January 22, 2019

 Dear Friends,  

The 2019 New Hampshire legislative session begins this week.  Since swearing in December 5, Senators have been honing legislation for introduction; committees are convened and will begin consideration of bills this week and next.  The pace will be quick.  To see what is under consideration in Senate committee or to look up a bill, go to http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/senate/default.aspxor in the House http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/house/default.aspx.

 This session I’m sponsoring 24 bills and co-sponsoring 60 more.  Your testimony on these would be most helpful.  Sponsored bills attracting the most attention are:

·     Career Readiness Drive to 65 – coordinated pathways from high school to careers and college 

·     Graduate Retention Incentive Partnership (GRIP) – a coordinated system of retaining NH 2- and 4-year college graduates and employing them in NH

·     Telemedicine – expanding covered services to primary care and in-home care, store and forward patient information, and recognizing costs of originating sites

·     Special Education Funding – ensuring the state meets its statutory obligation to reimburse extraordinary school district costs

·     Therapeutic Marijuana – eliminating 90-day wait time after physician has prescribed use 

·     Study violence against school personnel to provide guidance to school districts – violence is an unspoken reality of student emotional and behavioral disorders

·     Election-day holiday - adding biennial statewide primaries and presidential primary to state recognized holidays; addresses area concerns about schools being open when they are town polling places.  General election day is already a holiday

·     Mental health workforce shortages – accelerating license review and privileged communications, and advancing technology that facilitates wrap-around services

Senate Education and Workforce Committee

I am chairing the Senate Education and Workforce Committee.  We’ll hear 25 Senate bills over the next 8 weeks.  The House Education Committee will hear at least 60 bills.  The Concord Monitor ran three editorials last week on the Governor’s and Commissioner Edelblut’s proposals for Learn Everywhere and Career Academies, including the one I wrote with Rep. Myler that appeared in the Keene Sentinel.  I added a consolidated PDF of all 3 at the end of this newsletter.  

Senate Finance Committee

I am also serving on the Senate Finance Committee. With a state surplus predicted because of under-estimation of revenue, there is an opportunity to address some high priorities such as priming the workforce, fixing mental healthcare gaps, and addressing child neglect and abuse. You’ll see more about these possibilities over the next few weeks. 

Town Meetings Continue

I’m determined to keep in touch with Town Select Boards.  This month I visited Harrisville, Swanzey, and Chesterfield.  I continue to meet with the Monadnock Healthcare Workforce Group (convened by Cathy Gray, Cedarcrest) and the Monadnock Broadband Group (convened by Tim Murphy, SWRPC).  Look for more news on Chesterfield implementing a municipal broadband access proposal, unveiled by Jon McKeon and Brad Roscoe this week, the first use of the SB 170 initiative I sponsored last year, which allows towns to contribute to local broadband access.  With the Healthcare Group, we’re working on a number of ways the legislature can accelerate licensure of nurses and mental healthcare staff.  

This next month includes town deliberative sessions. There’s lots of interest in school funding (see the education editorials below).  I’m following through on your concerns about school funding dependence on property taxes, downshifting of costs to local districts, and the need for property tax relief. 

I hope you’ll keep in touch on matters of interest to you and on which you’d like to testify.  Nothing is more effective than putting a Cheshire County voice to an issue of local importance. 


Jay Kahn

State Senator 

District 10

Concord Monitor attachment below

1/18/2019 Sen. Jay Kahn and Rep. Mel Myler: Sununu proposals won’t help public education, taxpayers

https://www.concordmonitor.com/NH-education-opportunities-abound-22686198 1/3

Opinion > Columns (/Opinion/Columns/)

Sen. Jay Kahn and Rep. Mel Myler:

Sununu proposals won’t help public

education, taxpayers


For the Monitor

Saturday, January 12, 2019

It’s time to hit the pause button on Gov. Chris Sununu’s “Learn Everywhere” and “Career

Academies” proposals announced last week. These proposals seem to pull funding away from

public schools and stand in contrast to what voters feel is the biggest issue facing N.H. public

schools: a lack of state funding and the dependence on property tax revenues.

Unfortunately, the governor brushed over this priority to focus on two programs that likely

draw funds away from public schools.

The “Learn Everywhere” proposal was unveiled at a recent State Board of Education meeting

by Commissioner Frank Edelblut. The first paragraph defines Learn Everywhere’s scope: “shall

apply to any for-pro􀃒t or non-pro􀃒t entity or individual that o􀃗ers an educational program that

meets minimum standards for approval to grant credit leading to graduation.” Because the

“Learn Everywhere” programs will be approved by the State Board of Education, not local

school boards, this seems like a backdoor apparatus to limit local control for these alternative


We have locally elected school boards that approve curriculum based on community needs.

We need to let them do their jobs, not create more state hierarchies and bureaucracies to

divert public dollars that could otherwise be used to support local public schools.

Most educators and legislators agree there should be flexibility in meeting minimum school

competencies for graduation. That’s why alternative pathways, extended learning

opportunities and apprenticeships are already authorized in state statutes – and are defined at

the local level. One should be suspect of the desire to use parallel approval processes at the

State Board of Education that undermine local control and ultimately lead to state

endorsement of for-profit and private-school education.

The “Career Academies” proposal is based on a charter school program in Rochester with

Spaulding High School and a large employer, Albany Safran, that hasn’t yet graduated a

student. It is in fact a certificate degree program within a four-year high school curriculum. It’s

1/18/2019 Sen. Jay Kahn and Rep. Mel Myler: Sununu proposals won’t help public education, taxpayers

https://www.concordmonitor.com/NH-education-opportunities-abound-22686198 2/3

been turned into a charter school model, one that receives more state funding per student

than a public school student. The Governor stated we can do this without legislative

consideration. We believe that would be a mistake. Questions abound: How many academies?

Why are they needed? Will local school boards have input? Who pays the bill? Are we adding

administrative costs?

The structure for career academies already exists through concurrent enrollment in the

community college system approved courses offered to public high school juniors and seniors.

Currently, there are 28 career-technical education centers across the state serving students in

all 80 public high schools with courses that accelerate certificate and community college

associate degree completion.

A legislative initiative, “Career Readiness Drive to 65,” will be considered this session and is

designed to enhance, not replace, current structures. This initiative is based on goals

articulated by N.H. business and education leaders over the past three years – to ensure 65

percent of our workforce has a post-secondary, value added credential by 2025. High School

Career Readiness credentials would be offered in advanced manufacturing, information

technologies, trades apprenticeship programs, nurse assistants and more.

Drive to 65 envisions a holistic approach, whereby in ninth grade, career aspiration

assessment would occur so that the high school/community college/advanced placement

course mapping could occur prior to 10th grade. Concurrent enrollment access would be

expanded to 10th through 12th grades. Additional transcripting capability would verify that

students earned a career readiness credential.

The program is designed to accelerate pathways into the workforce, reducing employer costs

and risks, and accelerating entry to post-secondary education, reducing the student’s cost and

time to a college degree. The program will be guided by the state’s Advisory Council on Career

and Technical Education.

The process by which we improve education in our state is critically important. It’s not trying to

grab a headline or reinvent the wheel. We’re committed to doing the hard work, to work within

our existing educational structures to meet local needs – not by creating redundant structures.

The governor’s aversion to recurring funding support for public schools is ignoring the voters’

top issue – property tax relief. One-time grant funding to public schools offered the last two

years isn’t a sustainable approach to help property owners or balance school funding

inequities. We must make sure the state is meeting its commitments as we consider new


There is time over the next six months for the Governor and commissioner to work with the

Legislature and educators to do the best we can for N.H. students, employers and taxpayers.

The public should expect this from their elected and appointed officials.

1/18/2019 Sen. Jay Kahn and Rep. Mel Myler: Sununu proposals won’t help public education, taxpayers

https://www.concordmonitor.com/NH-education-opportunities-abound-22686198 3/3

(Sen. Jay Kahn, a Keene Democrat, is chairman of the Senate Education and Workforce

Development Committee. Rep. Mel Myler, a Contoocook Democrat, is chairman of the House

Education Committee.) 


Opinion > Editorials (/Opinion/Editorials/)

Editorial: Edelblut’s diagnosis of what

ails N.H. education is way off 

Thursday, January 17, 2019

If education were a patient brought into the emergency room by first responders, and N.H.

Department of Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut was the chief of surgery, we fear that

with just a glance at the patient he would order a pedicure, a prostate exam and a haircut.

Edelblut, in his recent column (https://www.concordmonitor.com/Education-innovation-is-the-

NH-way-22765978) rebutting criticism of new alternative education programs backed by

himself and Gov. Chris Sununu (Monitor Opinion, Jan. 15), completely ignored the very real and

grave problem afflicting public education in much of New Hampshire.

To return to the patient metaphor, public education is emaciated for want of state funding and

at risk of being bled by continued attempts at privatization.

Edelblut, a home-schooling fan and fervent proponent of alternatives to public schools, points

to “a growing disparity in student performance.” He rightly notes that the performance gap

between students from economically advantaged and disadvantaged homes continues to

increase despite the high overall national ranking of the state’s public schools.

His diagnosis? Public school education is failing to meet the needs of too many children. His

prescription: expand opportunities, both public and private, for kids to learn outside of school

to keep school from getting in the way of their education.

Programs touted by Edelblut and the governor include LearnEverywhereNH and the N.H.

Career Academy. Both programs have value and both will likely bene􀃒t some small portion

of students for whom traditional schools, which are evolving constantly, are not a good 􀃒t. But

they and their kin won’t cure what ails public education in New Hampshire, which, though of

better quality than what’s offered in most states, is far behind what it should be in a global


In a 2017 worldwide test of the science, math and reading abilities of 15 year olds, the United

States placed 24th, 24th and 49th, respectively, behind nations like Latvia, Macao and Vietnam.

What Edelblut doesn’t mention is that in New Hampshire many children from disadvantaged

homes live in disadvantaged school districts, and the gap between schools in property-rich and

property-poor towns has been getting worse, not better, with some schools spending twice as

1/18/2019 Editorial: Edelblut’s diagnosis of what ails N.H. education is way off

https://www.concordmonitor.com/The-real-challenges-for-public-education-22819785 2/2

much per pupil as others. Schools in places like Pittsfield, Franklin, Claremont and Allenstown

cannot attract or keep experienced teachers, who can earn far better pay in well-o􀃗 school


With state building aid suspended and taxpayers already struggling to remain in their homes,

such communities can’t build new, modern schools and provide the amenities other school

districts offer.

In fact, most struggle to provide the basics.

The gap is also growing in the tax rate property owners in rich and poor communities pay to

support public education. Disparities in educational opportunity and tax fairness were at the

heart of the Claremont school funding lawsuits. The state Supreme Court found financing

public education to be a state, not a local, responsibility.

New Hampshire needs a governor and an education commissioner who accept that reality, not

gloss over it by creating programs that help the few at the expense of the many