Manchester school board members voice disapproval of guidelines to State Board of Education

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Ward 1 BOSC Member Julie Turner on April 11, 2024. Photo/Andrew Sylvia

CONCORD, N.H. – As the process of reforming New Hampshire’s public school guidelines continues, several members of the Manchester Board of School Committee (BOSC) seek to voice their disapproval to state-level decision makers.

At their meeting on Monday, the BOSC almost unanimously indicated their disapproval with proposed changes to the ED 306 state administrative rules, which provide a framework on standards for public school districts across the state. With the New Hampshire State Board of Education (SBE) continuing their public hearing with on Thursday, Manchester School District Superintendent Dr. Jenn Gillis and several BOSC members joined several other concerned citizens from across the state to add their comments.

Those comments echoed sentiments shared at the Monday BOSC meeting in Manchester, where there were concerns regarding the weakening of class size requirements, teacher certification requirements and other proposed changes.

Ward 8 BOSC Member Jessica Spillers shared the story of her childhood as a home school student, facing a stigma in college from professors who were uncertain if her educational experience was adequate compared to other students given the stereotype that home school curricula are inconsistent. She told the SBE her fear that colleges may begin to see public school district students in the same light if stringent standards cannot be kept throughout the state.

At-Large BOSC Member Jim O’Connell also expressed concern that the needs of Manchester be taken into account given the diverse student population in the state’s largest city creating needs not seen commonly in other parts of the Granite State.


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Drew Cline on April 11, 2024. Photo/Andrew Sylvia

SBE Chairman Drew Cline told those who provided testimony that all proposed changes are currently in draft form and the SBE is still seeking input, thus the public hearing on Thursday and another one week earlier.

Cline also indicated that the SBE’s goal is to provide less rigid standards that can work within all of the different types of school districts in the state, saying that calling the changes as an attempt at no standards at all as disinformation. Cline added that to date he had not heard research or science-based reasons to support maximum class size standards rather than teacher-to-student ratio standards or why high schools should provide a minimum of 43 classes versus 38 classes.

New Hampshire Department of Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut also noted that the only proposed change regarding certification is changing the word “certification” to “licensure” to reflect recent changes in state law.

Written comment regarding the proposed 306 changes can be emailed until April 30 to Julie Shea at Julie.R.Shea@doe.nh.gov

More information on the 306 change proposals can be found on the Department of Education website.


 

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About this Author

Andrew Sylvia

Assistant EditorManchester Ink Link

Born and raised in the Granite State, Andrew Sylvia has written approximately 10,000 pieces over his career for outlets across Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont. On top of that, he's a licensed notary and licensed to sell property, casualty and life insurance, he's been a USSF trained youth soccer and futsal referee for the past six years and he can name over 60 national flags in under 60 seconds according to that flag game app he has on his phone, which makes sense because he also has a bachelor's degree in geography (like Michael Jordan). He can also type over 100 words a minute on a good day.