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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.

Statements by AFT-NH and AFT on Tabling of Local Voucher Bill

Statements by AFT-NH and AFT on Tabling of Local Voucher Bill

CONCORD, N.H.—Statements by AFT-New Hampshire President Deb Howes and American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten on the New Hampshire House of Representatives’ bipartisan tabling of a controversial local voucher bill:

AFT-NH President Deb Howes:

“AFT-NH commends the bipartisan legislators for coming together to protect public education and local property taxpayers. Public education is the bedrock of the Granite State, and students, school staff and taxpayers would have suffered if this misguided voucher bill had passed. New Hampshire lawmakers heard the voices of voters, who said that instead of another expensive voucher program, they want investment in their neighborhood public schools. We hope this stand for an equitable public education continues in the Legislature and bills like this never see the light of day again.”

AFT President Randi Weingarten:

“Every child in this country deserves a well-funded, safe, welcoming public school that helps them thrive academically, socially and emotionally. But voucher schemes take money away from our neighborhood public schools, and this one was particularly fiscally and educationally irresponsible. Today in New Hampshire, the voices of parents and community members were heard loud and clear: Don’t defund public education and raise property taxes for another voucher scheme. And the Legislature, in a bipartisan manner, listened, and we are grateful. As we continue to help our kids recover from the pandemic, New Hampshire should invest in public schools and focus on giving all kids a high-quality public education.”

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AFT-NH: Edelblut Is Encouraging Parent Complaints About Teaching ‘Divisive Concepts’

AFT-NH: Edelblut Is Encouraging Parent Complaints About Teaching ‘Divisive Concepts’

AFT-NH Calls on Governor to Demand State Education Commissioner Step Down

CONCORD, N.H.—Statement by AFT-New Hampshire President Deb Howes on state Commissioner of Education Frank Edelblut’s webpage for parents to file complaints against teachers who allegedly teach lessons that discriminate, under the Right to Freedom from Discrimination in Public Workplaces and Education law:

“It was bad enough that the law tried to find a problem that doesn’t exist—no teacher in New Hampshire teaches that any group is inherently superior or inferior to another. That false flag has now been made worse with Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut launching a webpage to encourage parents to file complaints against teachers who allegedly teach so-called divisive concepts. Totally innocent teachers could lose their teaching license over claims that are not backed up by any evidence. Edelblut has declared a war on teachers, a war that the overwhelming majority of N.H. parents will find repulsive.

“AFT-NH calls on Gov. Chris Sununu to demand that Edelblut step down over his outrageous, obviously politically motivated, harmful effort.

AFT-NH President Deb Howes' Testimony on Voucher Rules

We write to you today to urge adopting strict rules around the so-called education freedom accounts to ensure that taxpayer money used for this program is actually spent to further a student’s education and not just to line the pockets of the scholarship organization or to be used for things that would not otherwise qualify as an educational expense.