Sam Evans-Brown

Environment and Education Reporter

 

Sam Evans-Brown has been working for  New Hampshire Public Radio since 2010, when he began as a freelancer. His work has won several local broadcast journalism awards, and he was a 2013 Steinbrenner Institute Environmental Media Fellow at Carnegie Mellon University. He studied Politics and Spanish at Bates College, and before reporting was variously employed as a Spanish teacher, farmer, bicycle mechanic, ski coach, research assistant, a wilderness trip leader and a technical supporter.

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Education
5:30 am
Fri June 7, 2013

Pulling Back The Camera, What Can We Expect From The Common Core

Credit Thomas Favre-Bulle / Flickr Creative Commons

NHPR’s Sam Evans-Brown has spent this week digging into the Common Core Standards, which will roll out in New Hampshire schools next year.  He joins us now to pull the camera back a bit, and talk about what the Common Core means in the big picture. 

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Education
5:30 am
Thu June 6, 2013

New 'Smarter Balanced' Test Will Ask More Of Students

26 states are signed on the Smarter Balanced Test, which was created with funds from federal Race to the Top Grants. New Hampshire is a "governing member" meaning it has a say in policy decisions made on the tests.
Credit Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium

With the new Common Core State Standards comes a new standardized test, called the Smarter Balanced Assessment. New Hampshire schools will take it for the first time in the spring of 2015, and in many ways, it’s the new test that will determine how the Common Core is taught.

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Education
5:30 am
Wed June 5, 2013

Change To The Common Core Will Be "Messy"

Mahesh Sharma, a math education consultant, works with a class of kindergartners in Meredith as teachers watch during a recent professional development day. Work like this is going on all over the state to get teachers ready for the Common Core
Credit Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

Next year is the deadline for New Hampshire schools to transition to the Common Core State Standards. This means a change in topics for different grades, and a change in how teachers teach. For some schools this will be a big change, but others are well on their way to adapting to the new academic standards.

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Education
5:30 am
Tue June 4, 2013

Common Core Skeptics And Supporters Cut Across Political Boundaries

At the Manchester Curriculum and Instruction Committee meeting last week, slightly more than a dozen concerned citizens turned out to voice their opposition to the district's adopting the Common Core. While activists opposed to the standards are dedicated, in New Hampshire it remains a fringe issue.
Credit Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

The Common Core State Standards, a set of goal posts for public school students that have been adopted by 45 states, are well on their way to being implemented in New Hampshire. But those same standards are at the center of a widening backlash in other states that hasn’t really caught on in New Hampshire.

Support and opposition to the Common Core does not break down cleanly along party lines. On the one hand, Florida’s former Republican governor Jeb Bush is a big supporter of the standards, as are many liberal politicians.

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Education
5:30 am
Mon June 3, 2013

The Common Core State Standards: Not Yet In Place, Already Controversial

Credit Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

As this school year comes to a close, teachers are preparing for next fall, when a massive transition will begin. Starting next year, schools are expected to align their teaching to the Common Core State Standards. Those standards are a set of learning goals for public school students that have been adopted in 45 states and the District of Colombia. Released in 2010, they lay out what students should know when they finish each grade.

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Education
1:09 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

Common Core Comes To New Hampshire

By the 2014-2015 school year, the new Common Core State Standards are set to be in full effect.

  • What are the Common Core standards?
  • Where do they come from?
  • Why the push for new educational standards at all?
  • What arguments are critics making against it?
  • What exactly will change for students & teachers in the classroom?
  • How will the new standardized testing affect school curriculum?

In a week-long series, NHPR education reporter Sam Evans-Brown answers all these questions and more on the Common Core.

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Education
3:33 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Practice Test For NECAP Replacement Released

Credit biologycorner / Flickr Creative Commons

Starting today New Hampshire teachers and students can get a preview of the standardized test that will replace the New England Common Assessment or NECAP in 2015. The Smarter Balanced Assessment opened a practice test to the public Wednesday. The practice tests in Math and English for grades three through eight, and grade eleven can be accessed through the Smarter Balanced consortium’s website.

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Environment
6:36 pm
Thu May 23, 2013

Senate Sends Lower RGGI Cap To Governor

New Hampshire’s Senate has joined the House of Representatives and voted to ratchet down the cap on carbon dioxide restrictions under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or RGGI. Because of the historic rise of cleaner burning natural gas, it’s been easy for  carbon dioxide RGGI’s existing caps. So earlier this year, the RGGI board asked the member states to lower those caps by 45 percent.

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Environment
4:24 pm
Wed May 22, 2013

Lead Fishing Tackle Ban Charges Through N.H. House

Credit aaronHWarren / Flickr Creative Commons

The New Hampshire House of Representatives has voted to ban lead fishing jigs or sinkers that weigh less than an ounce.

The bill had a hard fight to get to this point. Last year it was scuttled in the House after passing unanimously out of the Senate. A big reason for that was opposition from the Fish and Game commission, an appointed body that many see as supportive of sportsmen.  That’s why Republican John Burt from Goffstown voted against the bill.

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Education
4:14 pm
Mon May 20, 2013

N.H. Still Waiting For No Child Left Behind Flexibility

The waiver request from No Child Left Behind has been going through drafts and iterations since last August
Credit Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

New Hampshire will have to wait a little longer for more flexibility from the federal education law No Child Left Behind. The US Department of Education granted three more states waivers today, but New Hampshire was not on the list.

With the addition of Alaska, Hawaii and West Virginia there are now 37 states that the DOE has exempted from many of the requirements of No Child Left Behind. Eight states, including New Hampshire, have waivers pending.

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Environment
3:00 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

New Study: Lawn Fertilizer, Septic Tanks Big Contributors To Great Bay Pollution

The study modeled nitrogen inputs from Non-Point Sources, which is to say, it didn't count outflow from waste water treatment plants.
Credit NH Department of Environmental Services

The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services has released a draft of a major study trying to pin down the sources of nitrogen pollution in the Great Bay Estuary. The results offer some insight, but few easy solutions.

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NH News
12:26 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

N.H. Poll Finds Strong Support For Democratic Incumbents

A poll from New England College finds broad support for Governor Maggie Hassan and Senator Jeanne Shaheen and less support for Senator Kelly Ayotte. The poll shows more voters view Hassan and Shaheen favorably by 30 and 35 point margins, respectively. The polls director, Political Science Professor Ben Tafoya, says Senator Kelly Ayotte has a narrower lead of 5 points.

"I think our take-away is that folks are much more closely divided on their approval of job performance for senator Ayotte then they are for Senator Shaheen or Governor Hassan," says Tafoya.

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Environment
4:49 pm
Thu May 9, 2013

Fiddleheads: Tasty Forest Secrets

Fiddleheads, when fresh-picked, are a vibrant green. After a few days they begin to brown along the stalk.
Credit Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

Fiddleheads are the whimsical, tightly coiled spiral of fern sprouts that push their way up from under the layers of winter debris on the forest floor. They are also a regional and seasonal delicacy, and their season is incredibly short. In some Southern parts of the state, it may already be over. For any given fiddlehead patch, it can last as little as a week and a half.

That means for those who harvest the sprouts, fiddlehead patches are closely guarded secrets.

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Environment
4:58 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

Hassan to Malloy: Hydro Doesn't Need Support

Credit Chris Hunkeler / Flickr Creative Commons

Governor Maggie Hassan has sent a letter to the governor of Connecticut, Democrat Dannel Malloy, asking him to reject changes to that state’s renewable energy laws, called the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). The changes are seen as a boost to the controversial Northern Pass Transmission line.

The Governor Hassan’s letter says the Connecticut proposal that would allow hydro to be counted toward that state’s renewable energy goals quote, “undermines our common goal of fostering new and small-scale renewable resources here in New England.”

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Environment
9:25 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

Connecticut Law Could Be Good For Northern Pass, Bad For N.H. Biomass

Credit Peupleloup / Flickr Creative Commons

Lawmakers in Connecticut are working to review and revamp the rules that encourage renewable electricity generation. And the changes as proposed could be good news for Canadian hydropower, and bad news New 

  Hampshire Biomass.

Democrat Bob Duff chairs the Energy and Technology Committee in the Connecticut State Senate. He’s also a sponsor of a controversial bill on renewable energy.

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