Valley News Forum for May 25, 2023: Speak out about proposed changes to education in NH

Published: 05-25-2023 5:12 AM

Speak out about proposed changes to education in NH

Are you aware that the New Hampshire Department of Education is currently revising the minimum administrative standards governing how education is defined in New Hampshire? It wouldn’t surprise me if you aren’t. The Department of Education hired an outside consultant to assist them, and much of the work has taken place behind closed doors with little public or educator input and little transparency.

When the public finally got a look at the proposed changes last September, there were some concerning items. The nonprofit Reaching Higher NH identified five key themes to the proposed changes, including the removal of some equity and student protections, the gutting of program elements, and the stripping of local control. They also identified changes that could lead to the “unbundling” of public schools, potentially shifting education to commodified, individual and private marketplaces.

If these themes sound concerning to you, you aren’t alone. As a resident of Croydon, many of these are familiar after our school budget battle last spring. Our town wholeheartedly rejected these kind of ideas, so why is the state doubling down on them? After some public outcry, the Department of Education has scheduled a number of listening sessions about the proposed changes. Sadly, these events have not been well-publicized, and there are no sessions at all in major parts of the state, including the core of the Upper Valley and all of Sullivan County.

The closest session to us is on Thursday, May 25, at 6:30 p.m. at the Kearsarge Professional Development Center in New London. This may be the only chance for the public to share their thoughts on these changes before they move forward for adoption by the state. If you are concerned about the future of public education in our state, please attend the session on Thursday and make your voice heard!

Christopher Prost


Hanover traffic jams are avoidable

Rush hour backups up West Wheelock Street from the Ledyard Bridge to the Inn Corner were pointed out by me in this space a year ago. Now it’s actually gridlock, with backups down Main and along Lebanon Street halfway to the football stadium.

As I noted, the culprit is the poorly thought-through signal at West Street, which is programmed as though the new buildings on Engineering Drive put out as much traffic as the DHMC. The two-year bridge closure upriver just highlights the problem.

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Resetting the sequencing for an hour a day is required. But nobody here really cares because we in Hanover don’t have to commute, do we?

Dick Mackay


Cursive stays on the page

I would like to add my comment to the excellent letter submitted by Rebecca Leake about the benefits of writing in cursive (“Read the writing on cursive,” May 20). Another plus of cursive writing, instead of printing, is that cursive is a more efficient method of recording words because it flows along, and the writer doesn’t have to lift the pen or pencil from the paper, however briefly, between letters. That makes writing faster and more practical, especially when taking notes.

Apparently teachers no longer encourage their students to hold their pens and pencils in the traditional, time-tested method that uses the thumb, index finger and third finger for support. Doing so enables greater control of the writing implement and a neater result.

Mary Nadeau