Learn Everywhere Supports Students

This Thursday, May 23rd, the entire NH House of Representatives will vote on a bill that seeks to repeal an education initiative that hasn’t even started yet. It is the Learn Everywhere program that was created in 2018 and has been going through the development process in the Department of Education.

This innovative program would bring more educational opportunities outside the typical classroom experience to public high-school students. It adheres to the state’s philosophy and statutes, maintains the strong tradition of local control, while allowing greater flexibility for students to pursue interests and potential careers while earning high-school credit. Local school districts may have policies governing how many credits from alternative learning options may be applied towards graduation, so this does not diminish local districts’ control for granting diplomas.

Sadly, partisan politics is again trying to eliminate educational options. Contact your state representatives before Thursday, asking them to oppose the repeal of Learn Everywhere, and vote against SB 140.

To find your Representatives, go to “Who’s My Legislator?” Brief and polite phone calls and emails are effective, especially if you mention you are a constituent.

The following is written by Lisa Freeman, a former state representative and current member of the Manchester Board of School Committee.

As a current member of the largest school board and school district in the state, one of the largest challenges, has been closing the “achievement gap.”

Closing that achievement gap begins with recognizing that the four walls of a school building are not always the best option for all students.

Offering diverse experiences to our students in a number of programs such as sports, employment, volunteering, academic clubs, etc…, increases their education opportunities in areas that are of interest to the student. We are acknowledging that their experiences are valid and, with caring supervision, these experiences, can and should, be counted towards course credits. This allows for a richer and more robust educational experience for kids who might otherwise “fall through the cracks.”

Currently, the NH Department of Education authorizes local school districts to issue credits as they see fit within the parameters of each district’s graduation requirements.

“Learn everywhere” creates enormous potential for nonprofit organizations, as well as businesses to assist in effectively educating New Hampshire’s youth. For example, at Manchester West High School we have “Velcro University,” which provides students with a progressive and customized learning program as well as providing a credited internship program.

Programs like this would flourish under “Learn Everywhere,” allowing students who might not wish to, or cannot afford to, follow the traditional four to eight-year college route to learn valuable skills in actual workplaces. These students would come out of college, if they choose college, with much of their education credited, and a huge advantage over their peers.

By repealing the “Learn Everywhere” program we would, tragically, stunt the potential of students who learn more effectively through the use of “autodidacticism” and other less conventional methods.

I urge everyone who is truly committed to providing opportunities to all our students, whether those students learn better in classrooms or workrooms, to contact their state legislators and urge them to vote “NO” on repealing this crucial and much needed program. Vote NO on SB 140.