Subject: Governor Sununu’s Pick for Education Commissioner is Unfit for the Job
Important info - the more you know.
Governor Sununu’s pick for NH Commissioner of Education – Frank Edelblut – is unfit for the job.
First off, one-term State Rep. Frank Edelblut lacks the necessary qualifications to lead the Department of Education. He has no formal background or training in education. He has never once served on a local school board. He home schooled his own seven children but has no experience with public schools, which the majority of our state’s children attend.
The state law is very clear: the commissioner must be qualified “by reason of education and experience.” Edelblut fails to pass the test on both counts. His only real experience with public education includes voting to divert taxpayer dollars to private and religious schools, opposing full-day kindergarten, and allowing parents and guardians to opt their students out of the statewide assessment test. In fact, on his Live Free or Die candidate questionnaire just a few months ago, the only question he skipped was whether he thinks statewide assessment tests should exist or what alternative he would propose.
Edelblut’s lack of qualifications aren’t the only reason he is unfit for the job. As Commissioner of Education, Frank Edelblut would be responsible for the adequate education and safety of all of our school children. That’s why it’s so concerning that:
• Edelblut sponsored an ALEC model Parental Rights Amendment that would remove community protections for children. This bill would have given a parent the final word on their child's health, education and welfare – even if it meant the child was put at risk or danger. Advocacy groups spoke out against this bill here and in other states because of the potential for it to remove community protections for children and/or to interfere with an adequate and inclusive education, including whether to provide any education at all.
• Edelblut voted against banning unethical gay conversion therapy seeking to change a child's sexual orientation or gender identity. In testimony, Edelblut compared this anti-LGBT counseling to counseling to end a smoking, drinking, or drug habit. He also spoke out against the Obama administration’s Department of Education guidance on transgender students which sought to ensure transgender students enjoy a supportive and nondiscriminatory school environment.
• Edelblut voted against requiring the Department of Education to designate a dyslexia specialist to support school districts with dyslexic students. The bipartisan bill, which became a law despite Edelblut, required the Commissioner of the Department of Education to designate a reading specialist to provide support and resources to school districts for identifying and assisting students with dyslexia and related disorders and their families. The bill originated from a study committee that was tasked with identifying ways to improve outcomes for dyslexic students.
• Edelblut recently refused to answer a reporter's question about whether he’d support teaching creationism in science curriculum, stating: "“In science, we should study all theories of human origins, all legitimate or substantive theories of human origins … What I would advocate is for good science, and good science should support all theories of human origins, whatever they might be.”
Additionally, Edelblut voted last spring to force all state-funded facilities to allow guns on their premises, including hospitals, day care centers, drug treatment centers, and halfway houses – would Education Commissioner Edelblut also advocate for even more guns in public schools?
Governor Sununu made the wrong choice. By the letter of the law, Frank Edelblut is not qualified for the role of Commissioner of Education, and even if he were, his views make him unfit to serve.
Send a letter to the Executive Councilors calling on them to reject Sununu’s nomination of Frank Edelblut (sample message included)
Sign up to attend the public hearing with us on Tuesday, January 31st at 1:00 PM in the Executive Council Chamber, 107 North Main Street, State House, Room 207, Concord (email firstname.lastname@example.org)
It’s important that we speak up for a strong public education, and for leaders who will create a positive learning environment for all children regardless of their background, identity, or ability.
Zandra, Tim C., Tim, and the rest of the Granite State Progress team