NH Education Roundup, Nov. 23, 2020


In this issue of Reaching Higher NH’s Education News Brief: Lunch program paperwork presents funding concerns; School Funding Commission report will reflect individual perspectives; and new research shows pandemic’s effects on education. 

Fewer Families Filling Out Lunch Forms Could Endanger Federal Aid — In response to the pandemic, school districts around the state have been taking advantage of a USDA waiver that allows all students to receive free lunch. As a result, fewer families are filling out eligibility forms, a trend that could jeopardize state and federal funding, which is based in part on Free and Reduced Price Lunch program participation. Families wishing to fill out these forms should contact their district’s food service director.

School Funding Commission’s Report to Include Individual Statements –As it prepares its final report, the Commission to Study School Funding has reached consensus on a number of key recommendations and considerations. To reflect perspectives not presented in final recommendations, however, the report will include an appendix for individual member statements, Commission Chair David Luneau explained to the Commission on Monday, Nov. 16. The statements can provide minority opinions about findings in the report and/or suggest areas for further inquiry but cannot present new evidence. 

The Commission also continued its discussion of categorical aid programs not included in the current or proposed adequacy formula, including Building Aid and Early Childhood Education Programs. 

The Commission will meet again on Nov. 23 and Nov. 30, before releasing its final report on Dec. 1. 

New Research Highlights Pandemic’s Impact on Teachers, Students — Two new research reports offer insights into how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected education. One paper, which presents key findings from the RAND American Educators Panel, concludes that vulnerable populations still are not getting the support they need, teachers are having difficulty contacting students, and teacher morale is low. Another report, prepared by the Understanding America Study, finds that parents’ ratings of their children’s education have improved since the onset of the pandemic. However, a Brookings Institution analysis of the UAS data finds that most of the improvement correlates with students who are back in school in person. Families with students learning in a remote or hybrid model report little improvement since spring. 

WHAT WE’RE READING

School Reopening “Churn” Distracting District Leaders From Focusing on Improved Education, Student Engagement Researchers Find 
The 74, Beth Hawkins, Nov. 18, 2020

Major Tensions Flare Over Education Secretary Before Joe Biden Even Picks One
Education Week, Andrew Ujifusa, Nov. 18, 2020

Q&A With an Educator: Being a Support System 
Concord Monitor, Eileen O’Grady, Nov. 18, 2020

LOOKING AHEAD

-Our newsletter will be on hiatus next Monday due to the Thanksgiving holiday. We are grateful for our readers and wish you all a happy and restful holiday. 

-With the Commission to Study School Funding releasing its final report next Tuesday, Reaching Higher is planning a whole week of coverage, including interviews, analysis, infographics and more. Be sure to visit our website and follow us on Facebook to stay up to date!