Innovation, Commitment, and Cost:  A Plan for a 21st-Century Education

In releasing a comprehensive plan for pre-school to university education, “Innovation, Commitment, and Cost:  A Plan for a 21st-Century Education,” I provide a roadmap for community conversation and legislative action. Innovation can positively transform educational practices, structures, and administration.  A commitment to the core value of public schooling is forged in partnership by taxpayers, families with schoolchildren, and educators. With innovation and commitment, costs can be contained and investments made. 

This plan builds on my Senate record of improving education without increasing taxes.  As your “education senator,” I fought to secure increased adequacy aid for District 4 schools, secured $13.5 million for Dover’s Career and Technical Education Center, and established commissions to examine innovative private/public partnerships for CTE education and to explore best practices in child sexual abuse prevention education.  I worked to save families thousands of dollars and reduce student debt by reversing the destructive cuts to higher education in return for a freeze in tuition. Bipartisan civility replaced partisan conflict and attacks on teachers, so we could agree on core educational values: shared knowledge, critical thinking, free inquiry, civility, and equal opportunity.

This multi-faceted plan is meant to promote discussion of educational values and needs, resulting in consensus positions on commonsense legislation to sponsor in Concord without requiring new taxes.

Early Childhood Education:  Quality and Affordability
Quality early childhood education gives each child the smart start needed for future success, so we must explore ways to make quality care more available and affordable. 

  • State partnership with NH Children’s Trust for Family Resource Centers
  • Expansion of programs at CTEs to train the next generation of child care professionals, and more slots at CTEs for children of low-income families
  • Explore private/public partnership (based on Salt Lake City pilot program) to invest in early childhood education at no increased cost to local school district
  • Establish floor amount of State adequacy aid and pass enabling legislation to permit municipalities to apply for adequacy funding for matching grant for early childhood education
  • Provide incentives to employers to provide early childhood education

K-12 Education

Our commitment to public schools starts with a recognition of the professional quality of our teachers.  We expect excellence, a challenging and innovative curriculum every day for every student, and demonstrable outcomes.  This means local control to implement state standards on commonsense content, competency-based pedagogy and experiential education, online innovation, and appropriate testing, not teaching to a test. Education is locally controlled, but the State has an important role to play in these proposals.

  • Raise or remove the cap on Adequacy grant so District 4 schools receive full share of aid, providing more than $1m due to our schools
  • Keep a floor on the total State Adequacy funding of $566 million; as ADMs decline statewide, use funds to remove cap, and then make funds available for early childhood education
  • Support flexibility in implementation of State standards and testing so parents, teachers, administrators and school boards can achieve the best results for students
  • Prioritize restoration of School Building Aid in Capital Budget
  • Explore State incentives for increased online education and broadband availability
  • Support innovative teacher professional development through reduced tuition at CCNH and USNH
  • Provide reasonable Adequacy grants for Charter School students without undermining funding for public schools
  • Recognize the strength of diversity in changing school demographics; prepare teachers and administrators for challenges of language, culture, and race, utilizing the resources of Dover Adult Learning Center, UNH, NAACP, and other organizations
  • Continue legislative actions to ensure student privacy
  • Work with SB 348 Commission to determine best practices in Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Education, and explore public/private partnerships and potential funding sources without burdening teachers or local budgets
  • Enhance civic education and public service through Constitution Day, New Hampshire History Week, State House visits, and other statewide events

Career and Technical Education Centers

CTEs are essential building blocks of our economy as they educate students for careers requiring technical skills. District 4 can be a statewide leader in this effort.

  • Monitor State provision of $13.5 million for Dover CTE and facilitate partnership with Department of Education on this project
  • Work with Somersworth and Rochester on State CTE funding for a possible joint center, or secure funds for individual projects on expedited schedule and at 75/25 state/local funding formula; sponsor any needed enabling legislation
  • Support Green Schools standards in CTE construction
  • Senate Bill 335 Commission to promote partnerships between businesses and CTEs, examine internships on the BizEd connect model, explore increased funding, and develop my tax credit plan for donations of equipment and personnel time to CTEs
  • Increase Running Start scholarships or provide free tuition and increase incentives for teachers and professors to participate; extend Running Start program to USNH campuses; expand STEAM Ahead program to other schools.

Higher Education Innovation, Costs and Student Debt

New Hampshire student debt, averaging about $33,000, is a serious burden on graduates and their families, and it is often a disincentive for graduates to stay in New Hampshire or enter fields such as teaching.

  • Support USNH tuition freeze and CCSNH tuition reduction in return for increased State fundin
  • Support UNH Sciences building in capital budget to increase capacity in STEM fields
  • Support dual degree programs such as the GBCC/UNH partnership
  • Use online courses to reduce costs
  • Explore restructuring the four-year experience to allow students to earn low-cost credits through experiential education, summer internships, etc., with the goal of permitting up to one semester of credit in alternative, low- or no-cost education
  • Explore economic incentives through Work, Stay, and Play for companies that help pay down student debt of employees
  • Support local school district efforts to provide student debt relief grants as incentives to hire and retain teachers in STEM fields, and contract provision of grants to pay down student debt principle