Let’s champion our public schools

Reaching Higher NH will work to ensure the promise of our public schools is available to all

Our public schools are a precious resource for New Hampshire families. And we are extraordinarily well served by our state’s public schools. Seventy percent of Granite State students take the SAT. They score 1566, the highest among high-participation states. Our NAEP scores in fourth- grade math have gone steadily up, and now 59 percent of our fourth-graders are proficient, again the highest in the country. At 87 percent, we have one of the highest graduation rates in the country. 

Yet our schools face real challenges. We have a long way to go to meet the needs of English language learners, students with special needs and those from low-income families while keeping budgets affordable. More than two-thirds of our 12th-graders are not proficient in math and a majority is not proficient in reading. The result is that too many need remedial work in college or in job training. We have over 3,000 STEM job openings a year but must challenge ourselves to ensure that our students have the opportunity to fill them. 

We have formed Reaching Higher NH because we are committed to our children and their schools. We must act now to preserve our strengths, while investing energy and resources to ensure that schools meet the demands we are placing on them. 

We are a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting our public schools and fostering high standards that give all Granite State children the opportunity to prepare successfully for college, careers, and the challenges and opportunities of life in 21st century New Hampshire.

We are bringing together the voices of parents, teachers, businesspeople, civic leaders and community organizations from every region of the state to voice a forward-looking vision for public education in New Hampshire. 

We will be a reliable, nonpartisan resource providing parents, educators, policymakers, school board members and New Hampshire citizens with reliable fact-based information about our public schools and the impact of education policy choices. 

We will advocate for putting students at the center of the educational process. That means inspiring each student to set goals and strive to meet them in is or her own way with the support of parents, teachers and local school boards.

We will advocate for giving educators the support they need to implement rigorous English, math and science standards. And we will support a sensible system of accountability that ensures that all New Hampshire children get a fair shot without being over tested.

Reaching Higher NH will also support efforts to expand access to pre-kindergarten and other early-childhood development initiatives that help all children start out on the right foot.

With the voices of many, Reaching Higher New Hampshire will work to make sure that the promise of New Hampshire’s public schools is available to all for generations to come. 

This article was signed by the board of directors of Reaching Higher NH: Kass Ardinger; Steve Duprey; Lewis M. Feldstein; Mark Joyce; Donnalee Lozeau; Scott McGilvray; Selma Naccach-Hoff; Pawn Nitichan; Tom Rath; and Alan Reische.

Categories: Opinion