Schooling Freedom in New Hampshire | College Information
New Hampshire has now become one of the nation’s leading states for freedom of education for families and students. Why is freedom of education so important when our public schools are among the best? The basic answer is that even the best school may not be the best educational institution for every student. Children learn differently. The pandemic and distance learning also opened a window for parents to their children’s education. Some parents didn’t like what they saw. And now there is the realization that there are classes in Critical Race Theory and possible new mask duties for students. Many parents want alternatives. And now there are exciting new and expanded options available to you.
Education freedom accounts
Education Freedom Accounts will be a new option for families whose income is below 300% according to state poverty guidelines ($ 79,500 for a family of four) and whose child is eligible to attend a NH public school. A family that registers their child for an account receives government funding for the child that would have gone to the local public school district (an average of $ 4,600 minus administrative costs). Parents can use the funds to tailor education for their child from a list of reimbursable expenses. These include classes in a private school or outside a district public school, curriculum, therapy, tutors, educational software, and transportation. It will be possible to apply for an account at the beginning of August. For more information, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tax Credit Scholarship Program
This program was launched in 2013 and allows companies a tax credit (85%) on their business tax for funds they donate to the scholarship program. Private individuals can do the same for a credit on their interest and dividend taxes. The NH Children’s Scholarship Fund awards scholarships to students. Again, the family income line is 300% of federal poverty. For more information, send an email to email@example.com.
Restoring Bright Futures Learning Pods
This new program starts in September. Our Department of Education has partnered with Prenda Schools to offer these small groups (5-10 students) learning from “pods”. The department will provide federal grants to pay the Prenda leader / teacher in either pods set up by school districts at the request of the family or a group of families creating a “community” capsule. This is also an opportunity for teachers to work in a different setting with a small group of students. Please visit https://prendaschool.com/new-hampshire for more information.
Expansion of the charter schools
The Ministry of Education secured a federal grant for public charter schools in NH – both for new charters and to expand existing charter schools. Charter schools are public schools and require application and approval from the State Board of Education. Students can apply to attend a charter school and the school is funded by government funds after enrollment. Charter schools are free of charge. A list of current charter schools can be found on the Ministry of Education website at https://www.education.nh.gov.
This 2018 program recognizes the fact that children learn outside of the classroom. It expands local school district programs to broader, larger organizations like the NH Academy of Science and Kumon Learning Centers, approved by the State Board of Education. Completion of these programs leads to the award of high school graduation credits. For more information, email Nathaniel.Greene@doe.nh.gov.
Modern States Education Alliance and the College Board
This innovative program is open to all NH high school students to earn college credits. The College Board has developed (CLEP) exams to test students on their knowledge for introductory college courses. The Modern State Education Alliance has developed online courses to prepare students for the CLEP exams. Modern States pays the CLEP exam fees for all NH students taking their free online course. A student can actually earn enough credits to get their first year for free! For more information, contact Jennifer Leakstrom at 215-681-0770 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
These are needs-based scholarships for students who have been negatively affected by the pandemic. There are three categories of scholarships, including two for children with special needs. There are restrictions on family income in each category. The grants range up to $ 5,000 and each has specific allowable uses for the grants. Please visit https://yeseducation.nh.gov for more information.
(Editor’s Note: The Hon. Glenn Cordelli is a five-year member of the District 4 House of Representatives and vice chairman of the Education Committee.)