Wayne Gersen was a school superintendent in New Hampshire for 11 years. He was appalled to learn that the new Republican governor, Chris Sununu, appointed a completely inexperienced businessman, who home-schooled his own seven children,  as the state’s next education commissioner.


The only way to block this appointment is by vote of the state’s five-person Executive Council, three of whom are Republicans. If even one of them is a public school parent or graduate, there is a chance of stopping this unqualified nominee.


This is a portion of the letter that Gersen wrote to the Executive Council members.


“I am writing to express by unequivocal opposition to the appointment of Frank Edelblut as Commissioner of Education. As a former NH Public School Superintendent of 11 years (SAU 16 from 1983-87; SAU 70 from 2004-2011), a Superintendent with 18 additional years of experience in other States, and one who has worked as a consultant for the past six years in Vermont and New Hampshire, I have a great understanding of and great appreciation for the work performed by a chief school officer in a state. I also know that overseeing a state department of education requires an in depth knowledge of how public schools are governed, how they are managed, and the challenges employees in public schools face. It is evident from what I have read about Mr. Edelblut that he possesses no knowledge of the workings of public schools. Mr. Edelblut asserts that his skills as a private businessman are transferable to overseeing a complex public agency. The experience of other businessmen with no public sector experience who take over schools shows otherwise. Mr. Edelblut also asserts that his experience as a CEO provides him with an understanding of “what kids need to be successful”. While he may know what a HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATE needs to be successful IN HIS BUSINESS, I do not believe that gives him any sense of what a Kindergartner needs to be successful in Colebrook, Concord, or Contoocook.


“Most troubling to me is his lack of experience in dealing with public schools as a parent. If Mr. Edelblut was a successful businessman who ALSO served on his local school board, or who attended his child’s PTA meetings or back to school nights, or who had any children who attended public school I might be open to an assertion that he has some sense of the challenges of public schools. The fact that he chose to homeschool his children instead of working with his local school board or local principal or his child’s teacher experience speaks volumes about his commitment to the cause of improving schools. Parents who are engaged in public education soon gain an appreciation for the hard work required to educate all children and find ways to improve their local schools through teamwork.”


If any readers live in New Hampshire, please express your opposition to this absurd nomination. If you don’t live in New Hampshire, contact the governor’s office to let him know that this appointment makes New Hampshire a laughing stock and undermines the hard work of the state’s educators and its students.


With appointments like Betsy DeVos and this unqualified nominee in New Hampshire, our nation is not only showing disrespect for public education, but hurtling back to the early nineteenth century, when children went to religious schools, charity schools, charter schools, were homeschooled, or were without any education. Rushing backward two centuries will not prepare our children to live in the 21st century.