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LOWERING NH EDUCATION STANDARDS IS A BAD IDEA 

New Hampshire students’ futures depends on their schools meeting high expectations and having a comprehensive curriculum.  

The State of New Hampshire is currently engaged in a process to revise the state’s “Minimum Standards for Public School Approval” – also known as the “306 Rules” – that has the potential to impact every facet of education for educators and students. At every opportunity, NEA-New Hampshire has voiced our concerns about the 306 Rule overhaul and raised educator voices. 

In addition to state laws, the 306 Rules articulate what New Hampshire public schools must do to be an approved school. These minimum standards for public education exist to ensure that no matter where a student lives, they receive consistent access to quality education. 

In 2020, a contract was awarded by the NH Department of Education to the National Center for Competency Based Learning to engage stakeholders and produce a draft of recommended changes to these 306 Rules.  

NEA-New Hampshire has expressed deep concern throughout this process that there was not sufficient educator involvement. No practicing teachers were invited to participate in the taskforce established. Group members included one practicing principal, one practicing superintendent, an educational consultant, and representatives from the state’s virtual charter school, the NH School Boards Association, and the business community.  

We supported independent work conducted to solicit additional educator input outside of the taskforce, as outlined in this article from the Granite State News Collaborative. In November of 2023, NEA-New Hampshire attended two meetings with representatives of the task force to provide our feedback on a draft overhaul that was released in March 2023.   

Consistent with NEA-New Hampshire’s mission, we are advocating for school standards that: 

  • Preserve language in the minimum standards currently that addresses equity and fairness because public schools should educate all students and educators should work to identify and eliminate any barriers that prevent students from a quality education.  
  • Maintain use of the term “grade level” as opposed to “learning level” when referencing the configuration of school organization. As every educator knows, these terms are not synonymous and for these rules to imply otherwise would be inappropriate and could weaken a school’s responsibility to educate children. The structure of our school buildings, state and federal assessments and accountability are done by grade level; without that, the schools will be out of compliance.  
  • Clearly articulate curriculum expectations. An effort underfoot to replace “shall include” with the permissive “may include” when describing what should be taught in content areas would water down New Hampshire’s school standards. NEA-New Hampshire believes the words “shall include” will ensure that expectations are clear about what students should know and be able to do upon graduation from a public school in our state. 
  • Continue to support professional development for implementation. NEA-New Hampshire advocated for the resources to support educators’ professional learning and the resources necessary to implement the minimum standards and support a safe and healthy environment in every school. 

There is still time to learn more add your voice to the discussion about New Hampshire’s school standards: