The State Board of Education’s (SBOE) meeting on May 11, featured a lengthy debate about whether the Board should begin a process to review and revise the NH’s academic standards, reported the Concord Monitor. Commissioner Frank Edelblut had been calling for a review of the standards previous to his appointment as Commissioner of the Education Department:
Last year both Gov. Chris Sununu and Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut ran on anti-Common Core platforms in the gubernatorial race. Sununu nominated Edelblut, a businessman and former state representative, to his post atop the state’s Department of Education in January.
But while Edelblut had put forward a plan to review the state’s math and English standards – among others – board members, a majority of which are Democratic appointees, had appeared willing to at least consider a revision in previous meetings. The conversation about ELA and math first came about in February, before Edelblut officially took his post, with board members Cindy Chagnon and Bill Duncan bringing it up.
“I knew the governor wanted to review the standards because he campaigned on them. And I wanted to be cooperative with the new governor, and work together where we could,” Duncan said after the meeting on Thursday.
At the SBOE meeting, a record number of parents and teachers came out in support of the state’s College and Career Ready Standards, which have been adapted from the Common Core standards. Administrators from five districts supported the standards, which they called a “foundation for learning,” in a presentation by the NH School Administrators Association:
“Constantly re-litigating the Common Core war is really hampering the schools and districts from developing the models that communities and businesses are looking for,” said Carl Ladd, the director of the New Hampshire School Administrators Association, told the State Board of Education.
The board is considering which academic standards to revise and when. On Thursday, an hour-long chorus of administrators – as well as representatives from National Education Association and the business community – came to say that a revision of the state’s Common Core-aligned math and ELA standards, which were adopted in 2010, was a waste of time. Time better spent would be reviewing older standards, like in social studies, many said.
Brendan Minnihan, the superintendent at the Laconia School District, said the district had finally gotten around to taking a look at its social studies curriculum. He joked that they’d realized colonial America was taught in something like eight different grades.
“We were able to do that because we had finally gotten to take a breath after all the work we’ve been doing on our math curriculum and our English language arts,” he said. “Please, I implore you, don’t go back and make us start again.”
Similarly, Val Zanchuk, the chairman of the Business Industry Association, said that his group had been working with the state’s educators to align teaching in New Hampshire with career pathways:
The English and math standards are working well, Zanchuk said, and to re-open them would take away from the “limited bandwidth” the state has to work on more pressing issues.
“We believe that an attempt to refine or rewrite educational standards is unecessary, of marginal value, and a poorly timed diversion of that limited bandwidth,” he said.