What exactly does the Commissioner of Education do? Here’s a brief overview from the Concord Monitor:
“The commissioner has to establish some kind of vision for the education of students statewide,” said Lyonel Tracy, a former education commissioner under Gov. John Lynch.
The commissioner serves a four-year term, managing an agency of almost 300 staffers that oversees a roughly $1.3 billion budget, including aid doled out to local districts. Education represents about a quarter of the state’s spending.
The department calculates the aid local districts get, makes sure federal grants are used properly, oversees annual statewide testing and licenses educators. It’s also tasked with overseeing Performance Assessment of Competency Education, or PACE, a first-in-the-nation pilot program aimed at reducing testing while still meeting federal accountability standards. And it will also have to shepherd the state through the implementation of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA, which replaced No Child Left Behind.
The commissioner also serves as a mentor to New Hampshire’s superintendents, keeping them apprised of changes to federal and state laws as well as new trends in education research, said Carl Ladd, the director of the New Hampshire School Administrators Association.
But more than anything, the commissioner ultimately reflects where education in the state is supposed to go.
“The commissioner is really the person who sets the tone and articulates the vision of where public education is going in the future,” Ladd said.
Governor Chris Sununu nominated former gubernatorial candidate and State Rep Frank Edelblut to head the Department of Education. The Executive Council is holding a public hearing on Mr. Edelblut’s confirmation on Tuesday, January 31 at 1 p.m. in the Council Chambers.
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