Greetings charter school supporters!
It's National Charter School Week and we have a number of charter school updates for you.
Students in Manchester had an exciting visitor recently when Governor Hassan stopped by to tour their new school. Mill Falls Charter School welcomed Governor Hassan to campus on Wednesday, April 10th, offering her (and her accompanying staff) warm coffee/tea and breakfast treats. The tour included a brief presentation of their start up story as New Hampshire's first public Montessori school and a presentation by two Mill Falls students who demonstrated how a Montessori work is used to master a concept.
Founder and Board Chairman Meryl Levin said of the visit: "The Governor spent time in all four of our classrooms, and seemed to really enjoy her conversations with the children and staff. She was definitely relaxed in the nurturing environment of a Montessori classroom and was impressed with the level of energy the students put into their daily work. She encouraged the staff to build good channels of communication with other public schools to engage and share our educational approach with the larger community."
Members of the Senate Finance Committee seemed to agree last Friday and questioned why such significant changes were not vetted in policy committee first? The atmosphere was bipartisan, serious and you could tell that committee members wanted to fix what had occurred in the House. Very positive!
Students at the Academy for Science and Design recently received some exciting guests of their own when over a dozen New Hampshire legislators stopped by to tour the school. It was wonderful to see members from both parties present and engaged with students. The tour included a question and answer session and lunch with legislators giving everyone the opportunity to learn more about ASD and the work of the state legislature.
Public charter schools remain trapped in a web of posturing and politics. Whether by coincidence or by design, the BoE's decision to deny all pending charter school applications last September enabled some members of the House to take charter schools and over $5.5 million in federal grant funds hostage during budget negotiations.
It looks as though it will be late June before the madness is over. If this ordeal has taught the state anything it is that we need to separation again between the entity that approves or denies charter school applications and the legislature which funds or does not fund them. HB299 would return the law to its Pre 2011 language and fix the problem however that bill is being held captive in committee. (See trump card video)
You can read more about the posturing and politics in this article by the Associated Press
From the Report, "New Hampshire dropped from #19 to #30 because the state board of education enacted a moratorium on the approval of state-authorized charters".
The State had been making incremental but positive gains over the last few years. In 2011, a change to RSA 194:B removed the cap of 20 schools and made the State Board of Education a permanent charter school authorizer. Only a year later however, the Board denied all pending charter school applications.
If you haven't heard already the Center recently joined the world of social networking on the "interweb". Check out our Facebook page for updates on all things charter schools.