AFT-NH Legislative Bulletin, 2022-15

The first bit of good news this week—is April break! We hope you all get to spend this week off relaxing and recharging for the last two months of school.  We can continue with some good news from the legislature this week—HB 1393 a convoluted bill that would have imposed school district budget caps that would have only been allowed to be adjusted to inflation, was voted ITL out of committee 4-1. The bill still has to clear the full Senate, but an ITL motion means it is closer than ever to being defeated.  If you haven’t contacted your state senator yet, please take a quick action to let your senator know you oppose this bill.

AFT-NH Legislative Bulletin, 2022-14

April 16, 2022 ~ Bow, NH

Some good news.   We get to start this week’s bulletin with some good news! HB1434—the bill that would have required teachers to keep, and share all curriculum lesson plans, and all instructional materials with any person who lives within the school district, was recommended for interim study by the Senate Education Committee. An interim study motion out of the full Senate will mean the bill is defeated. Most districts already have policies and methods for sharing approved curriculum. As professionals we all welcome two-way communication with parents about what students are learning in class and how the work is going. That is how we work together as a team to help students succeed! However, 1434 could have been used as a tool to harass teachers with endless requests by individuals who had no connections to students in the class, taking time away from teaching and learning.  We are glad to see the interim study recommendation.

Testimony by AFT-NH Deb Howes on SB 1393 (School Budget Cap)

Testimony of AFT-NH on HB 1393

From Debrah Howes, President AFT-NH

To the Senate Election Law and Municipal Affairs Committee Dear Chairman Gray and members of the committee:

My name is Debrah Howes. I am the president of the American Federation of Teachers -NH. AFT-NH represents 3,500 teachers, paraeducators and school support staff, public service employees and higher education staff across New Hampshire.

I write to oppose House Bill 1393. This bill would impose burdensome budget constraints on our schools at a time when they should be focused on helping students recover from the pandemic. By setting up a “fast track” process for local school budget caps to be proposed and voted on - potentially by only a small minority of residents - this bill could hamstring district budgets and drain funding from our public schools before most parents or voters even know the ramifications.

AFT-NH Legislative Bulletin, 2022-13

April 9, 2022 ~ Bow, NH

We now have less than a month until all the bills need to be voted on by the full House and Senate and less than 2 months until the last day of the legislative session which is scheduled for May 26th. As the work ramps up on the House and Senate, we continue our focus on the 4 major bills remaining.

Parental Bill of Rights   This week we heard testimony on the so-called “Parental Bill of Rights”, (HB 1431), which is in the Senate Judiciary Committee. As we continue to say in this space, schools work best when parents and teachers work together as a team to support students, but this bill has many flaws that will do nothing but sow confusion in the classroom and potentially pit parents against each other. Worse yet, the sweeping assertion of absolute parent rights in this bill would remove community protections for vulnerable children – those extra sets of eyes who notice and report when something seems to be going wrong in a child’s life before it reaches a tragic point. We heard these concerns from the Office of the Child Advocate and from Waypoint Child and Family Services on the dangers to children if this bill passed. The testimony was emotional and a real look into what could become a more common reality if this bill passes. We continue to urge the committee to defeat this bill.

Testimony of AFT-NH on HB 1431 “Parental Bill of Rights” From Debrah Howes, President AFT-NH

My name is Debrah Howes. I am the president of the American Federation of Teachers -NH. AFT-NH represents 3,500 teachers, paraeducators and school support staff, public service employees and higher education staff across New Hampshire

I am here to express the concerns of my members with HB1431 and ask that you oppose it. The stated aim of House Bill 1431 is praiseworthy, but as an elementary school teacher for 18 years, I can testify that the implementation will cause problems. Teachers and school staff want and welcome parental engagement in education – in fact, we’re desperate for it. Decades of research and data tells us that kids do best when their teachers and parents collaborate and work together to support them, whether it’s in academics, social skills, or anything else they face. But that partnership isn’t something you can legislate, at least not the way this bill is currently written.

AFT-NH President Deb Howes- Proposed Parental Bill of Rights Would Create Chaos in Classrooms

BOW, N.H.—Statement by Deb Howes, president of AFT-New Hampshire, on HB 1431, the parental bill of rights bill, which would give N.H. parents unrestricted rights to direct their children’s public education:

“AFT-New Hampshire strongly encourages parental involvement in their children’s education, the praiseworthy objective of the parental bill of rights legislation. The problem with the legislation is that it takes that aim to untenable extremes and would create chaos in the classroom and erode trust and collaboration between parents, schools and educators.