Press Releases


Entries in Dept of Education (10)


Governor Hassan Applauds Executive Council Confirmation of Virginia Barry as Commissioner of Education 

Office of New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan

CONCORD – Following unanimous Executive Council confirmation today of Governor Hassan’s reappointment of Virginia M. Barry, Ph.D. to continue serving as Commissioner of Education, the Governor issued the following statement:

“The confirmation of Virginia Barry as Commissioner of Education is an important step forward in ensuring New Hampshire students receive an education that provides them with the skills, knowledge and innovative thinking needed for success in the 21st century economy. Commissioner Barry has demonstrated steadfast dedication to the children of New Hampshire, and leaders across the education community have praised her ability to bring people together to develop solutions for the challenges facing our schools. I applaud the Executive Council for confirming this dedicated public servant and look forward to working with her to build a stronger, more innovative New Hampshire.”


Governor Hassan to Reappoint Virginia Barry as Commissioner of Education 

Office of New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan

Barry’s Reappointment Would Continue Her Work to Prepare New Hampshire’s Young People for 21st Century Jobs

CONCORD – In order to ensure a strong K-12 public education system that will prepare New Hampshire’s young people for the good jobs of the innovation economy, Governor Maggie Hassan announced today that she will reappoint Virginia M. Barry, Ph.D. to continue serving as Commissioner of Education.

“Preparing our young people for the jobs of today and tomorrow means ensuring that at each step along the way, their education is providing them with the skills, knowledge and innovative thinking needed for success in the 21st century economy,” Governor Hassan said. “Virginia Barry has demonstrated steadfast dedication to the children of New Hampshire, and leaders across the education community have praised her ability to bring people together to develop solutions for the challenges facing our schools.”

Commissioner Barry was sworn in as Commissioner of Education on June 1, 2009 after being unanimously confirmed by the Executive Council. She has over 27 years of experience in education as a teacher, tenured university professor, and provost and vice president for academic affairs and has recently been recognized nationally for supporting a more holistic assessment of student achievement in support of students being college and work ready.

“I thank Governor Hassan for the opportunity to continue our work on behalf of New Hampshire’s children,” Commissioner Barry said. “Serving as the New Hampshire Commissioner of Education is truly a great privilege, and I look forward to working with Governor Hassan to provide our young people with the robust education they need for good, stable careers.”

Commissioner Barry received her B.S., from Florida State University and M.S., from Queens College City University of New York and State University of New York at Stony Brook. She received her Ph.D. Florida State University with post-doctoral studies at New York University, Harvard and William and Mary.

Commissioner Barry’s nomination is subject to confirmation by the Executive Council. Governor Hassan will formally nominate her to the Council at Wednesday’s meeting.


AmericanFederationFor Children - U.S. Department of Education Interference Hurts D.C. Voucher Program Enrollment

Despite bigger appropriation and strong demand, fewer children enrolled for 2012-2013 school year

WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 23, 2012)—The highly successful D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP) enrolled 1,584 children from low-income families for the 2012-2013 school year—fewer students than last year—in a reduction that comes despite a near $5 million increase in funding over the previous school year.

The D.C. Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation (Trust), which administers the program, received nearly 1,500 new applications for the 2012-2013 school year, despite being told not to accept applications after March 31 of this year. In addition, the Trust was not given permission to hold scholarship lotteries for new applicants until July of this year.

The lower enrollment numbers are the result of a year-long effort by the U.S. Department of Education to limit participation in the OSP. In March, President Obama’s FY 2013 budget proposal zeroed out funding for the program, contradicting the law he signed last year. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Chairman Joe Lieberman (I-CT) then sent a letter to the president pressing him and the administration to reverse course and expedite full implementation of the program.

After several weeks of negotiations, Speaker Boehner and Senator Lieberman announced in June that an agreement had been reached with the Department that would fully implement the program. The Department’s overall implementation guidance to the Trust, however, resulted in just 319 children being offered new scholarships and prevented hundreds of additional children from enrolling, including eligible private school children from low-income families who were specifically excluded.

“It is simply tragic that fewer children are participating in the OSP this year given the availability of funds and the incredibly strong demand from low-income District families,” said Kevin P. Chavous, senior advisor to the American Federation for Children and a former D.C. Councilmember. “This program provides children who are most in need with access to a quality education, and it’s appalling that the U.S. Department of Education continues to stand in the way of that vital choice.”

A bipartisan agreement in 2011 reauthorized the D.C. OSP at $20 million annually for five years. Under the FY 2011 budget agreement, the OSP received $15.5 million in funding for the 2011-2012 school year. The appropriation for FY 2012 was $20 million, which covered the 2012-2013 school year. For FY 2013, Congress is currently operating under a continuing resolution through March 31, 2013, which includes authority for the OSP to spend at an annual rate of $20 million.

Following reauthorization of the OSP last year, the demand was so strong that enrollment went from just over 1,000 children to more than 1,600— a 60 percent increase for the 2010-2011 school year. Demand was equally strong heading into this school year.

“Nearly 1,500 low-income families submitted applications to enroll their children in the OSP, but DOE’s guidance meant only 319 were offered scholarships,” Chavous said. “That’s not in the spirit of giving every child hope, that’s not fighting for equal access regardless of family income, and that’s not following the law.”

Because of the limited number of new students participating, a credible federal evaluation of the program cannot be initiated this year. The previous evaluation of the program found that OSP students graduate at a rate of 91 percent—more than 20 percentage points higher than those interested in the program, but who did not receive a scholarship. A subsequent study by the D.C. Trust found that 94 percent of participating students graduated in 2010 and 2011, and 89 percent of those graduates enrolled in a two- or four-year college. The program also enjoys very high parental satisfaction, with 92 percent of parents reporting being very or somewhat happy with their child’s academic progress in the program.

The D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program is the only federally-funded private school voucher program. Since its inception in 2004, more than 11,000 families have applied for the program, and nearly 6,000 have received scholarships.

Read this release online here.


Shea-Porter for Congress - Republican Young Guns SuperPac calls a Guinta proposal "extreme"

New Hampshire- Today, former Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter, who is running for Congress in the First Congressional District, released the following statement.

Republican Super PAC run by those close to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is attacking a Republican candidate's call to abolish the Department of Education as too "extreme." The Young Guns Super PAC is run by Eric Cantor's ex-aides, and takes its very name "Young Guns" from the self-described "young gun" House Majority Leader Cantor. The Super PAC has been actively trying to defeat one of the Republican primary candidates and they give this as a main reason.  The Young Guns Super PAC believes as I do--that Congressman Frank Guinta's call to abolish the Department of Education is too "extreme."  Clearly, even Eric Cantor's crowd knows that those who want to abolish the Department of Education, including Congressman Frank Guinta, are too extreme and should be defeated."



Shea-Porter statement on House Republican Budget

New Hampshire-  Today, former Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter, who is running for the NH-01 Congressional seat, released the following statement on the House Republican Budget.

"Congressman Guinta and his fellow Republicans have once again taken aim at the old, the young, the sick, the poor, and the middle class. We need  to shrink the deficit, but I will not support doing that by giving tax cuts to the very wealthy and to oil companies, rewarding companies that send jobs out of the country, ending Medicare and turning it into a voucher program, cutting Pell grants that help students pay for college, and by cutting too deeply into the budget. Congressman Guinta supports this budget because he does not believe in government--he has said that he wants to privatize Social Security and Medicare, the Department of Education, the EPA, the Department of Energy, Amtrak, medical research, and so many other programs. Congressman Guinta is too extreme for New Hampshire, and his budget is too extreme for New Hampshire also."