This morning, NEA-New Hampshire President Megan Tuttle provided the following remarks during the public comment portion of the New Hampshire State Board of Education meeting:
Good Morning ladies and gentlemen. My name is Megan Tuttle and I am the President of NEA-New Hampshire.
Your agenda for today includes discussion on proposals to revise the New Hampshire English Language Arts standards and the Mathematics standards.
The 17,000 members of NEA-NH, frontline employees in the daily challenge to bring the goals of the standards to life for our students, urge you to reconsider this action.
After 18 years of teaching, I can confidently say that I have seen these standards in use, and that they are indeed effective in their current state.
The use of standards helps streamline instruction, ensuring that teaching practices deliberately focus on agreed upon learning targets. This is only possible if the standards are a manageable list of broad goals, rather than an exhaustive list of bits of learning.
Standards serve as guideposts for our schools. Teachers, parents and students use them as a tool to focus on what students are expected to learn.
Our current Math and English standards contain the breadth to allow our districts and teachers to exercise professional judgment in developing curriculum and instruction that promotes student success, validating New Hampshire’s long-standing tradition of local control; where parents, elected officials and educators work together to unlock each student’s potential.
Our current notion of content standards has been corrupted to be almost completely dominated by what can be tested rather than by the deep understandings and 21st century skills that our students need.
Standards, such as those we have now in Math and English, serve as a potential means of providing access to a complete and challenging education for all our students, no matter their zip code.
While new standards may have been controversial among teachers in some states, mainly because they were introduced concurrently with punitive teacher evaluations, NEA-NH has been fully supportive of these standards under review, and worked closely with the department in making their implementation as successful as possible within very limited budgets.
We made our own substantial investment in the effort, training 30 teachers to provide statewide professional development in support of the new standards.
The standards themselves provide wide flexibility for varying approaches to curriculum, lesson plans and styles of classroom instruction. Our teachers feel empowered to make changes that might be a better fit with the students in their classrooms.
New Hampshire’s ELA and math standards have stood the test of time in our classrooms. We urge the state board to leave them in place.