The truth about equitable education in New Hampshire

Published: 9/19/2020 6:00:03 AM

Candidates for state representative receive questionnaires from numerous organizations. They often contain “loaded” questions, but the most incendiary was not from an advocacy group but from the League of Women Voters: “What should state government do to ensure an equitable, quality public education for all children pre-K through grade 12?”

The N.H. Constitution as interpreted by the N.H. Supreme Court requires that all students receive an “adequate” education not an “equitable” one. Under the standard of Brown v. Board of Education, equitable schools would require uniform teacher salaries statewide, a state-imposed curriculum, building aid targeted to the most obsolete facilities, etc. The Legislature is not even funding a truly “adequate” education; there is no way right now that they will find the money for “equitable.”

More significantly, even people and groups that take pride in their sense of social justice may not want equitable education.

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Commission weighs new way to determine education adequacy | New Hampshire

CONCORD, N.H. — The education funding commission is exploring a different approach to determining an adequate education and how to distribute money to achieve the goal.

Instead of an input method with parameters and set amounts of per-pupil aid, the commission wants to use a system that determines how much each school district needs in total money to achieve the state average for student outcomes.

Each school’s outcomes are based on assessment scores, graduation rates and attendance rates.

Under the model developed by American Institutes for Research, the model projects the amount per student each school needs to provide its students with the opportunity to achieve the state average outcome, and then uses a weighting formula to reach the amount of money needed.

The current formula is not based on outcomes, but has a basic per-pupil grant of about $3,700 per student and then provides additional state stipends for students

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