By Kevin Bloom for The Liberty Block
AN ACT relative to credit for alternative, extended learning, and work-based programs.
1 Substantive Content of an Adequate Education; Alternative Programs. RSA 193-E:2-a, V(b) is repealed and reenacted to read as follows:
Each local school board shall determine whether to grant academic credit for alternative, extended learning, and work-based programs.
Here’s what the RSA said before: RSA 193-E:2-a
The state board of education shall adopt rules, pursuant to RSA 541-A, relative to the approval of alternative programs for granting credit leading to graduation.
On its face, this bill appears to remove authority from the state board of education and give it to local school boards. However, it’s questionable if it does so, if it can do so, or if it should. The bill was proposed by 11 Democrats.
Here’s the program in question:
STATEWIDE EDUCATION IMPROVEMENT AND ASSESSMENT PROGRAM
193-C:3 Program Established; Goals. –
“There is established within the department of education a statewide education improvement and assessment program. The commissioner shall develop and implement this program in conjunction with the state board of education and the legislative oversight committee. In carrying out this program, the commissioner shall consult widely with educators at all levels, business people, government officials, community representatives, and parents.”
We can see that it’s a statewide program. In fact, if you click on the link to the program, you can see that it’s well planned and well-defined. It’s doubtful whether letting individual school boards have the final say over whether or not to grant credits for a state program, where students may change schools, is necessary or worthwhile. According to multiple sources, the motivation behind this bill is specifically directed to halt the “Learn Everywhere” program, an extended learning opportunity which allows children to receive credit for experience outside of the school system.
“Historically, the New Hampshire State Board of Education has authorized schools to issue learning credits, but Learn Everywhere stretches that to other approved educational organizations. The Boys and Girls Club, for example, could apply to become an approved Learn Everywhere organization with the ability to offer academic credits for various programs (e.g., theater, art, etc.), that previously only schools could offer.
Not only does Learn Everywhere enable young people to earn credit for their rich learning experiences outside of school, it creates enormous potential for organizations and small businesses to help educate New Hampshire’s youth. The owner of a small knitting shop, who already offers fiber arts classes, could apply to become an approved Learn Everywhere participant and help her students receive academic credit for their craft. An existing after-school program could expand its offerings and provide credit to youth participants for math tutoring, for example. A young person committed to a rigorous apprenticeship program with a local company could earn academic credit that acknowledges her hard work and deepening skills. More alternatives to school, like BigFish Learning Community in Dover, could sprout and flourish.”
More information on “Learn Everywhere” can be found here. This bill should be opposed, as it has no benefit and may harm the educational opportunities for our children.