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.

AFT-NH Legislative Bulletin, 2022-12

April 2, 2022 ~ Bow, NH

Crossover   Happy April! April means a few things. It means we can hopefully start to open windows; it means the days continue to get warmer and it means that legislative “crossover” is done. All the bills that are going to make their way from the House to the Senate and vice versa have done so and now those bodies will begin work on them.  The time from crossover to the end of session will happen quickly. By May 5th, just over a month from now, all bills must be acted on by the House and Senate.  As we get closer, we will go into the committee of conference process that happens after the 5th for bills that have been amended but for now it is clear that things will happen quickly.   

AFT-NH Testimony on HB 1131 (regarding face coverings in schools)

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 you in opposition to HB1131 – relative to facial covering policies in schools. We are all overjoyed that COVID case transmission numbers have come down significantly and we are now, many of us, going without masks. Believe me, many of my members are enjoying being able to see whole faces at school, including lots of smiles. No one is eager to ever see a return to everyone wearing masks, but we also know that masks were an effective tool when case numbers were extremely high as part of the layered mitigation strategy that kept the spread of the virus in check in our schools and allowed schools to remain open. We cannot predict what future variants this virus may develop, nor can we predict what other airborne viruses may occur in the future. It would be shortsighted to remove an effective tool from the toolbox of local school boards, who are the ones who make these policies.

AFT-NH Testimony on HB 1434 (availability of school curriculum materials)

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 my members have with HB 1434 – relative to the availability of school curriculum materials. We feel that if passed, this bill will take time and focus away from student learning, create additional paperwork and recordkeeping for teachers and not improve parental knowledge of what is being taught in the classroom. We urge you to find this bill Inexpedient to Legislate.

AFT-NH Legislative Bulletin (2022-11)

It was a quiet week for education bills this week. Bills have begun to be assigned to their committees and we have a couple of bills that are high on the priority list that are being heard next week. In addition to the beginning of Senate bills being heard by the House and the House bills being heard by the Senate, the House and Senate are both in session this week to deal with the rest of their bills before crossover.

Priority Bills and Action Requests.  We have what we consider four priority bills remaining for this legislative session. We have talked about them before in the bulletin but wanted to give you an easy place to look and reference moving forward.