E-Edition Advertise Subscribe Login Newsletter SignUp
Home News Sports Opinion Politics Things To Do Obituaries Classifieds Search

Part 1: New standards continue a decades-long push toward competency-based education in the Granite State

SARAH DONOVAN - 22:14:39

Granite State News Collaborative
Published: 10-03-2023 - 18:14:39

New Hampshire is nearing the end of a more than three-year effort to revamp the state's core educational standards. When approved early next year, these new rules will steer the course of public education for at least the next decade. In this continuing series of stories, the Granite State New Collaborative will explore what those changes are, how they came about and what they mean for the future of public education in the Granite State.

Over decades as a teacher, administrator and educational consultant, Rose Colby has seen first-hand the difference between traditional teaching and competency-based education, an approach that encourages students to apply their learning to real-world situations.

For example, rather than passing a test after learning about solar energy, students following a competency-based model might be asked to build their own solar-powered cooker, she said.

"That's a much deeper assessment of a student," said Colby, who was a teacher and administrator in Goffstown and worked as the Competency Education Consultant for the N.H. Department of Education from 2007-2014, but is no longer associated with the department.

Although competency-based educationmay be a new term to many Granite Staters, there has been a slow transition to this model in the state since 2004. But that pace is likely to increase as the Department of Education is preparing a broad set of administrative rule reforms aimed at pushing more schools to adopt CBE standards. These "Minimum Standards for Public Schools Approval," better known as the 306s, are undergoing their 10-year update and are expected to be finalized by early next year.

The 306s are part of the Joint Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules established in 1983 by the state legislature to provide legislative oversight in the area of administrative rulemaking by the agencies of the executive branch.

These rules define the minimum standards for public school approval. The document is how the state defines its education system, according to Fred Bramante, president of the National Center for Competency-Based Learning, a non-profit that has been contracted by the state Department of Education to update the rules.

School approval is a mandatory process required by state law (RSA 21-N:9). All children residing in the State of New Hampshire between the ages of 6 and 18 are required to attend an approved public school, approved private school, or an approved home school program.

"The nuts and bolts of public education are defined in this document," Bramante said. "It's a big deal."

Many educators, including Colby, say that CBE is a good thing. Yet they worry that the proposed changes to the 306 rules could dilute the rigor of education, put unfunded and unsupported burdens on teachers and school districts, and even be used as a backdoor approach to defund public schools, all without educator input.

"When you look at the substance of the proposed overhaul, it's problematic," said Nicole Heimarck, executive director of Reaching Higher New Hampshire, a nonpartisan nonprofit focused on providing public policy resources around K-12 education in the state. "With this proposal, the department is moving away from evidence-based practices and really weakening the standards for public school approval."

The changeswhich could be adopted as soon as next year"will have a consequential impact on how New Hampshire does schooling tomorrow and well into the future," Heimarck said.

A revision with limited public oversight

In the past, these every decade updates have been drafted internally by the department. Yet for this update, the DOE, led by Commissioner Frank Edelblut, signed a

ipsum lorem etc.

ipsum lorem etc.

ipsum lorem etc.

ipsum lorem etc.

ipsum lorem etc.


State 10-year transportation plan envisions new roundabout in Concord's South End

Petition asks city council for more information and discussion before Beaver Meadow clubhouse vote

Feeling taxed out in Concord: 'This is how people end up homeless'

N.H. says Facebook's 'rascality' brought in $543 million from N.H. residents this year


High schools: Concord Christian boys' hoops, Pittsfield girls lose season openers

Wrestling preview: Growth of the sport and roster numbers a common theme for area programs

High schools: Concord Christian boys' hoops, Pittsfield girls lose season openers

Division IV boys' basketball preview: Concord Christian looks to keep momentum

MV grad Gavin Wheeler rebounds from heart procedure to help Proctor Academy on the soccer field

Soccer: All-State rosters released; Coe-Brown's Hils, Bow's Smith named D-II Coach of the Year

New England College football will join Commonwealth Coast Conference

Volleyball: Coe-Brown headlines area teams in 2023

'This could happen to anyone': John Stark sophomore overcomes cancer diagnosis to help lead the Generals to a state championship

Cross country: Area runners compete at New Englands

Field hockey season recap: John Stark defends its title

Fall 2023 players of the season

Girls' soccer: Coe-Brown reaches first championship game

Monitor Sports Podcast: Wrapping up the fall

Boys' soccer: Three headlines from the 2023 season

Girls' soccer: Coe-Brown loses to Hollis-Brookline in first-ever championship game appearance

Cross country: Coe-Brown boys finish 3rd, advance to New Englands

Football: Brady falls to top-seeded Newport in D-IV semifinals

Football: John Stark competes hard, but falls to Plymouth in first playoff appearance since 2018

Volleyball: Coe-Brown's season of 'grit' ends with championship loss to Oyster River

Boys' soccer: Bow takes down Lebanon 2-1, wins first ever Division II title


Letter: Why so high a price?

Letter: Elderly exemption

Letter: Bills to help coyotes

Letter: Community center at Beaver Meadow

Letter: Politicians that live down to expectations

Opinion: How to account for the human cost of climate change

Opinion: The need to let suffering speak is a condition of all truth

Letter: Rebuild at Rundlett

Letter: Medicare dis-Advantage

Letter: True cost to move middle school to BG

Letter: Remembering Grace Walker

Opinion: Restoring craftsmanship to save the world

Opinion: The cycle of war

Letter: Soup recipe issue

Letter: Location of the new middle school

Letter: Spending for a new clubhouse


Things To Do

Concord Chorale holds December concert

Players receive $50,000 matching gift pledge

Is it normal or a problem if your evergreens are browning?

Homeyer: 2023 holiday gifts for the gardener

Holiday folk concert returns to Concord

Holiday artist demo at Twiggs Gallery

Vintage Views: Our beloved depot

Symphony NH to hold Holiday Pops concert in Concord

Around Concord

Local Advertisers



Lend your voice to the discussion, view the Monitor's list of submission forms below:

Concord Monitor Office

1 Monitor Drive
Concord,NH 03301

© 2023 Concord Monitor
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy

Customer Service

• 603-224-4287
• customerservice@cmonitor.com

Social Media



Part of the Newspapers of New England Family

Amherst Bulletin
Athol Daily News
Concord Monitor
Daily Hampshire Gazette
Greenfield Recorder
Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Valley News
Valley Advocate
The Concord Insider