Making Democracy Work

Education study

The state board proposed at Convention on June 3, 2017, that the League undertake a study of education issues in NH. The membership in attendance approved the concept of the study. Click here for the pdf of the study scope and introduction as determined by the steering committee at their first meeting on July 18, 2017.

We are also highlighting on this page some of the education issues that members have brought to our attention.

Inclusion here does not indicate a League position, as we have not yet completed the important study and consensus process.

LWVNH Conference on Education

Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017 at the Hopkinton Library

Six guest speakers on a variety of public education topics addressed our group of 40 attendees. They gave us much to think about as we move forward with our study. Many thanks to the speakers and to all who came.

2017-18 League Study of Education in NH--MEETINGS

The state steering committee met on July 17, August 3 & 29, Sept. 18, October 20. The committee is drafting phase one consensus questions in November.

League members in local units and members statewide will be given opportunities to participate in the study and consensus process. More information to come, both on this webpage and in the NHVoter newsletter.

LWVKearsarge/Sunapee study committee has been holding local meetings. Topics this local League has decided to focus on are Pre-K and Kindergarten, Home Schooling, and Assessment and Accountability. Any local League members wishing to join the group should contact Pat Rodgers.

LWV Nashua held a special local meeting to review education funding in Nashua, on Aug 24. Kim Kleiner prepared materials from her vantage point as a former member of the Nashua school board's budget committee.

LWV Kearsarge/Sunapee had Dan Vallone from Reaching Higher NH as the guest speaker at their Sept. 20 potluck supper.

See our Hot Legislation page for NH House and Senate study and sub-committee meetings on retained education bills (fall 2017).

A consensus meeting has been scheduled for Jan. 4, 10 am to noon, at Tracy Library in New London.Any League members are welcome to attend. Members may attend only ONE consensus meeting OR do the online consensus survey, but not both. The consensus process is for League members only.

A consensus meeting has been scheduled for Dec. 18, 2 pm to 3:30 pm, at Kendal in Hanover (Chalmers room). Any League members are welcome to attend. Members may attend only ONE consensus meeting OR do the online consensus survey, but not both. The consensus process is for League members only.

Other meetings to be scheduled in other areas.

Fact Sheets & Resources

The steering committee will post here fact sheets for members to use during the study process. Each fact sheet will be dated and the name or initials of the preparer will be included should questions arise or correction be needed. Resources will be given as links within the pdf. Simply click on the title to read the pdf.

Introduction, scope & timeline of the study 7/18/17 Fact Sheet

What is the history of public education? This is the one-page Fact Sheet 9/21/17, of the longer article below.

Why Do We Have Public Education? (federal and NH perspectives) This document is 4 pp long and includes a page of endnotes. 9/18/17 Fact Sheet.

Roles and Responsibilities 8/3/17 Fact Sheet explains the various levels of education oversight (federal, state, local including boards and government agencies).

Dr. Mark Joyce gave the following presentation to the joint study committee on education funding on 10/1/17 and was kind enough to share it with League. Includes background on the Claremont court cases and timeline of NH's commitment to funding public education. Fact Sheet Funding 10/1/17

In addition to the Claremont court decisions of 1993 and 1997, a NH Supreme Court decision in 2016 affecting Dover and a number of other rapidly growing school districts affirmed the state's responsibility to fund education. This article explains the Dover decision.

What is ESSA and NH's implementation plan? 10/25/17 fact sheet. Explains the NH Consolidated State Plan for implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act.

New fact sheet on Early Childhood Education. Very proud of the local League study committee (Kearsarge/Sunapee area) that did this research as a kick-off to phase 2 of the study. Early Childhood Education 11-13-17

From, a non-partisan organization that collects data on politics and other issues across the country: Public Education in NH It offers some background date and comparisons with other states.

An online resource you may wish to consult: Advancing NH Public Education

Another online resource you may wish to consult: "Reaching Higher NH"<"

From the School Superintendents Assn, a national organization, comes this Resolution in Support of Public Education.

Regarding the NH legislature's funding of public education: Where the Money Comes From and Where the Money Goes

10/30/17: From Reaching Higher NH, this article and detailed chart of the cost impact on local school districts if SB193 (the "voucher" bill) goes into effect. Click here to access the article and chart. The House Education Committee will vote on their recommendation of this bill on Nov. 8, sometime after 11 am. In January 2018 the bill will go to the entire House.

For a detailed background of education in NH, some members may wish to read this 17 pp document from the the NH Center fore Public Policy Studies. Lessons from New Hampshire: What We Can Learn from the History of the State's Role in School Finance -- 1642 - 1998 Author: Douglas E. Hall, Executive Director of New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Studies

School voucher programs explained in general (From a webinar with Chief Policy & Advocacy officer from the National Centers for Learning Disabilities via Reaching Higher NH--August 2017) School vouchers (though legislators don't use that term) will come up for a vote in early January 2018 in the House (SB193 as amended).

The Case for School Vouchers from a PBS panel discussion a few years ago (date unclear). Skip to the bottom of the page for a link to the opposite viewpoints.

For a lengthy explanation with sources (105 pp) of the Claremont school funding court cases, this is an excellent resource. "Claremont I and II - Were They Rightly Decided, and Where Have They Left Us?" Authors are John M. Lewis, Associate Justice of the New Hampshire Superior Court from 2001-2013; Chair of New Hampshire's State Board of Education from 1997 to 2001, and Stephen E. Borofsky, Managing Director of the law firm of Borofsky, Amodeo-Vickery & Bandazian P.A. (Unfortunately the file is too large for this server; email the LWVNH president via the contacts page and we can send it to you as a pdf attachment.)

Education Freedom Savings Accounts (2017 session)

SB 193-FN, establishing education freedom savings accounts for students, and related HB 647 relating specifically to students with disabilities, made their way thru the NH Legislature (spring 2017).

UPDATE: SB 193 passed the Senate, but was retained by the House for further study. Retained Bill Subcommittee Work Session was done in fall 2017. The full House Education Committee voted on the bill on Nov. 14, 2017. The vote crossed party lines somewhat with a 10-9 recommendation of "Ought to Pass." It will come before the full House in early 2018 greatly amended from early 2017.

HB647 " establishing education freedom savings accounts for children with disabilities" was tabled by the House in February 2017, never made it to the Senate.

Interesting asides

In this space we will include interesting perspectives on public education as food for thought, not as League positions nor even necessarily substantive facts. Let the discussion begin!

This lengthy article in the October 2017 issue of The Atlantic is titled "Americans Have Given Up on Public Schools. That's a Mistake. Subtitle: The current debate over public education underestimates its value--and forgets its purpose" by Erika Christakas. Click here for the article.

This short piece by Jamie Vollmer, a noted speaker on education issues, has become famous. Vollmer was once a harsh critic, now has become an articulate friend of America's public schools. Visit his website for more info: <> Here is The Blueberry Story

From LWVNH Nashua member Jean Lewandowski, the following piece about the board of education appeared in the Nashua Telegraph on Sept. 3, 2017. Click here to read the article.

The Democracy Project is an exciting effort announced in Spring 2017 by the NH Historical Society to improve education in grades k-12 around history and civics.

League positions on Education

In 2012 the national League of Women Voters conducted a study and reached a position on the Federal Role in Education. Click here to read the position.

LWV New Hampshire's existing position on education dates to 1980. Click here to read the existing position.

State Bd of Education meetings

Next meeting is Dec. 12, 2017, 9 am-2pm. Agenda is posted on their website: <> Also on their website are minutes and video of previous meetings.

The Board of Education meets once a month. Unless posted otherwise, meetings take place at the NH Department of Education building (Londergan Hall), 101 Pleasant Street, Concord, NH. The 7 members of the board are appointed by the Governor for a 5-years term. Five represent their districts (Executive Council districts); two are "at large." Meetings are open to the public, generally begin at 9 am with public comment sessions.

HB 356 (2017 session) now Education Funding and Adequacy Study Committee

An amended bill to study education funding and adequacy and also to study the structure of the NH Dept of Education was passed by both bodies in NH Legislature. Those studies began summer 2017; we encourage League members to follow the work of the joint special committee. Reports will be posted here. The bill is now Chaptered Law 0190:1 and 190:2 and the committee is described as a Study Committee. Meetings will be posted on the General Court website: Next meeting Monday 11/27 at 10:00 am LOB 209.

Full new title of the amended bill is this: (Second New Title) establishing a committee to study education funding and the cost of an opportunity for an adequate education, establishing a committee to study the organizational structure of the department of education and the duties and responsibilities of the commissioner of the department of education, and relative to the duties of the commissioner of the department of education.

CACR7, a proposed constitutional amendment, was retained by the House committee in Feb. 2017. The amendment if approved by voters would allow the NH Legislature to determine a definition of school adequacy and funding. The text of the CACR is here The House Education Committee voted on Nov. 8, 2017, to recommend "Inexpedient to Legislate."

Higher Education

The Public Higher Education study committee of the state legislature has been meeting regularly in Fall 2017. This is a joint House and Senate committee.

Reaching Higher NH presentation

View the YouTube video created by LWV Nashua unit. Dan Vallone, outreach director for Reaching Higher NH, spoke about the status of education in NH on May 16, 2017, at a public meeting in Nashua organized by League. Click here to view the video--it is a little over one hour in length.

Dan Vallone also spoke to the LWVKearsarge/Sunapee Area members at their annual potluck supper on 9/20/17.