Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut is hosting a “Manchester Education Roundtable” with conservative candidates for School Committee, and he’s doing it on taxpayer time
Concord, NH – Governor Chris Sununu’s handpicked Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut is once again using his Commissioner position to engage in politics, this time participating in a one-sided Manchester Board of School Committee candidate forum hosted by candidate Jon DiPietro, an anti-Common Core activist and frequent guest on conservative talk show Girard at Large. Candidates who disagree with Edelblut and DiPietro on education policy did not receive direct invitations to participate. Invited Manchester Board of School Committee candidates include Richard H. Girard, the incumbent At-Large member; Joseph Lachance, the challenger in Ward 1; Lisa M Freeman, the incumbent in Ward 5; and event organizer Jon DiPietro, the challenger in Ward 6.
Statement from Granite State Progress Executive Director Zandra Rice Hawkins: “There is no way that Commissioner Edelblut’s participation and remarks don’t in some way seek to influence the outcome of the Manchester school committee elections. Any position the Commissioner does or does not take will inevitably carry the weight of his office to promote or discredit a candidate’s opinion. The fact that only certain candidates who agree with him have been directly invited only further highlights the misuse of his office to advance a far-right ideology. Commissioner Edelblut is abusing taxpayer time and money by engaging in partisan politics in his official capacity. Governor Sununu has a responsibility to keep his leadership team focused on addressing issues facing Granite Staters, not participating in political events. Edelblut continues to put his personal politics and ambitions over the best interests of Granite State students and families, and Governor Sununu is endorsing his behavior by not putting an immediate stop to it.”
About the Candidate Roundtable, Edelblut’s Record of Partisanship:
The event details state that “the Commissioner and candidates will hold a roundtable discussion on several topics of particular relevance to Manchester School District.” The topics include “Title I funding, special education, cost downshifting, standardized testing, and parental rights and involvement.” Commissioner Edelblut is not an elected official and New Hampshire commissioners typically don’t engage in politics in their official roles – although Commissioner Edelblut has frequently done so with Governor Chris Sununu’s blessing.
Less than a year into his position as Education Commissioner, Edelblut has made waves for trying to re-open the Next Generation Science Standards that were just approved last year; he initially refused to come clean about making a donation to a school privatization lawsuit against the Department he now leads; he forwarded an internal education department job posting to one of his Free State Project friends and then sent that individual’s resume to the HR director (that individual is also on the Board of an off-shoot group literally organizing for New Hampshire to secede from the rest of the country); he is using his position to lobby for SB 193, school vouchers/privatization; he tried to usurp the State Board of Education’s rule-making responsibilities by injecting himself between the State Board and JLCAR – without informing the State Board; and he regularly uses his role as Commissioner to engage in partisan politics.
Granite State Progress is a progressive advocacy organization that addresses issues of immediate state and local concern. Granite State Progress works as a communications hub for the progressive community to provide a strong, credible voice in advancing progressive solutions to critical community problems.