Educators, parents weigh in on changes to N.H. education requirements

Lauren Williams's picture
Thursday, August 22, 2013

The State Board of Education heard from teachers, employers, school board members and parents yesterday during a public hearing in Concord on changes to the state’s minimum standards, which outline what programs schools must offer in order to receive state funds.

Some wanted more high school math. Others said they worry about state and federal overreach. A teacher hopes to keep family and consumer science classes off the chopping block.

“It’s good to see the public weighing in with their ideas, that’s always a good thing, cause if you take that, you can get a better product,” said David Ruff, executive director for the Great Schools Partnership and adviser to the committee that has worked on the standards for nearly a year.

The standards are updated periodically through a process that includes the state board, Department of Education and legislators. The biggest change this time is a complete shift from credit- to competency-based education, which measures subject knowledge rather than time spent in the classroom. Under a credit system, passing with a C doesn’t show the student understands all of the material. In a competency-based system, a student can’t pass until they show mastery of each piece of material. The changes also include more room for “extended learning opportunities,” which allow students to meet graduation requirements outside of the classroom, such as earning a math requirement through an engineering internship.

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