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Is PACE Coming to Your District?

The NH Commissioner of Education promised the US Education Department that she would transition all NH school districts over to the controversial PACE (Performance Assessment Competency Education) program in her 2015 ESEA (No Child Left Behind) Waiver. The NH legislature refused to authorize PACE program which was proposed in HB 323. The state Senate eliminated PACE from the bill.

Unfortunately the Commissioner is moving forward with PACE regardless without legislative approval. In fact, she's violating state law, RSA 193-C:6, by advising PACE districts to use alternative assessments in lieu of the statewide Smarter Balanced assessments.

In 2014-2015 Sanborn Regional, Souhegan, Epping and Rochester began implementing PACE. In 2015-2016 Concord, Pittsfield, Seacoast Charter and Manchester's Parker Varney Elementary School began implementing PACE.

In Manchester, the School Board never voted to authorize PACE. Parents had no voice. There was no debate or public discussion.

This is the same as the implementation of Common Core, which was "voluntarily" implemented as it's not required by law. However, school administrators implemented Common Core, like they are starting to do with PACE, without the knowledge or consent of parents or school boards. Common Core was implemented without any transparency under the direction of the Commissioner. Superintendents are instructed at monthly meetings of the NH School Administrator Association (NHSAA) which are closed to the public.

Taxpayers pay NHSAA membership dues in their annual school budgets. Taxpayers pay the salaries and transportation costs for their superintendent to attend these monthly meetings. Yet there are no minutes. No transparency. The public is left completely in the dark.

If you want to know where your district is in this process of "voluntarily" implementing PACE, before it's too late, send the following letter to your district superintendent, asking to be fully informed before PACE is implemented.

Dear Superintendent {your district superintendent's name},

Is anything happening in our {your district's name} regarding a transition to Competency Based Education and PACE assessments? PACE was piloted in 4 districts last year, and four more districts are piloting it this year. At least one of these district school boards did not have the opportunity to vote on PACE and parents were not informed.

If {your district's name} is considering moving towards Competency Based Education and Grading system, which is required to pilot the PACE program, and transitioning to PACE assessments, will you please inform parents and have an open discussion on its merits, allowing the public to comment and our elected school board members to vote to authorize these changes?


{your name}

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