April 3, 2024 - ED306 Proposed Revisions

April 3, 2024


NH State Board of Education

℅ Andrew Cline, Chair

[email protected]


Subject:  ED306 Proposed Revisions

Dear Members of the NH State Board of Education,

The ED306 Rules, Minimum Standards for Public Schools Approval, are the most important standards we have requiring that a high quality education be provided for the students of our great state.  The review and revision of these standards are crucial not only for the more than 160,000 students currently enrolled in our public schools, but also for the students that will be enrolled in the future.  These standards not only impact the aforementioned students, but also the hard working and dedicated employees, as well as the supportive and entrusting families and communities that value the importance of having the highly regarded public education system the Granite State is renowned for across the United States.   It is extremely important, to the point of mission critical, that we get it right, now.

On June 8, 2023, I submitted the attached letter outlining concerns with the initial draft of revisions to the rules.  That letter was written in response to a public presentation facilitated by members of the “306 Task Force” held in Keene on May 11, 2023.  In that letter, it was acknowledged that the rules needed to be updated.  I do not believe that anyone will argue with that.  The letter also highlighted some areas to focus on, specifically, the process, the proposal and moving forward.  These areas are still areas that need to be addressed prior to adopting any changes that are now being proposed, however, I am going to focus on the moving forward part today.

Moving ForwardClear definitions and expectations that advance student growth by requiring equitable access, quality programs and high standards in all of our public schools for all of our students is within our ability and enable us to “ensure that every individual acquires the skills and knowledge to succeed in a competitive global economy and thrive as a 21st century citizen.”  They will enable us to support your mission statement at the local level.

I indicated that the biggest obstacle in moving forward was strengthening trust last June.  Sadly, that continues to remain the biggest obstacle one year later.  Nearly two and a half years of work from the “306 Task Force” that included several listening sessions from around the state was completely undone with the submission before you that was significantly altered prior to presenting it to this Board.  In fairness, there were some very logical improvements that were made that didn’t change intent.  Unfortunately, there were also some major language changes, including complete deletions, that drastically downgraded the degree of standard that will negatively impact and obliterate equity for our students, staff, families and communities across the state.

The institution of public education should be free of ALL political agendas.  Our minimum standards are not a playground to advance the widely observed playbook from one party or another. These are children’s futures and people’s lives that are being manipulated using backdoor tactics that further widen the gap of trust and mistrust.  The one main difference between the initial proposed changes last spring and now is that a papertrail now exists. 

I urge you to carefully consider the impact the proposed changes will have now and in the future for our students by: 

  • Building trust and confidence in our public school system across the state and around the country by ensuring our standards are of value and reflect best practice.
  • Enhancing our standards, not diminishing them.
  • Requiring equitable access, quality programs and high standards in all of our public schools for all of our students.
  • Continuing to advance the work we are doing with regard to competencies.
  • Supporting local decision makers for their innovation in providing a diverse array of educational opportunities that meet and exceed minimum standards.
  • Setting expectations that ensure class sizes are manageable in order to provide the quality attention students need to succeed.
  • Ensuring that a high school diploma is equitable in achievement across the state, regardless of where a student earns it.
  • Nurturing the passion and energy our students and staff bring to school everyday, not stifling it with watered down standards.
  • Holding our schools accountable and supporting them when they stumble.
  • Listening to the experts that have made a career in education, not the voices that are a temporary stop in the field and asking them to help you get it right.
  • Listening to the many people that are speaking up. In my communities, 90.6% of 339 respondents DO NOT support the proposed changes that are before you. 

Consider what these changes will mean to members of your family, your friends and their children, your neighbors and your community, now, five years from now, 10 years from now and beyond.  Help lead New Hampshire back to the #1 US News and World Report ranking we held in 2017 for our pre-K to 12 education system.

And lastly, on behalf of the communities I serve, I urge you to honestly ask yourselves if these proposed changes align with your vision statement “...to provide a world class, personalized, student-centered education in a flexible, innovative learning environment that promotes active engagement to maximize the potential in every individual.”  The document you are considering clearly answers that question and it undeniably does not.

We are trusting YOU to get it right. 


Yours in Education,


Robert Malay

Superintendent of Schools

SAU 29

[email protected]


Cc:               School Communities of SAU 29 Member Districts

                    School Communities of Keene School District Sending Districts