On Wednesday, October 19, Reaching Higher NH requested the latest version of the ED 306 Minimum Standards for Public School Approval from the NH Education Department, under RSA 91-A, the state’s “Right to Know” law.
In August, Reaching Higher NH published a copy of the draft rules dated July 15, 2022, along with an analysis of the key themes of the proposed changes. Among the most concerning were the removal of local control, key content areas, and student protections and equity provisions. Since the analysis, teachers, school leaders, and the public have shared their concerns that the proposed rules would undermine and weaken New Hampshire’s public schools.
View the Right to Know Request submitted by Reaching Higher NH here.
Sources have shared that the NHED and the National Center for Competency-Based Learning (NCCBL), the company contracted to assist with the development of the minimum standards, have dismissed concerns as being part of an “outdated” draft, without further detail or explanation. The NHED has also referenced a newer version of the Minimum Standards at the State Board of Education meeting in September 2022.
People familiar with the process have shared that a revised copy of the proposed rules was shared with the NHED in September 2022; however, this version was not made available to the public. It is unknown whether there is a more recent copy.
The NHED is coordinating with a teacher association to recruit teachers and content specialists to “provide feedback on [the teacher’s] content area” on November 15 and 16, 2022. At this time, no further information has been provided to those who have signed up. In addition, NCCBL has said that they will be holding “listening sessions” in the fall.
“If the NHED and NCCBL want meaningful, actionable input, educators and the public must have an adequate amount of time to unpack, understand, and process the changes in advance,” said Nicole Heimarck, Executive Director of Reaching Higher NH.
“These minimum standards serve the foundation of our public schools, and should reflect what we want for our students, schools, and communities. But the public has been shut out of this process since the start, and the proposal shared in July 2022 represents an alarming overhaul of our public schools,” said Christina Pretorius, Policy Director at Reaching Higher NH.
The official rulemaking process will not begin until the rules are filed with the NH Office of Legislative Services (OLS) and an initial proposal is brought to the NH State Board of Education. However, it is essential that educators, families, and the public be a part of the drafting process as well, as the minimum standards are the foundation of our public schools.
The request was submitted on Wednesday, October 19, 2022. Under current law, the NHED must respond within five business days, by either denying the request in writing, with reasons, or notify RHNH, in writing, if or when the records, subject to RSA 91-A and other applicable statutes, will be available.
Please email Christina Pretorius at email@example.com with any questions. This story will be updated as it develops.