Groups Call for Halt to Revisions of NH Public School Standards
Wednesday, December 14, 2022
Public school advocates in New Hampshire are asking state officials to stop the current revisions being made to public education standards so parents and others can weigh in.
Education officials are redrafting what are known as the '306 Rules,' which set the minimum standards for everything public school-related - from classroom curriculum to what kids eat in the cafeteria.
Sarah Robinson, Education Justice Campaign director for the group Granite State Progress, said a draft document of revisions so far reveals programs are being gutted and standards watered down.
"As a parent of two children in the public school system," said Robinson, "I have zero opportunity to be a part of, or at least understand, what's being said or what ideas are being shared in this current process."
Changes to definitions and terminology could broaden what classifies as a "public school."
Robinson said that benefits those lawmakers who are already working to redirect public school funds to private and home schools, through the state's expansion of Education Freedom Accounts.
The state's education commissioner has said the revisions are "a work in progress."
Revisions to the 306 Rules take place every ten years, and the next ones aren't due until 2024.
Backers of the public school system are questioning why state officials are pushing for the revisions now - and why the state offered a sole-source contract to the firm conducting the revision process.
Zack Sheehan - project director for the NH School Funding Fairness Project - said rule changes could also gut definitions of state funding for public schools, and allow for more outsourcing to private companies.
"A lot of work being done to provide alternatives, where it's pretty questionable whether alternatives are actually needed or wanted" said Sheehan. "When that could be directed towards actually funding what is, by and large, a very good public school system."
While the groups await a response from state education officials, legislation has been drafted for the upcoming session to not only restart the revision process, but ensure greater input from education experts and members of the public.
Proposed standards could remove student protections, strip local control, and open door to 'unbundling' of public schools Reaching Higher NH 9/2/22
Requested Action: Authorize ...to enter into a sole source contract with the National Center for Competency-Based Learning... NH Department of Education, et al 9/25/20
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