Edelblut was confirmed as commissioner one year ago. The Department of Education requested the raise.

The vote came without discussion and fell along party lines, with Republicans voting in favor and Democrats against.

Jason Moon for NHPR

Dozens of parents, and their children, came to the State House Thursday to oppose a bill that would increase oversight for homeschoolers.

New Hampshire’s plan to comply with the Every Student Succeeds Act has been approved by the federal government.

The Every Student Succeeds Act is the federal law that replaced No Child Left Behind in 2015.

ESSA gives states more flexibility to define their own goals and add their own metrics beyond standardized testing.

New Hampshire’s plan, developed by the state Department of Education under Commissioner Frank Edelblut, looks to take advantage of that flexibility.

Jason Moon for NHPR

Some schools around the state will soon be getting security upgrades as lawmakers Friday approved about $10 million in grants for school safety projects.

The money comes from a surplus in last year’s state budget. It will pay for 170 different projects at schools around the state. Most are security upgrades, like improved locks, alarm systems, or surveillance cameras.

Governor Chris Sununu urged lawmakers to approve the funds at a hearing Friday morning.

Jason Moon for NHPR

A controversial school choice bill drew a large crowd at a public hearing before lawmakers Tuesday.

The bill would allow some parents to take their children out of public school and then spend the state tax dollars that would have followed that child on other forms of education, including private school tuition.  

Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig was among those who spoke against the measure.

http://www.goffstown.k12.nh.us/

Homeowners in Goffstown will see an unexpected reduction in their property tax rates this year.

During an audit last month, school officials in Goffstown discovered a series of accounting errors in the school budget that led, over a number of years, to a $10.1 million surplus.

School board members decided Monday night to return that money to taxpayers via a one-time drop in property tax rates. According to the school district’s projections, a $200,000 home in Goffstown could see their tax bill drop by about $1,200.

Jason Moon for NHPR

A bill that would reorganize the Department of Education got the approval of the Senate Education Committee Tuesday.

The bill would rename the department’s divisions and reshuffle some of the responsibilities between them.

It would also give the commissioner more power to make changes in the future, provided the changes are approved by legislators.

Casey McDermott / NHPR

Bhagirath Khatiwada is the new Cultural and Linguistic Competence Coordinator for the New Hampshire Department of Education. That means he's in charge of helping school leadership and teachers engage all students in the classroom, including children of immigrant parents.

Morning Edition Host Rick Ganley spoke with Khatiwada, who himself immigrated to New Hampshire in 2008 from Bhutan.

Mike Ross, UNH

A new scholarship program will help some New Hampshire high schoolers major in STEM fields at UNH.

The program will provide mentorship, scholarship money, and even help finding a job after graduation for 30 high schoolers in Manchester and Dover with academic talent and financial need.

It’s a joint effort by UNH and the National Science Foundation to meet the demand for a skilled workforce in New Hampshire.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The New Hampshire House of Representatives has approved a controversial school choice bill by a vote of 184-162.

Photo Credit woodleywonderworks via Flickr Creative Commons

In an email sent to legislative leaders last week, the New Hampshire Attorney General’s office wrote that Senate Bill 193 is constitutional.

That opinion comes days before the bill is to be voted on by the House of Representatives.

Photo Credit woodleywonderworks via Flickr Creative Commons

A new bill would increase the level of oversight over homeschool students in the state.

Each year, homeschool students in New Hampshire are required to demonstrate their educational progress. They can do that in a lot of different ways, including with a standardized test or an evaluation by a teacher.

Homework
Scott Akerman, Flickr

Several New Hampshire school districts have already issued snow days this month, and there are more come as we head into winter.

As districts have considered different solutions to making up those missed days, there’s been an ongoing debate over the effectiveness of blizzard bags.

Blizzard bags include a full day of assignments, which are either sent home ahead of time or accessed online from home.

401(K) 2012 / Flickr Creative Commons

A school district says its business administrator has resigned over an accounting error that kept millions of dollars from going toward property tax relief.

Goffstown and New Boston school officials in a press release said that an auditor found that since 2011 more than $10 million that could have been used to reduce property taxes was overlooked.

Reaching Higher NH

A new analysis of a controversial school voucher bill says it could cost the state millions of dollars over the next several years.

The bill in question would allow parents to take the state money that normally follows a child to public school, and spend it on other forms of education -- including private schools or home schooling.

University of New Hampshire

Last May, the atmosphere on campus at UNH was tense.

A video showing a confrontation between students about racist stereotypes on Cinco de Mayo went viral. So did images of students wearing blackface. Swastikas and racial slurs started showing up graffitied on campus. Then, sculptures installed to show solidarity for minority students in the midst of all this were vandalized.

The Manchester school board has extended the contract of superintendent Bolgen Vargas.

Vargas took over the leadership of the state’s largest school district just over a year ago, at a time when Manchester schools were facing a budget shortfall and a long term decline in enrollment.

But School Board member Leslie Want says so far he’s handled the challenges well.

“He has a tremendous sense of urgency that we’ve not had in the district for a long time. He’s just not satisfied with the status quo or with putting out the daily fires.”

Thomas Favre-Bulle / Flickr Creative Commons

Nashua schools are struggling with finding enough substitute teachers. School officials say it’s been a daily challenge for the past three years, and Nashua School District is looking at ways to address this issue.

Morning Edition Host Rick Ganley spoke with Superintendent Jahmal Mosley about how the district plans to entice and retain more subs. 

(Editor's note: this transcript has been edited lightly for clarity.)

School officials in Keene are hosting a public forum Wednesday night to discuss later start times for students.

The event is part of a months-long effort by school officials to study the option of starting the school day later in the morning in Keene.

Research has shown benefits for adolescent students in both safety and academic performance.

Robert Malay is superintendent of SAU 29, which includes Keene.

Bryan via Flickr Creative Commons / https://flic.kr/p/5JZsiV

The Exchange spoke with New Hampshire teachers and administrators about competency-based education (CBE), which was adopted by the state board of education more than ten years ago.  Some districts have fully embraced the approach; others are just getting started.  

As our discussion revealed, some parents still have plenty of questions about a system that dispenses with many of the traditional ways of measuring progress and achievement and encourages students to pursue what Superintendent John Freeman of Pittsfield calls "personal pathways." 

Paige Sutherland / NHPR

A statement issued this week by the leader of Phillips Exeter Academy in defense of two deans contradicts a New Hampshire State Police report from 2016. The report alleges two deans had violated a mandatory sex abuse reporting law.

Rockingham County Attorney’s office decided against criminal charges, with deans Melissa Mischke and Arthur Cosgrove now remaining on campus.

Morning Edition Host Rick Ganley spoke with attorney Peter Hutchins about the dropped charges, and sexual harassment reporting at high schools.

Mike Ross, UNH

Local chapters of the ACLU and the NAACP are asking the University of New Hampshire to emphasize issues of racial diversity and equity in the search for the university’s next president.

evmaiden via Flickr Creative Commons

A bill that would allow New Hampshire parents to use state funding to send their children to private schools faces a key vote Tuesday.

The House Education Committee will vote on the controversial bill that’s been the subject of debate among lawmakers and school reform advocates.

Jason Moon for NHPR

A key legislative vote on a controversial school choice bill was postponed today.

For weeks, Republican lawmakers have been working to revamp a sweeping school choice bill that was first proposed last year in the State House.

The bill would allow some families to take their children out of public school and then spend tax dollars that would have gone to that public school on other educational purposes.

jimmywayne / Flickr Creative Commons

A University of New Hampshire alumnus has pledged more than $2 million of his estate to students at the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences, ensuring that several students will receive free tuition every year.

The scholarship from Bob Winot will be awarded to New Hampshire or Vermont students who demonstrate financial need and have a grade point average of 3.0 or higher. It's estimated to benefit as many as four students a year.

Jason Moon for NHPR

A controversial school choice bill faces an important vote before lawmakers tomorrow.

The bill would create a type of school voucher system in the state, where parents could take their children out of their local public school and then spend the tax dollars that would have gone to that public school on other educational purposes, like private school tuition or home school supplies.

The proposal was hotly debated last legislative session and ultimately tabled by lawmakers.

Jason Moon for NHPR

The Manchester School District is planning to dramatically redesign the student experience at one of its high schools.

The details are yet to be worked out, but key concepts of West High's makeover include breaking up the normal school schedule so that students can do more learning outside the classroom, like through internships with local businesses. The plan also calls for every student to receive a personalized learning plan that's tailored to his or her particular needs.

Bolgen Vargas is the Manchester Superintendent of Schools.

evmaiden via Flickr Creative Commons

Debate about a controversial school voucher bill is again heating up.

The bill would create a type of universal school voucher system in the state, where parents could take their children out of public school and then spend the tax dollars that would’ve gone to that public school on other educational purposes. Things like private school tuition or home school supplies.

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