Gov. Sununu addresses education, NH environmental concerns during DC trip
CONCORD — Gov. Chris Sununu had a busy Monday in the nation's capital that included meeting with Secretary of Education Betsy Devos, as well as an impromptu meeting with senior Environmental Protection Agency officials.
Sununu said he and Devos talked a lot about creating workforce pathways for students as early as the sixth grade. He said they want to make sure that students have a choice when it comes to taking more creative classes and classes that are going to help them achieve their career goals.
"We talked very directly about charter school grants, which we have not received in this state for quite some time, but we are applying for again," Sununu said. He said New Hampshire has seen some great successes with its charter schools.
"We're going to keep promoting them, and they provide a great alternative within the public school system," Sununu said.
Also discussed between Sununu and Devos was a recently passed bill that changes the number of times students must participate in statewide standardized testing. HB 166 changes statewide standardized test requirements to mandate one statewide standardized test in elementary, middle and high school. Currently, students must take a statewide standardized test in grades 3 through 8, and one in high school. Under the new law, in the years that third- through eighth-grade students don't take a statewide exam, the schools will be required to administer their own standardized tests to evaluate progress.
Sununu said they are hoping to get a waiver from the Federal Department of Education to allow the process to take place.
"It's going to free up time in the classroom for teachers, time to create more individualized lesson planning and things of that nature," Sununu said.
Sununu also attended an unplanned meeting with senior staff from the Environmental Protection Agency that he said came together at the last minute.
"Administrator Pruitt was not available, but we sat with some of his senior staff instead," Sununu said. He said the meeting was a great opportunity to make sure members of the EPA are familiar with New Hampshire's environmental concerns and needs. He said he also wanted the EPA to see that regulatory oversight should come from the state rather than the federal government.
"We frankly just understand the dynamics of what were doing socially, economically and environmentally, better than the bureaucrats in Washington do," he said. According to Sununu, the advisers seemed to be "very much on board with that concept."
Sununu also met with U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary, Elaine Chao, Federal Communications Commission Chairman, Ajit Pai, and U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator, Linda McMahon, to discuss a variety of issues affecting the Granite State.