AFT-NH Legislative Bulletin, 2022-07

February 27, 2022 ~ Bow, NH

We will start with the biggest news from the legislature this week; the next time the New Hampshire House of Representatives meets it will be back in Representatives Hall. Up until now the House had been meeting in other venues due to safety concerns. But now, even though many in the House are older or immunocompromised, the Speaker has decided safety is no longer a top concern. The timing strikes us as more than just a little coincidental. Last week Republicans in the House lost a few close and key votes and won other votes after the Speaker had to break the tie. Now in what appears to be a pretty obvious attempt to keep Democrats home who would still rather not sit within coughing distance (and sometimes closer than that) of other people who won’t be wearing masks and may not be vaccinated.

AFT-NH President Deb Howes' Testimony In Opposition to HB 1671

To the NH House Education Committee

Dear Chairman Ladd 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 express the overwhelming opposition of my members to HB 1671. The global problems that we arere experiencing in New Hampshire and across the country will be solved by the students within our schools today. We must ensure that every child has a complete, robust, and engaging curriculum that builds their minds, bodies, and characters. All public-school students deserve to learn in their neighborhood public schools the academic content, problem-solving, critical thinking, and teamwork skills that will allow them to succeed in a 21st-century economy as global citizens. To do anything less would be selling the more than 160,000 Granite State students who rely on public schools short. Indeed, it would be selling our future short.

Retired Educator's Letter to House Education Committee Urging Defeat on HB 1671

Letter to House Education Committee on HB 1671
As a constituent and taxpayer living 75 years in NH… and as a retired educator with a Master’s degree in Science from UNH and 36 years of teaching experience…

I respectfully ask the House Education Committee to defeat HB 1671 and maintain the core academic domains as part of a strong public education

AFT-NH Legislative Bulletin, 2022-06

February 19, 2022 ~ Bow, NH

Good News on Local Voucher Bill   This week we are going to try something new and start with good news.  HB 607 (local school vouchers) which was put on the table during the last legislative session on January 6th remained there with no attempt by House Republicans to try to advance it. Strong turnout from both Democratic and Republican supporters of public education and local property taxpayers prevented pro-voucher forces from taking action. Since HB 607 would need to go to House Finance next, it will take a 2/3rd majority vote of the House to move it forward. HB 607 would have been a huge blow to taxpayers, our students, teachers, and school staff and we want to say thank you again to all those who stood with our public schools.

AFT-NH President Deb Howes' Reaction to Governor’s State of the State Address

“Gov. Sununu slaps himself on the back for his education accomplishments, but he pointedly failed to acknowledge the heroic work of our teachers, paraeducators, and staff who have shown up every day during the pandemic for their students. While trumpeting the statewide voucher program and his mantra of cutting property taxes, the public should know that siphoning money from public schools for unregulated private school vouchers doesn’t help students or families and sends property taxes through the roof.

AFT-NH President Deb Howes Testimony on HB 1683 (repeal of statewide vouchers)

I am here to urge passage of HB1683. Last summer, with no fiscal analysis, opportunity for a public hearing or public comment on the financial impact, supporters of school choice at any cost pushed through (as part of the state budget) a costly and unaccountable state voucher program. Now initial numbers are in, and it’s clearly time to repeal this program before more damage is done.

At the time these state vouchers were proposed, AFT-New Hampshire and other child advocacy groups warned that this program would be one of the most expansive, unaccountable, and potentially costly voucher proposals in the nation. It was clear even then that the voucher program would drain millions every year from our neighborhood public schools, downshift more costs from the state to local taxpayer and hike our property taxes.