‘Learn Everywhere’ bypasses local school boards

Education must be relevant, but it also must be directed by standards and benchmarks

Yes, children are learning everywhere in almost everything they do. So why not have each learning opportunity count for a graduation credit by letting the state Board of Education license community education programs through the program, “Learn Everywhere?”

For one thing, our New Hampshire education system is based on standards being set by the state for an adequate education while giving responsibility to the locally elected school board to set the policy, determine graduation credits and the give local education professionals the responsibility to determine the pedagogy.

The “Learn Everywhere” program promoted by the education commissioner seeks to bypass the local school boards, local educational professionals and the local communities by putting policy and graduation credits in the hands of appointees on the state school board. The local school system will be forced to accept graduation credits from whatever “learning experience” deemed acceptable by the state school board without local input, oversight or management.

New Hampshire public schools offer internships, apprenticeships, career technical education, community service, capstone projects, extended learning opportunities and senior projects, all involving learning out in the community. All are accomplished under the knowledge and approval by the local school board. The local school system and career technical institutes provide a necessary directed and safe, well-thought-out framework for these well-defined learning experiences.

These programs involve oversight from professional educators who set benchmarks or rubrics for the experience. School coordinators contact the outside vendor or person to make sure the experience will be safe and can meet the goals of the project. A teacher or coordinator provides oversight during the experience and develops a method of self-evaluation with the student as well as an assessment to certify the credits.

Educators encourage all students to be lifelong learners, to be curious, thoughtful, critical thinkers, to take their experiences from outside the classroom and relate them to their directed learning with in the classroom. Education must be relevant but it also must be directed by standards and benchmarks. We should be assured that our students are in a safe environment and benefit from quality learning experiences.

New Hampshire schools are ranked in the top of the nation’s schools. We are a national model in competency-based education. New Hampshire’s educational system is successful because we have followed principles of innovation within the framework of educational best practices, guided by professional educators and meeting high standards of achievement — not simply capturing learning anywhere and applying it towards graduation.

NH Rep. Linda Tanner, D-Georges Mills, is a retired longtime public school teacher.

Categories: Opinion