Edelblut's first year: A report cardBy DAVE SOLOMON
State House Bureau
March 04. 2018 11:02PM
During his first year in office, Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut says his department has met several key milestones, including:
• Federal approval of the state’s compliance plan for the Every Student Succeeds Act. “We were able to change the game from a focus on proficiency to being oriented toward growth.”
• Changing the statewide standardized test for elementary grades from the controversial Smarter Balanced assessment, associated with the Common Core Curriculum standards, to a test designed exclusively for New Hampshire students called SAS (Statewide Assessment System).
“We put out a request for proposals, contracted with a company and negotiated a solution that works for New Hampshire.”
• New options for STEM education with enhanced programs for robotics, including a cyber robotics competition that attracted 2,600 students within eight weeks. “We are going to reach a million kids in five years.”
• Administration of a $19M infrastructure fund proposed by Sununu and approved last year by lawmakers, most of which has already been distributed for school safety and security improvements. “In just a couple of months, we’ve pushed out $13 million to local school districts.”
• Legislative approval after a contentious year-long process to reorganize the Department of Education, rename the department’s divisions to reflect what they actually do, and break down barriers that were impeding coordination among divisions. “I don’t know if you’d get 100 percent to agree, but I believe a majority around here would say this is better.”
Edelblut also points to the fact that many of the department’s rules and regulations have been simplified, and he has achieved better coordination with the university system under chancellor Todd Leach, the community college system under chancellor Ross Gittell, and Department of Business and Economic Affairs under Commissioner Taylor Caswell.
“I have a very tight relationship with Ross, Todd and Taylor. We are working as a team to make sure we get good outcomes for our students.”