New Hampshire Education Roundup, Nov. 2

In this issue of Reaching Higher NH’s Education News Brief: Manchester West High School students address the School Funding Commission; Reaching Higher raises questions about Modern States’ privacy policy; the School Funding Commission prepares for public outreach; and one school district declines the federal free lunch program. 

Manchester English Learners Appeal for Fair Funding — Liz Kirwan, an English Language teacher at Manchester West High School, worked with her students to write letters to the Commission to Study School Funding this month to highlight inequities and ask for more funding. “It’s the inequities that exist in the system that place our students on a different trajectory,” Kirwan said. Read Reaching Higher’s story here

Reaching Higher Raises Questions About DOE’s New Partnership — Modern States, a NYC-based nonprofit that recently partnered with the NH Department of Education to offer free online college preparation courses for New Hampshire students, requires users to provide “unambiguous consent” to the use and retention of their data, Reaching Higher NH has discovered through an independent review. The program’s privacy policies raise important questions about student data privacy in New Hampshire. Read Reaching Higher’s report here

School Funding Commission Looks Toward Public Outreach — Members of the Carsey School of Public Policy have begun developing an outreach package that will help members of the Commission to Study School Funding present their key findings to community groups. At the Commission’s Oct. 26 meeting, Bruce Mallory, a member of the Carsey School Funding Study team, provided members with a slide show that summarizes key findings and emerging questions. Commission members have begun meeting with community groups to share their work, but the volume and complexity of the research makes public engagement a challenge.

Not All Schools Embracing Free Lunch Program — Schools around the state have been offering free meals to all students through a USDA waiver granted in response to the pandemic, but at least one large school district is passing on the program. The Lebanon School District will not be participating in the federal program due to “an inability to certify that the community has a ‘clear need’” the Valley News reported last week. All New Hampshire schools are eligible for the waivers, and it is up to districts to define their own standards. The Department of Education did not have data available on how many districts are participating in the free meals program. In a press release issued last week, the DOE announced that more than 6.5 million meals have been served by New Hampshire schools since the beginning of the pandemic, 4.2 million of which have been free to New Hampshire families. That represents an increase of more than 300,000 compared to the same period last year. 


WHAT WE’RE READING

After COVID Disrupted School Routines, Smaller Class Sizes
May Help Kids Catch Up

Keene Sentinel, Meg McIntyre, Oct. 24, 2020

We Asked, You Answered: How Are Families Managing Screen Time in the Pandemic?
NHPR, Sarah Gibson, 10/30/2020

The Scramble to Find Substitute Teachers
Education Week, Elizabeth Heubeck, Oct. 26, 2020

Going Beyond a Diverse Classroom Library
Edutopia, Jaren Maynard, Oct. 16, 2020

DeVos: Not My Job to Track School Reopening Plans
U.S. News & World Report, Lauren Camera, Oct. 20, 2020