NH Education Roundup, Aug. 21

In this issue of Reaching Higher NH’s Education News Brief: RHNH welcomes Dr. Karen M. Scolforo as our next Executive Director, disparities in school funding and teacher pay lead to disparities in instructional quality and school culture, and schools and families across the state try to make the best reopening decisions they can amidst a pandemic. 

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Reaching Higher NH welcomes Karen M. Scolforo, Ed.D., as next Executive Director — On Monday, August 17, the Reaching Higher NH Board of Directors announced the hire of our new Executive Director, Dr. Karen M. Scolforo. “As our new Executive Director, Karen Scolforo brings a distinguished, accomplished perspective that will enhance RHNH’s ability to make meaningful and insightful contributions to New Hampshire’s public education discussion,” said RHNH Board Co-Chair, Tom Rath. Read the Board’s full press release

“It’s penny wise and pound foolish” — Just one measure of the disparities that exist between New Hampshire’s public schools, teacher compensation has far-reaching implications that go beyond hiring headaches. School officials say the turnover rate that plagues lower-paying districts profoundly influences instructional quality and school culture, and arguably costs schools more than they save in compensation packages. Read Reaching Higher NH’s latest article on how funding disparities affect teacher pay, and the implications of disparities in salary

Research group reveals school funding proposal — Property taxes would decrease in 70% of New Hampshire’s 237 municipalities under a new draft proposal unveiled to the Commission to Study School Funding for their consideration. Created by the American Institutes for Research (AIR), the draft proposal sets a uniform local property tax of $5 per $1,000 of assessed value, along with a statewide property tax of $7.13 of assessed value. The proceeds would be distributed to school districts using a weighted formula. Reaching Higher NH will release an overview of the implications next week. View AIR’s presentation here

Some students will return to Concord schools in September — After voting earlier this month to begin the school year remotely, the Concord School Board agreed to allow some programs to resume in person at a special meeting on Monday night. The Concord Regional Technical Center, which serves students in Concord and several surrounding towns, will be open for in-person learning. Additionally, students with Individualized Education Programs, those who are enrolled in English Language Learner programs, and students who are homeless, will be able to receive in-person instruction. The board also voted to allow fall sports, which had been put on hold earlier this month, to resume with safety guidelines in place. 

Teachers Unions, Districts Facing Off Over Fall Plans — As the new school year approaches, some districts are still in negotiations with teachers’ unions over their reopening plans. On Thursday, New Hampshire Public Radio reported that the teachers’ association in Timberlane is advocating for six weeks of remote learning to “provide time to plan a comprehensive model that addresses the needs of all students and staff,” saying that officials haven’t addressed questions about “everyday logistics.” 

Most parents will play dual roles this fall — A new survey by the New York Times finds that six out of seven parents will have children home this fall, as the majority of schools around the country begin the year remotely; of those families, four out of five will have no in-person help with education or childcare. Mothers are handling the bulk of childcare and education tasks, the survey found, and parents of all socioeconomic and racial categories share fears about their children’s mental health, social skills, academic progress, and screen time.
New Hampshire school-funding inequities spelled out in new analysis
New Hampshire Business Review, Michael Kitch, August 13, 2020

Patrick And Edelblut: Meeting Obligations For Vulnerable Students
Patch.com, Stephanie Patrick and Frank Edelblut, August 19, 2020

On third try, voters pass school budget in Hopkinton
Concord Monitor, Eileen O’Grady, August 17, 2020

Perspective | A severely troubled school district in Pennsylvania faces takeover by for-profit charter organization
Washington Post, Valerie Strauss, August 21, 2020

How to Protect Your Family’s Privacy During Remote Learning
New York Times, August 21, 2020