“Senate Bill 101 serves no real function as it prohibits non-existent requirements. But allowing it to become law would have real and lasting consequences to New Hampshire’s economic competitiveness by sending a damaging signal that our state is not committed to the education standards necessary to prepare a 21st century workforce.” That’s what Her Highness, the Governess Margaret Wood Hassan wrote in her veto message on the bill proposed by District Twelve State Senator Kevin Avard,. Republican from Nashua, that would prevent the state from requiring local school districts to adopt the Common Core national standards. Funny thing is, not to long after she wrote, in multiple places, that school districts already are not mandated to adopt the standards, she also wrote this: Quote ““As we work together to make sure that our students have access to a rigorous education, it is critical that we continue to do so in the New Hampshire way, with local school districts continuing to have the authority, flexibility and responsibility to meet the best interests of their children.”
Now, I’m just a dopey radio talk show host, but I wonder if the Common Core standards on writing composition would prevent or allow authors to develop literary works containing inherently contradictory statements in support of a desired outcome. Perhaps it was just easier than explaining why it is that New Hampshire somehow couldn’t develop quality standards of its own, either locally or statewide, without the Common Core. But I digress…
In a statement released on Friday, Avard said, quote: ““New Hampshire’s students deserve the highest quality of education decided on locally by school boards and teachers. By not preserving a town’s right to decide on education, the Governor is effectively allowing greater state and federal control over New Hampshire student’s education.” We’ve published her entire veto message and Senator Avard’s response at Girard at Large dot com and linked to them from this news read for your convenience.
“At the request of Council Chair Thomas Cardon, pursuant to Derry Town Charter Section five point nine, a special meeting of the Derry Town Council will be held at seven thirty P M on Tuesday May twelfth, two thousand fifteen, in the third floor Meeting Room of the Derry Municipal Center. The purpose of the special meeting is to provide each Councilor an opportunity to present his/her intentions regarding the Fiscal Year two thousand sixteen budget for each Town department, in a public non-binding discussion.” We found that gem in our inbox this morning and can summarize our thoughts in two words: Uh oh.
News from our own backyard continues after this.
On April seventh, based on statistics provided to Girard at Large by the Manchester School District, we reported that parents for seven hundred forty eight of the four thousand one hundred eighty five students subject to the Smarter Balanced Assessment had refused their child’s participation. Because state Board of Education Chairman Tom Raffio intimated that those reports were inaccurate, suggesting the refusal numbers were lower during his recent appearance before the Manchester Board of School Committee, we inquired about any changes. Sure enough, there were changes, very big changes.
As of May sixth, just one month later, the number had actually risen substantially to one thousand one hundred and sixty, a more than fifty five percent increase, meaning that more than one third of the city’s school children did not take the Smarter Balanced Assessment. Enormous jumps in the number of refusals at the city’s middle schools, Central and West drove most of the increase. Little wonder why Raffio and crew fought so hard to kill the bill that would codify a parent’s understood right to refuse testing of their child, testing both Raffio and Education Commissioner Virginia Barry said the law did not provide parental rights to refuse.
While we’re speaking of the Manchester School District, we got this gem in the mail on Saturday, certified even:
Dear Mr. Girard, (sic) Manchester School District and (sic) Manchester Education Association have been made aware that a recording has been made of a meeting between parents, teachers and administrators on Monday, April 20 and is on your site. We ask that you remove this recording as the recording was made without the consent of all parties who were recorded. NH RSA 570-A:2 makes it a misdemeanor for parties to be recorded when their consent has not been given. In light of the fact the teachers were not made aware of this recording, we respectfully ask that your remove it from your site. Sincerely, Debra Livingston, Superintendent of Schools and Benjamin Dick, Manchester Education Association President.”
This refers to the meeting they had with the Katsikas family after their fourth grade son disclosed the use of vile swear words during an “anti bullying” lesson in his class at Hallsville School. As of May sixth. We will, of course, be discussing this during the show.
Finally this morning, the Hillsboro Deering High School parents who were told that parental choice was not recognized by state law as a reason why students would be allowed to not take the Smarter Balanced Assessment were, after our inquiry of Hillsboro Deering Cooperative School District Superintendent Robert Hassett about why the district would refuse their refusal, contacted by Hassett on Friday and told their refusal would be honored and their son would have alternative options during the testing. See folks, when you don’t give them a place to hide, they almost always have to do the thing they know they’re supposed to do.
That’s news from our own backyard, Girard at large hour ___ starts right now!