Our public schools are a precious resource for New Hampshire families. And we are extraordinarily well served by our State’s public schools. Seventy percent of Granite State students take the SAT. They score 1566, the highest among high participation states. Our NAEP scores in 4th grade math have gone steadily up and now 59% of our 4th graders are proficient, again the highest in the country. At 87%, we have one of the highest graduation rates in the country.
And yet our schools face real challenges. We have a long way to go to meet the needs of English language learners, students with special needs and from low-income families while keeping budgets affordable. More than 2/3 of our 12th graders are not proficient in math and a majority is not proficient in reading. The result is that too many need remedial work in college or in job training. We have over 3,000 STEM job openings a year but must challenge ourselves to ensure that our students have the opportunity to fill them.
But New Hampshire’s public schools have become incubators for innovation in recent years. School districts like Sanborn Regional, Pittsfield, White Mountains Regional and charters like Nashua’s Academy for Science and Design are leading the way in offering for innovative teaching that maintains high standards while meeting the special needs of each student. It would be easier to fall back on the familiar, but our children deserve better.
We have formed Reaching Higher New Hampshire because we are committed to our children and their schools. We must act now to preserve our strengths, while investing energy and resources to ensure that schools meet the demands we are placing on them.
We are all in this together. As parents, we want to see our children succeed. As educators, we take pride in the accomplishments of our students and in our contributions to their futures. As business people, we rely on our workforce and want to help our schools prepare students for the jobs of tomorrow. As proud citizens of New Hampshire, we want to ensure that all our students get the opportunity to achieve their dreams.
Reaching Higher New Hampshire is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting our public schools and fostering high standards that give all Granite State children the opportunity to prepare successfully for college, careers, and the challenges and opportunities of life in 21st century New Hampshire.
We are bringing together the voices of parents, teachers, business people, civic leaders, and community organizations from every region of the State to voice a forward looking vision for public education in New Hampshire.
We will be a reliable non-partisan resource providing parents, educators, policy makers, school board members and New Hampshire citizens with reliable fact-based information about our public schools and the impact of education policy choices.
We will advocate for putting students at the center of the educational process. That means inspiring each student to set goals and strive to meet them in is or her own way with the support of parents, teachers and local school boards.
We will advocate for giving educators the support they need to implement rigorous English, math, and science standards. And we will support a sensible system of accountability that ensures that all New Hampshire children get a fair shot without being over tested.
Reaching Higher NH will also support to efforts to expand access to pre-kindergarten and other early-childhood development initiatives that help all children start out on the right foot.
New Hampshire has always been committed to its public schools, a tradition that has allowed the state to prosper in good times and to sustain itself in challenging times. With the voices of many, Reaching Higher New Hampshire will work to make sure that the promise of New Hampshire’s public schools is available to all for generations to come.
The Board of Directors of Reaching Higher New Hampshire –
Kass Ardinger, Member, Concord School Board
Steve Duprey (Secretary/Treasurer), CEO, The Duprey Companies, RNC-NH Committeeman
Lewis M. Feldstein, retired president, New Hampshire Charitable Foundation
Dr. Mark Joyce, E.D., New Hampshire School Administrators’ Association
Donnalee Lozeau, Mayor, Nashua
Scott McGilvray, President, NEA-NH
Selma Naccach-Hoff, English Department Head, Manchester High School Central
Pawn Nitichan, Executive Director, City Year New Hampshire
Tom Rath (Co-Chair), Attorney, Rath, Young, and Pignatelli
Alan Reische (Co-Chair), Attorney, Sheehan Phinney Bass & Green