Tag Archives: DOE

NH DOE : STUNNING ADMISSION on the Smarter Balanced Assessment

NH DoE Deputy Commissioner Paul Leather states that “The state system is required by federal law [to administer Smarter Balanced Assessments] but [these assessments] may NOT help us improve teaching and learning.  (Excerpt from http://www.governor.nh.gov/media/news/2015/pr-2015-03-05-pace.htm)

The Deputy Commissioner just acknowledged that the statewide assessment “MAY NOT HELP  IMPROVE TEACHING AND LEARNING.”

So why waste the time on Smarter Balanced testing?

ANSWER: For the federal dollars!!!
Paul Leather

Why the NH DOE Commissioner Barry Needs To Be Censured

Why The NH DOE Commissioner Virginia Barry Needs To Be Censured
by John Lyscars

To David, John, Gregory, Bill, David, House Education, Emma, Molly, Virginia, Gary, Kevin, Helen, Tom, Cindy, Nancy…

Good Morning Senator Boutin,

I have copied the state legislators who have a keen interest in the future of NH education of our children and am hopeful that you and other Senators and Representatives can reign in some of the unelected positions within the NH Department of Education. Please let me explain.

Last night, at a Hooksett School Board meeting, I made the following motion, and while making the motion I clearly stated that the motion did not put the Superintendent or School District in any path of violating the law.

Motion: “Upon a parent or guardian submitting a notification to the Hooksett School District to refuse their child participate in the Smarter Balanced Assessment Test, the Hooksett School District is responsible for bringing that child to an alternate location with supervision for the duration of the testing period. Furthermore, no penalties will be assessed to children who do not participate in the Smarter Balanced Assessment Test.”

Unfortunately, the Superintendent had included in his updates the following Technical Service Advisory from Commissioner Barry…


…which included scare tactics to be employed against the parents and elected school board members, and because of this, the motion was defeated, with most of the arguments stating that the Board did not want to put the district or the Superintendent in a position of violating the law.

As a life long citizen of New Hampshire, USAF Veteran and elected Hooksett School Board member, I am calling on those in the Senate and House who value the protection of children and parents ultimate rights to refuse the Smarter Balanced Assessment Tests for their child to formally censure Commissioner Virginia Barry and any other officials who are not elected by New Hampshire constituents, and who participate in these types of tactics, to remind them that irresponsible and heavy handed statements carry a great deal of weight down here close to the children and parents, and that irresponsible scare tactics will not be tolerated by our elected legislative body.

Respectfully Submitted,
John Lyscars
Founder – H.E.L.P. – Higher Education Lifts People

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
~Martin Luther King Jr.

The New Hampshire Dept. of Ed. Will STOP BULLYING the Manchester School Districts

Hopefully, the Department will stop bullying the other school districts as well.  
The Department never held a single Public Hearing on the proposed Smarter Balanced Assessments. It’s not surprising that many school board members, principals and teachers are opposed to them, including some in Nashua. 
Read more from NH Families for Education here

From the Manchester Union Leader

Refusing to Administer Smarter Balanced Assessments does NOT Jeopardize State Funding: “[Manchester] School district to receive millions withheld by state”

New Hampshire Union Leader

MANCHESTER – City officials have prevailed upon the state Department of Education to release millions of dollars in federal funds that they say the agency withheld over the school district’s efforts to opt out of the Smarter Balanced assessment test.

Manchester Superintendent Debra Livingston said DOE Commissioner Virginia Barry told her, without elaborating, that the funds would be made available.

“I just got a call that the money is being released,” she said Wednesday. “That was the extent of the conversation.”

Livingston wrote a letter to Barry earlier this month expressing concern that the district had only received $460,000 out of $4.2 million in anticipated federal reimbursements so far this school year.

“The district has received information that the New Hampshire Department of Education (NHDOE) may not be remitting or processing the District’s grant funds/applications over concerns about the District’s anticipated noncompliance with the administration of the Smarter Balanced Assessment,” Livingston wrote. “The District is very concerned that failure to timely remit or process such grant funds/applications could have serious financial consequences for the District and more importantly its students.”

The letter was copied to the governor, top legislative leaders and the state’s entire Congressional delegation.

Barry did not return several phone calls last week.

Livingston wrote the letter at the urging of Mayor Ted Gatsas and with the full support of the school board.

Gatsas has steadfastly maintained that the state DOE assured him the district would be able to implement its own assessment test as part of a broader effort to develop its own curriculum as an alternative to the Common Core State Standards.

The Smarter Balanced test, set to be administered statewide in the spring as the successor to the NECAP test, is aligned with Common Core.

Common Core has been assailed by conservative activists as an attempt by the federal government to impose unsound and ideological standards on local school districts. A growing number of parents and teachers across the country also have criticized the standards and their implementation.

Gatsas said he would insist on getting “in writing” the commitment from the state DOE to release the federal funds to the district.

The decision may weaken one lever of control wielded by the state DOE in the standoff over Smarter Balanced: the roughly $21 million in federal funds the district receives annually to support a wide array of programs aimed at assisting low-income students and struggling schools.

Manchester, the state’s largest school district, is now poised to be one of only a few to not participate in the Smarter Balanced assessment in the spring.

The move is likely to further exacerbate the rift with state education officials, who have long lamented the district’s comparatively poor performance on statewide assessments and higher than average dropout rates.

In place of Smarter Balanced, district officials are considering using an assessment test developed by the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA), a Portland, Ore.-based company that has provided consulting services to the district in the past.

“The NWEA is very broad-based,” Livingston said. “It’s very similar to Smarter Balanced.”

At the same time, Livingston said should the district go with a NWEA assessment, some adjustments to the newly implemented Manchester Academic Standards would likely be in order. Test scores could suffer as a result, she said, at least the first time the assessment is administered.

In any case, she said, “Any kind of testing right now is to establish a baseline to see where we’re at.”