This is my reply to Executive Councilors Andru Volinsky and Chris Pappas on their political HIT PIECE against Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut that appeared in the Manchester Union Leader:

Dear Editor:

Executive Councilors Andru Volinsky and Chris Pappas’ criticism of New Hampshire’s Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut, made me wonder, are they bothered that he’s working hard to improve public education? 

Volinsky and Pappas took a swing at Commissioner Edelblut for attending political functions; however, they ignored all of the good things he’s attempting to do to improve public education in New Hampshire.  
 
Edelblut has heard from parents and teachers on the failures of Common Core.  They’ve gone before the State Board of Education to notify them that they withdrew their children from the public schools because of Common Core.   Recently one of those parents presented the State Board of Education with about 2000 signatures on a petition, to get rid of Common Core in New Hampshire. Parents now expect the Commissioner to work to improve the academic standards, and that’s exactly what he’s doing. This is also what former Governor Hassan failed to do.
 
Volinsky and Pappas brought up the long confirmation process to approve Edelblut’s appointment, but they never asked him about Common Core in our schools.  In their Union Leader commentary, they also failed to bring up Common Core and how Commissioner Edelblut is working to improve the academic standards.  Common Core is the biggest issue in public education and they both failed to address it during the public hearing and now in their commentary. Their commentary appeared to be more of a political attack on the Commissioner versus an honest analysis on how well he’s working to improve public education in New Hampshire.  That’s a big failure on their part as Executive Councilors in districts 2 and 4. 
 
I expected these Executive Counselors to put their partisanship aside and vote to appoint the best person for the job, but that didn’t happen.  I now expect them to offer an honest analysis when commenting on Edelblut’s performance as Commissioner, but that didn’t happen this time either.  Instead they chose to write a political hit piece on one of the people who is finally listening to the thousands of parents who are fed up with this federal education reform in New Hampshire. 
 
Former Education Commissioner, Virginia Barry, was invited to debates on Common Core when she served in the Hassan administration.  She turned down those invitations and wouldn’t face the hard questions from the parents who were frustrated and angry about the poor quality of education their children were receiving. Barry did meet with our local Superintendents in closed door meetings where no notes were taken for the public to review.  Where were these two when parents were upset about that practice? 
 
If they can’t bring themselves to be honest with the public and highlight Edelblut’s efforts to improve the academic standards for our local schools, then that’s a reflection their partisanship. If their only problem is that he’s attending political gatherings, I can’t imagine parents who’ve gone before the Board of Education in tears over Common Core, will be that upset.   
 
Public education in New Hampshire will be better for all children when the academic standards are improved.  Edelblut is working hard to make that happen. Volinsky and Pappas should be standing behind him and supporting him every step of the way.  Instead they are taking political shots at the Commissioner, and not providing the public with important information on how he’s working to improve academic standards for kids who attend public schools.
Ann Marie Banfield
Education Liaison, Cornerstone Action 

 

Ann Marie Banfield currently volunteers as the Education Liaison for Cornerstone Action in New Hampshire. She has been researching education reform for over a decade and actively supports parental rights, literacy and academic excellence in k-12 schools. You can contact her at: [email protected]