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.


AFT-NH is proud to award two $1,500 scholarships for the 2022-23 academic year. The Cascio scholarship will be offered to one graduating senior who has been accepted at an institution of higher learning, while the Donovan scholarship will go to one continuing student at an accredited institution of higher learning for the 2022-2023 academic year.  Prior scholarship winners are ineligible

Applicant’s parent or guardian must be a current member of AFT-NH.  Winners will need to provide proof of enrollment (continuing or as a new student) for the 2022-2023 academic year in order to receive their scholarship check.  All applications must be postmarked by May 1, 2022.

You can download the application here:  2022 AFT-NH SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATION





AFT-NH Legislative Bulletin, 2022-10

March 19, 2022 ~ Bow, NH
We are now through the busiest part of the legislative season. While “crossover” is technically not for another two weeks the majority of the bills that were voted “ought to pass” in the House are now on their way to the Senate. Senate bills are also making their way over to the House. There are still bills that we will need action on in the coming weeks, but we want to take a minute to celebrate some victories.

Victories! This week we saw HB1255, “Relative to Teacher’s Loyalty” sent to the trash bin of history where it belongs. HB1671, a bill that started as an extreme attempt by Commissioner Edelblut to destroy public education, transformed into a bill that would strengthen education and was passed by the House. We also saw the House table HB1072 which would have allowed School Board members unfettered access to personnel files, student records, and to our school facilities.  These bills were victories for public education, but predictably it was not all good news this week.

AFT-NH Legislative Bulletin, 2022-09

March 12, 2022 ~ Bow, NH

We are now into one of the busiest times for the legislative session. “Crossover” is the time when all House bills need to make their way to the Senate and Senate bills need to make their way over to the House. The deadline for this to happen is March 31st and with that date fast approaching the House is scheduled to meet for 3 days next week on the 15th, 16th, and 17th, and the Senate is scheduled to meet on the 17th.  The House alone will have to vote on an astounding 212 bills over 3 days. Due to the looming deadlines, House Education has finished its work on all of its House bills deciding what to do with all 103 bills that came to the committee this year.