Archives for category: New Hampshire

New Hampshire has divided government. The governor is a Republican, who chooses the State Commissioner. But in the last election in 2018, Democrats won control of the legislature.

The State Commissioner is a home-schooling parent who is hostile to public schools. He comes from the Betsy  DeVos mold.

Speaking of DeVos, she gave New Hampshire $46 million from the federal Charter Schools Program, which is her own $440 million slush fund to promote charters.

If spent, this money would double the number of charters in the state, a dramatic expansion.

But the Legislature used its powers to hold up the grant. They want answers to their questions about how the state’s public schools would be affected, and how the charter expansion would affect the state’s finances.

The pending charter expansion grant – the largest earmarked for any state – aims to double the number of charter schools in New Hampshire over the next five years. It is currently on hold, after Democrats on the Joint Legislative Fiscal Committee cited concerns that building more charter schools would lead to unanticipated costs for the state and harm existing, non-charter public schools. 

Governor Chris Sununu criticized the hold, calling the money a “game-changing grant [that] would have cost New Hampshire taxpayers nothing.”

But an analysis by the public education non-profit Reaching Higher estimated that, because charter schools are typically funded by the state rather than local districts, the state’s plan to expand charters with this grant money could cost the state over $100 million in the next ten years.

Is this a pig in a poke?

 

Betsy DeVos gave New Hampshire $46 million to. Double the number of charter schools.

The state commissioner of education said, illogically, that adding charter schools was a good way to handle declining student enrollment. If that doesn’t make sense, It is because it’s nonsense. Adding new charters is sure to accelerate enrollment declines.

The legislature’s fiscal committee voted on party lines to table the first $10 million, pending a study of the fiscal impact on existing schools.

Since neither Governor Chris Sununu nor State Commissioner Edelblut care about public schools, this is not their concern.

“On Friday, DOE Commissioner Frank Edelblut told the fiscal committee that the money will help districts better serve at-risk students and create schools prepared to deal with New Hampshire’s declining student enrollment.

“[Traditional public schools are] really just trying to tread water with the funding they have.” Edelblut said. “This allows us to invest in that community so that they can find a way to modify the instructional model that can allow them to manage that continuing decline that we know will continue into the future.”

”New Hampshire was awarded the largest grant of this kind in the country. In its application, the N.H. DOE emphasized the needs of at-risk and disadvantaged students and identified a group of “high-quality charter schools” that could serve as a template for the new schools.

”However, of the seven schools listed, the majority of them have far fewer economically disadvantaged students enrolled than traditional public schools do in that same district. Most also have fewer students with special education plans and students who are English language learners.”

The usual lies meant to advance privatization by rightwing extremists.

Betsy DeVos is using the federal Charter Schools Program as her personal slush fund. She recently dumped $46 million into New Hampshire in hopes of doubling the number of charters schools in that small state. The Governor Chris Sununu is a rightwing school choice zealot. The State Commissioner of Education Frank Edelblut homeschooled his children and is eager to eliminate public schools. The legislature was captured by Democrats in 2018. Time to stop the privatization of public money now!

The Network for Public Education Action urges you to speak out now on behalf of your community public schools and stop privatization. 

Urgent: Stop Charter Expansion in New Hampshire

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New Hampshire’s Republican Governor, Chris Sununu (his father John Sununu was Chief of staff to President George H.W. Bush), appointed a man who homeschooled his children to be State Commissioner of Education. Commissioner Frank Edelblut has dedicated his time in office to undermining public schools. His big idea is called “Learn Everywhere,” which would allow the State Board of education to allow graduation credits for anything they wished, whether it was for-profit, or commercial, or lessons with Miss Sally, or anything else. Local school boards now have that authority, and they rightly complained that Learn Anywhere infringed on their realm.

Edelblut wants to put public schools out of business by allowing anything and everything to count for credit.

He is the Betsy DeVos of New Hampshire.

But Democrats in the legislature threw a big obstacle in front of Edelblut’s plan.

Lawmakers on New Hampshire’s legislative rules committee voted Thursday to reject the proposed “Learn Everywhere” program from the state’s Department of Education, in the latest blow to a months-long effort by Commissioner Frank Edelblut. 

In a 6-4 vote led by Democrats on party lines, members of the Joint Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules voted to issue a final objection to the proposed rule change. 

But the action doesn’t kill the program for good. Under state law, the Department of Education can proceed with the rules over the objections of lawmakers. Doing that, though, would be risky. The department would assume all liability in the case of legal action, according to lawyers for the state’s Office of Legislative Services on Thursday.

If the citizens of NewHampshire want to save their public schools and prevent massive fraud with their tax monies, they have to replace Governor Sununu when he runs again and insist that the new governor put an educator in charge of the State Education Department.

 

 

Perhaps Betsy DeVos knows that the Trump administration’s days in power are winding down. She is throwing $46 million in federal money at New Hampshire in an effort to destroy the state’s public schools. This grant will double the number of charter schools in the state. Most of the state is rural or small towns. The largest city in the state is Manchester, with a population of about 100,000, with 14,000 students.

The Congressional delegation and legislature are Democrats but the Governor Chris Sununu is a conservative Republican who appoints the State Board of Education and the state commissioner of education. The latter, Frank Edelblut, homeschooled his seven children. Edelblut has proposed a program called “Learn Everywhere,” which would compel districts to pay for programs offered by for-profit or non-profit non-school providers. Edelblut has a vision of deschooling or unschooling, disestablishing public schools. He is like Betsy DeVos, only worse. Governor Sununu’s State Board narrowly approved ”Learn Everywhere.” Edelblut says public schools will “save money,” because they will cut programs and lay off teachers. Public money will flow to private providers and there will be less for public schools. He likes that. A state legislative committee is trying to block Learn Everywhere, saying that the state can’t tell districts how to spend money.

DeVos is helping Edelblut undermine the NH public schools.

The New Hampshire Department of Education is getting $46 million from the federal government to expand public charter schools over the next five years.

The DOE says it will use the money to help new charter schools with start-up costs and increase professional development for charter school staff.

Charter schools have been slow to grow in New Hampshire. Over the past 15 years, the State Board of Education has approved 33 charters, and 28 schools are now operating. With this new grant, the DOE says it plans to add 27 new schools over the next five years, with a particular focus on serving poor and at-risk students.

The grant money will be used to help schools with start-up costs, rather than ongoing operational costs, which are covered by a combination of state funding and external fundraising.

The state has no income tax or sales tax, which means schools are funded by property taxes. The property owners will bear the cost of two separate school systems, even if they would rather support their community public schools.

Meanwhile, folks in New Hampshire have some questions about who will pay for the charters after the federal start-up money is spent. They point out that the state’s few ”high quality” charters do not enroll many students eligible for free-reduced price lunch (i.e., low-income.) Commissioner Edelblut is thrilled with the chance to defund public schools.

No Democrat should support charter schools. They are an integral component of the rightwing effort to privatize public funding.

Peter Greene writes here about one of the worst education ideas of the decade, an idea so bad that only Betsy DeVos and Jeb Bush could like it: He calls it “Learning Everywhere.” That translates into “Learning everywhere except in a public school.”

Here is the most important thing to know about the state commissioner of education: All of his children were home-schooled.

Frank Edelblut was a businessman, venture capitalist, and one-term NH state representative before he decided to run for the governor’s seat. He was beaten in the primary by Chris Sununu, son of former NH governor and Bush I White House Chief of Staff John Sununu (full disclosure: my grandmother was a NH GOP representative for decades, including under John Sununu, and she did not have a very high opinion of him). Edelblut gracefully conceded and publicly supported Sununu, who then appointed Edelblut to the top education job, despite Edelblut’s complete lack of anything remotely resembling education experience.

All of Edelblut’s children were home schooled. As a legislator, he backed vouchers and as a candidate he backed personalized [sic] learning. [Governor] Sununu said that the homeschooling was a plus because it meant Edelblut understood alternative methods of education.

What is “Learning Everywhere”?

Back in the 1960s, this approach was called “deschooling,” and it was associated with Ivan Illich. But now it is gussied up, and it is simply outsourcing.

Think of it as homeschooling on a statewide scale.

Learn Everywhere is a proposal to allow students to replace public school courses with coursework offered by private and nonprofit organizations. It is a mechanism for outsourcing public education…

The overall approach is similar to what we’ve seen with micro-credentials, but it keeps the framework of the public school credits. You attend a course or program that has been approved by the state DOE, and upon completion, you get a certificate that you present to your home school for course credit.

There are a variety of issues here, and the department, to its credit, anticipates most of them.

Time issues? You could duplicate classes, such as taking an outsourced drama class and also your school’s drama class, but if the outside class is cutting into homework time, drop the school course and take a study hall. The site does not address what happens is you take so many outside courses that your day is mostly study halls. Can you just stop attending public school entirely?

Funding and Equity? Part of what makes this saleable is that it doesn’t take a cent from public schools at this time; the families are responsible for paying for the outside courses. This in turn raises another question– Edelblut is selling this, hard, on the notion that it will solve the equity problems of public schools and help raise up struggling students, but if the families have to pay for the courses, that would seem to lock poor students out of Learn Everywhere, which would seem to be the opposite of what Edelblut is advertising. The website addresses this issue with a resounding, “Well, we don’t know.” Some of these programs might be free. Businesses might want to pay to send students to programs that would be useful for that business. Families that can’t afford full tuition at a Philips Exeter might be able to afford one course.

In other words, all of Edelblut’s talk about how this program will close the opportunity gap and increase equity in New Hampshire is pretty much bullshit.

Greene suggests that if you live in New Hampshire, you might consider calling a member of the state board of education, which will be considering this goofy proposal on June 13.

 

 

 

 

In the last election, Democrats won the legislature in New Hampshire.

They hope to eliminate vouchers. 

An obstacle: the Governor, Chris Sununu, is a rockribbed Republican.

Jeb Bush wrote a congratulatory post to his buddy Chris Sununu (whose father was chief of staff to President George H.W. Bush). Chris Sununu just was re-elected Governor of New Hampshire. During his first term, he pushed for vouchers, but they got stalled when the Republican-controlled House voted them down.

Jeb urges Sununu to keep going with the fight for public funding of religious and private schools.

But, sorry, too late. The Democrats in New Hampshire swept both houses of the Legislature. No vouchers this year!

New Hampshire voters are independent. They don’t take marching orders from Betsy DeVos or Jeb Bush or the Koch brothers.

If you live in New Hampshire, please support public education by voting for Molly Kelly for Governor.

Chris Sununu is a clone of Betsy DeVos. Maybe they were separated at birth.

He wants to finance charter schools and vouchers, at the e Penske of your public schools.

Sununu appointed a home-schooling businessman to Commissioner of Education.

He has supported ALEC model legislation to introduce vouchers.

He signed a bill to take away the voting rights of out-of-state college students.

Teacher-voters need to turn out in force to flip the legislature and vote Kelly into office.

It can be a new day in New Hampshire, but only if you VOTE.

Tom Loughman writes here about the harmful impact of vouchers, which were recently defeated by a slim margin in the state legislature.

He writes:

“When I was a little boy, we lost my father to cancer. Not long after, my family lost everything else too and we struggled to make ends meet. We were always thinking about getting through the week and end of the month. But for all its challenges, my childhood taught me empathy, grit, and drive; drive to make a better life for myself. I knew I only needed the opportunity.

“That opportunity came in the form of a public education. The one thing we never had to worry about was whether I would get a great education and a hot lunch at school. I made the most it and have made a better life for my family.

“As a parent now, I followed closely the efforts of New Hampshire Republicans to pass Senate Bill 193, which would establish one of the most comprehensive school voucher programs in the country. It would siphon money from our public schools and divert them to private, religious and home schools.

“Fiscally responsible constituents would be alarmed at the financial implications of the school voucher bill. According to the legislative staff, it would have siphoned off $100 million over the first 11 years from public schools to send 2,000 children to private, religious and home schools. As expensive as that is, Sen. Dan Innis voted for a far more sweeping version twice, which would more than double those costs.

“You can imagine the impact: a reduction in public school quality and big increase in local property taxes. Despite all that spending to privatize more of our education system, there is no anticipated improvement in achievement. According to studies like the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education, private schools were not better than public in producing higher achievement.

“The bottom line is that the school voucher bill significantly increases the costs of education in New Hampshire and puts the burden on local property taxpayers. Don’t take my word for it; take Republican fiscal hawk and House Finance Chairman Neil Kurk’s who said, “this bill downshifts $99 million to local property tax payers in ways that they will not be able to avoid by reducing expenses. I was not elected to downshift money on my constituents.” A few Republicans stood with him and House Democrats to defeat the bill by a slim margin. Fiscal responsibility prevailed.

“Sen. Innis and his colleagues have pledged to try again. Innis said in a recent op-ed that he believes in school choice for all New Hampshire children. However, the vouchers would not cover the full cost of private school tuitions. Therefore, the only families that can take advantage of these vouchers and attend private schools would be people who can afford a few thousand dollars difference between the voucher and tuition.

“The results of this voucher bill are entirely predictable. Children from families who can afford private education could pay less by applying a voucher to their tuition bill. Children from families who cannot afford to pay thousands will remain in public schools that would now face budget shortfalls. It’s actually even worse because private schools can deny admissions to students with disabilities, excluding them entirely from the “choices” vouchers give their fellow students. That makes education opportunity less equal.

“These reverse Robin Hood policies of taking resources and opportunities from lower income families to give to wealthier ones is a non-starter. The high costs of living on the Seacoast are already impacting our seniors, working families and small businesses. New Hampshire Republicans should stop pushing a radical bill that would significantly increase our spending, raise property taxes, and hurt our public schools.

“We are proud of our public schools. On the Seacoast, they are without a doubt, one of the best draws we have to attracting working families to live and work here. I believe Sen. Innis’ support for defunding them and prompting tax increases is an untenable position to hold as our senator. It does not reflect our values or interests.”