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AFT-New Hampshire Tells Federal Court Its Lawsuit Against Divisive Concepts Law Should Proceed

AFT-New Hampshire Tells Federal Court Its Lawsuit Against Divisive Concepts Law Should Proceed

CONCORD, N.H.—AFT-New Hampshire urged a federal court today to allow its federal lawsuit against the so-called divisive concepts law to proceed, arguing the law is unconstitutionally vague and violates teachers’ and students’ free speech rights.

According to the lawsuit, AFT-NH contends the “Right to Freedom from Discrimination in Public Workplaces and Education” law violates teachers’ free speech rights when teaching, as well as students’ First Amendment rights not to have censored instruction block their right to learn. The state has asked the U.S. District Court in Concord to dismiss AFT-NH’s lawsuit and a similar one by the American Civil Liberties Union.

EXPLODING COST OF VOUCHER PROGRAM WILL HURT PUBLIC EDUCATION, LOCAL PROPERTY TAX PAYERS

CONCORD, N.H.— Today, the Department of Education released its latest data on the voucher program enacted by Republicans in last year's budget.

AFT-NH President Deb Howes released the following statement:

“The numbers show a disturbing trend of the vast majority of vouchers being used by students who were already in private school or already being homeschooled.  The voucher program has cost the state $14.7 million since its inception, a tab local property taxpayers will be forced to absorb in their city and town budgets. All of this while we know our local neighborhood public schools continue to support the majority of our students in New Hampshire. The state should be focusing on how to support the almost 170,000 public school students so that every child in New Hampshire is receiving the best education possible instead of just focusing on a few students who use a voucher.”

AFT-NH Endorses Pro-Public Education Candidates

AFT-NH Endorses Pro-Public Education Candidates

CONCORD, N.H.— Today, AFT-NH endorsed a slate of pro-education candidates for Governor, Executive Council, New Hampshire Senate, and New Hampshire House. Each of these candidates promises to be a strong voice for our teachers, our students, and our public schools.  AFT-NH President Deb Howes released the following statement:

“The past two and half years have been some of the hardest for our members. Teaching during a pandemic, through remote and hybrid learning has been an enormous undertaking and challenge. Through it all our members have continued to work for what is best for their students. At the same time, they were facing pandemic-related challenges they also faced challenges from radical politicians in Concord. These politicians passed laws that look to silence and intimidate teachers from teaching honest history. Now, we see an unprecedented number of openings for teacher and support staff positions, many a direct consequence from the actions taken by the legislature these past two years.

When elected we know that each of the endorsed candidates will stand up for our teachers, support staff, and students and make sure New Hampshire’s public schools continue to be the bedrock of our communities.

AFT-NH on School Assessment Scores

School Assessment Scores Show New Hampshire Public Schools Are In A Strong Position With More Work To Be Done  (AFT-NH President Deb Howes)

CONCORD, N.H.— Yesterday, the New Hampshire Department of Education released assessment data showing that New Hampshire’s public schools continue to make improvements getting closer to pre-pandemic levels of achievement. AFT-NH President Deb Howes released the following statement:

“It is no secret that the last three years have been difficult on students, teachers, school support staff, and administrators. This past year in particular teachers had to focus not just on the content that they are required to teach but also on content that may have been missed due to hybrid and remote learning. Teachers, support staff, and students worked overtime re-establishing safe learning communities and focusing both on relationships and academics.

Statement from AFT-NH on the tragedy in Uvalde, TX

AFT-NH President Howes issued the following statement on the tragic events in Uvalde, TX

“AFT-NH is heartbroken by the incomprehensible violence that took 19 precious students and 2 educators in Uvalde, TX yesterday. We offer our profound condolences to the families of the students and educators lost, as well as the whole community that is struggling to understand what happened. Those children were in a place where they should have been safe, learning together, laughing together, counting down the hours to the end of the school year. They should have gone home at the end of the day to their families who love them. Those families will now mourn for them, along with their school community and a town that are forever changed. We cannot accept that this kind of violence is the price of freedom. Children have a right to live and grow up. We mourn with the families and school community of Uvalde but also demand better solutions from our lawmakers at all levels so that our schools can be safe places for our students and educators."

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NH Educators and Parents File New Court Brief in Banned Concepts Lawsuit

CONCORD, N.H. – The broad coalition of educators, advocacy groups, and law firms challenging the state’s ‘banned concepts’ law filed on Friday a new court brief objecting to the state’s attempt to dismiss the case. The brief highlights consistent and renewed concerns that the law discourages public school teachers from teaching and talking about race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, and gender identity in the classroom. The current case before the Court consolidates two lawsuits, one filed by educators Andres Mejia and Tina Kim Philibotte and National Education Association – New Hampshire, and one from the American Federation of Teachers.

 Andres Mejia and Tina Kim Philibotte, both New Hampshire school administrators for diversity, equity, and inclusion, are among the plaintiffs in the case represented by ACLU-NH, and argue that the vague law is an unconstitutional chill on educator’s voices that prevents students from having an open and complete dialogue about the perspectives of historically marginalized communities.

AFT-NH President Deb Howes Urges Governor to Veto Risky-for-Children Parental Bill of Rights

BOW, N.H.—Statement by Deb Howes, president of AFT-New Hampshire, on Senate passage of HB 1431, the Parental Bill of Rights, which would require N.H. teachers and school staff to disclose to parents any communications they have with students that affect the child’s health and well-being, potentially chilling important confidential conversations with students in vulnerable situations who do not feel safe at home:

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.

Town Election Results Show Voters Support Their Public Schools

AFT-NH Statement by President Deb Howes

Town Election Results Show Voters Support Their Public Schools:
Recent House Education Committee Action Echoes Public’s Pro-Public School Stance                                          

CONCORD, N.H.—Tuesday’s town elections across the state, which saw pro-public education school board candidates victorious and most educator union contracts approved with significant raises, vividly show that New Hampshire voters overwhelmingly support their public schools, said American Federation of Teachers-NH President Deb Howes.

“No matter how you look at the results, it’s clear that voters want their public schools and educators respected and funded. The election results confirm that the anti-public school forces can’t pit teachers against the community,” Howes said. “The public is sick of negative, divisive attacks on public schools and want a laser focus on giving our kids the schools they deserve.”

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.