More letters: Supporting NGSS and full day kindergarten and opposing DOE reorganization

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Supporting the Next Generation Science Standards

Laconia Daily Sun, here, Jane Westlake, said on April 13,

Kudos to New Hampshire’s Board of Education for standing up to Frank Edelblut, Sununu’s controversial pick for education commissioner. The board recently voted unanimously to refuse Edelblut’s request to review the state’s school science standards.

The board adopted the Next Generation Science Standards last year after a two-year-long review. Edelblut requested another review because NGSS had been given a grade of “C” by the Fordham Institute. However, Jack Hassard, a former high school science teacher and professor emeritus of science education at Georgia State University, describes Fordham as an “ultra-conservative” organization, whose criteria used to evaluate the NGSS are “low-level, mediocre at best.” According to Hassard, Fordham “appears to have had their eyes closed” during the past 30 years, when “many of the creative ideas … emerged in science teaching.” The Board of Education agreed. As board member Bill Duncan stated, “Fordham’s view of the standards is from 1950 science teaching.”

Sununu’s choice of Edelblut was met with much criticism. He and his wife home-schooled their children and he has had no professional public education experience. According to state law, education commissioners “shall be qualified to hold their positions by reason of education and experience.” Because of Edelblut’s lack of experience and his conservative views on education, critics were fearful that his appointment was strictly political. It appears that their fears were well-founded.

If you are concerned about the current attack on science and gutting of the EPA by the Trump administration and Republican leaders, please join the worldwide March for Science on Earth Day, April 22, which includes satellite marches in Concord and Portsmouth. For more information, search March for Science Concord NH or March for Science Portsmouth NH on Facebook.

All-day kindergarten

Brian Stisser, wrote in a letter printed in the April 24th Union Leader

To the Editor: The Granite State is an amazing place to raise children. The parks, the outdoor activities, the (generally) low crime rates and excellent schools are all great draws for young families. In spite of this, our state is losing, rather than attracting, families.As the parents of a toddler, one topic my wife and I often discuss when one of us is approached for some job opportunity in another state is the lack of statewide all-day kindergarten in New Hampshire. Early education has a profound impact on the rest of a child’s education. As parents, we must give our son every opportunity possible, even if that means sacrificing the many things we love about this state.

If we want to reverse the economically damaging trend of young people leaving New Hampshire, we must address the causes. The funding for all-day kindergarten in Gov. Sununu’s budget or SB 191 offers an opportunity to do just that.

BRIAN STISSER

Merrimack

Senator Reagan: Right on child nutrition, wrong to Commissioner Edelblut’s reorganization

Corinne Dodge writes in an April 25 letter to the Concord Monitor,

An open letter to Sen. John Reagan: Last week, I publicly acknowledged you as being the one Republican senator who voted against a bill that would in effect potentially reduce or eliminate access to nutrition to more than 40,000 children in New Hampshire (Senate Bill 7).

Naturally I assumed that you were such a strong supporter of children in need that you would vote against your party affiliation in order to protect New Hampshire children.

I was wrong. I read this week that at the request of Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut you “introduced an amendment to HB 356 to vastly expand the role of the commissioner of education.” Among the many other unwise changes this bill would make is to assign Edelblut as administrator of special education law and put him in control of the Division of Instruction for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and the Division of Career Technology and Adult Learning.

Edelblut’s work background is as an accountant, auditor and venture capitalist. His children are home-schooled. He has no background in education. I do have an educational background in special education, and have been working since 1969 with severely and multiply disabled children.

It is unethical and unwise for the state to put the education of these children in the hands of one man who has no experience with general or special education. Submitting your amendment and circumventing a public hearing on it indicates that you are attempting to undermine New Hampshire public education.