GST Christmas Party with Frank Edelblut

by | Jan 29, 2024 | Opinion, Special Alerts

Frank Edelblut was the Keynote Speaker at the December 11, 2023. GST Christmas Party!
Frank reported on Education in New Hampshire and his experiences in reviewing and understanding current practices and procedures and instituting changes to improve effectiveness and efficiency.

Education Commissioner Edelblut began by outlining four Education challenges in New Hampshire:
Demographic Shifts.
NH has approximately 161,000 students (K-12), down 46,000 since 2002.
The downward trend, seen across the country, will continue.

Cost of Education.
Costs, approximately $23,000 per pupil in 2021-22, and total expenditures, continue to go up.
The system is not set up for cost effectiveness.

Education Outcomes.
Proficiency scores are flat or down in NH and in the US. Students generally achieve only about 50%.
The decline has been a long-term trend. In any other field, a 50% success rate would be unacceptable.
Students deserve much better.

Content and transparency.
During Covid, with learning at home, parents were able to see how their kids spend their day in school.
They were surprised by what was being taught, and how little time was being devoted for actual learning.

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Frank then discussed his work to improve the quality of education for New Hampshire students.
Edelblut has sought innovations to make education more market focused, to meet the needs of students, to be self-correcting, and to improve outcomes.

Federal studies since 1964 (Coleman Report) up to 2015 each identified the poor state of education outcomes for American youth. Yet, programs resulting from these studies haven’t improved outcomes.
Commissioner Edelblut believes only market focused innovations that foster competition for students and funding by offering educational excellence, will have benefit.

Innovations Frank has been promoting to help youth include:
Public Charter schools.
The charter school Academy for Science and Design has approximately 100% of its students proficient in math. 500 are on the waiting list. Another example is Lion Heart Academy, with 200 on the waiting list.

Micro Schools.
Similar to a “one room school”, micro-school proposals have been met with opposition by teacher unions.
Innovation being proposed in the interest of students, is opposed by teachers. Unfortunate.

Learn Everywhere programs.
These would enable students to can get credits in a variety of ways, outside the school. Examples would be Robotics, Prager U, with their online, choice-based finance courses for students, and many others.

Education Freedom Accounts.
EFA’s are hugely popular with parents and kids, and successful in helping better their education. Commissioner Edelblut refuted the claim that EFAs drain public school budgets. In a town where $23,000 is spent per student, the state provides about $5,000 of that funding. When a student participates in the EFA program, that state portion follows the student, but the school district keeps the $17,000 remainder (from local taxes), increasing its per pupil budget for the remaining students.
Families are choosing the EFA option when they can, to obtain a quality education for their students.

Bringing change and improvement in the face of opposition from entrenched, well funded organizations is a difficult task which impacts the person advocating for change, but also their spouse and family.

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At the close of the meeting, GST Chairman Chadwick thanked both Commissioner Edelblut and his wife Kathy for their courage and perseverance in support of a better outcome for New Hampshire students.

Posted by: GST Chairman Ray Chadwick

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