Latest draft of minimum standards expected to be released on Friday

The New Hampshire Department of Education is expected to release the latest draft of the Minimum Standards for Public School Approval, a Department representative told an oversight committee on Tuesday, January 10. 

The Legislative Oversight Committee for the Education Improvement and Assessment Program met yesterday to discuss the status of the state’s academic standards for individual content areas, and minimum standards for public school approval (known as the ED 306s). Dr. Nathaniel Greene, Bureau Administrator, presented to the committee on behalf of the Department. 

There has been growing concern with the NHED’s revision of the minimum standards, which are the foundational rules that govern all of our public schools. Reaching Higher NH found that the revised standards would remove local control, key content areas, and student protections and equity provisions, according to a version released in July 2022. In November, the NHED denied Reaching Higher NH’s request for an updated copy of the most recent revisions

According to Greene, the NHED is expected to release the latest revisions by Friday, January 13. The oversight committee has requested the document “as soon as it becomes available,” according to the Chair of the committee, Representative Rick Ladd (R-Haverhill). 

Department seeking public input

The Department has reportedly held information and input sessions with select groups, including the NH Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (NHASCD), the Extended Learning Opportunities (ELO) Network, and the Library Media Specialists group. The Department has not shared more information on the input they’ve received.

“We have met with a group of teachers, we’ve met with a couple of other stakeholder groups, we have several meetings coming up with some of the professional associations as well,” Greene told the committee. 

To date, there have been no opportunities for public input from communities, families, or students. 

Greene told the committee that the contractor tasked with overseeing the revision process, the National Center for Competency-Based Learning (NCCBL), is expected to schedule public listening sessions over the next few weeks. However, the details of these sessions remain unclear. 

“So I know that the group that has been working on it is hoping to start scheduling some public meetings over the course of the next few weeks where they can generate public feedback as well as some specific meetings with the different professional associations like the Superintendents Association, the Principals Association,” Greene told the committee. 

The NCCBL’s public input sessions have not yet been scheduled, and it is unclear if the purpose of those meetings will be to collect public input that will be incorporated in the minimum standards revision, or if the purpose is purely informational. Greene indicated that those public input sessions would be held before the proposal goes before the State Board:

“So will there be general feedback prior to the finalization of those standards going before the State Board?,” Representative Mel Myler (D-Contoocook) asked Greene. 

Yes. And then once the State Board takes up an initial proposal there’s always going to be public hearings involved with that as well. So there will be additional public feedback and opportunities,” Greene told the committee.

Rules expected to go to the State Board in February or March

According to Greene, the NHED will bring the initial proposal of the minimum standards to the NH State Board of Education in February or March. 

“My understanding is sometime in either February or March, there will most likely be an initial proposal for the State Board, and at that point it will become a State Board of Education process,” Greene told the committee. 

Once the minimum standards are introduced to the State Board, the state-mandated process and timeline offically begins. Once introduced, the State Board must hold at least one public hearing on the rules no earlier than 30 days from the date of introduction. 

Next Steps

Chairman Ladd said that he would schedule an oversight committee meeting once they received a copy of the minimum standards revision. 

Reaching Higher NH will continue to follow this issue closely. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter and sign up for our newsletter to stay informed about current updates. And, join the New Hampshire Education Network (NHEN), our network of New Hampshire parents, educators, business leaders, and community members who are interested in education policy.