Rep. says GOP education bills 'on verge of absurdity'. Ports. Herald 12/04/11

posted Dec 5, 2011, 3:29 PM by Bill Duncan   [ updated Jan 5, 2012, 11:42 AM ]

Rep. says GOP education bills 'on verge of absurdity'
Contentious debates expected in next session
By Joey Cresta
December 04, 2011 2:00 AM

There is partisan conflict in Concord over Republican desires to provide more local control over education.

A number of bills last session, and many more coming before the Legislature in 2012, propose significant changes to public education in New Hampshire. Republicans and Democrats differ on whether those changes, which strive to take authority from the state and put it in the hands of individual school districts and parents, would improve the quality of education.

The most visible move of 2011 was what opponents described as the "gutting" of funding for the state university and community colleges. Funding for the University of New Hampshire was cut 50 percent, while community colleges received a 30 percent reduction in funding.

A review of 2012 legislative service requests — the first step taken to introduce a bill — turns up numerous education bills for the upcoming session. There are bills about the parental right to object to particular school programs, eliminating the state Department of Education, repealing the 180-day school year requirement, changing the definition of an adequate education, permitting a child age 16 or older to withdraw from school under certain circumstances, and many more.

"One of the things that really concerns me and should concern everyone, and in particular the business community that relies on an educated work force, is what appears to be a systematic attempt to really undermine public education," said House Minority Leader Terie Norelli, D-Portsmouth.

...get the rest at the Portsmouth Herald site....

"I think we're on the verge of absurdity," she said of the Republican initiatives.