AFT-NH President Deb Howes Testimony on Voucher Rules

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New Hampshire State Board of Education

101 Pleasant St. 

Concord, NH 03301

Dear Members of the State Board of Education,

I am writing to you today to urge you to allow local school administrators and school boards to continue the practice of using distance learning for short periods of time when local conditions warrant while still counting these as instructional days.

Limiting the use of distance learning to inclement weather only ignores the reality that sometimes conditions arise that make it unworkable to open and staff the school, properly supervise the students and provide meaningful instruction in the building. This could happen due to a water main break, a heating system failure in winter, or enough students and staff becoming ill with any contagious illness – let alone an airborne one – that closing is the prudent thing to do.

 

This rule, if adopted, will have unintended consequences. While it is intended to keep in person learning going, which is the richest form of learning for almost all students, it will actually cause more interruptions. Insisting on in person learning even when there are clusters of infectious disease means more absences of students and staff, more need for substitute teachers, which are almost impossible to find, leading to more creative solutions to class coverage such as combining several classes in a gym or auditorium which means more disruptions to learning. Switching to remote with your regular classroom teacher for a week is much less disruptive to a student’s learning than being reassigned daily to different groups depending on who is available to teach.

 

Unless you have a trained and qualified reserve of substitute teachers and paraeducators ready to staff local schools that you can dispatch every day out of Concord, it is best to leave the decision on whether to use distance learning to local administrators and school boards, while counting those days as instructional days.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

Deb Howes President, AFT-NH

 

 

 

 

 

I am writing to you today to urge you to allow local school administrators and school boards

to continue the practice of using distance learning for short periods of time when local conditions warrant while still counting these as instructional days.

 

Limiting the use of distance learning to inclement weather only ignores the reality that sometimes conditions arise that make it unworkable to open and staff the school, properly supervise the students and provide meaningful instruction in the building. This could happen due to a water main break, a heating system failure in winter, or enough students and staff becoming ill with any contagious illness – let alone an airborne one – that closing is the prudent thing to do.

 

This rule, if adopted, will have unintended consequences. While it is intended to keep in person learning going, which is the richest form of learning for almost all students, it will actually cause more interruptions. Insisting on in person learning even when there are clusters of infectious disease means more absences of students and staff, more need for substitute teachers, which are almost impossible to find, leading to more creative solutions to class coverage such as combining several classes in a gym or auditorium which means more disruptions to learning. Switching to remote with your regular classroom teacher for a week is much less disruptive to a student’s learning than being reassigned daily to different groups depending on who is available to teach.

 

Unless you have a trained and qualified reserve of substitute teachers and paraeducators ready to staff local schools that you can dispatch every day out of Concord, it is best to leave the decision on whether to use distance learning to local administrators and school boards, while counting those days as instructional days.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

Deb Howes President, AFT-NH

 

 

 

 

 

I am writing to you today to urge you to allow local school administrators and school boards

to continue the practice of using distance learning for short periods of time when local conditions warrant while still counting these as instructional days.

 

Limiting the use of distance learning to inclement weather only ignores the reality that sometimes conditions arise that make it unworkable to open and staff the school, properly supervise the students and provide meaningful instruction in the building. This could happen due to a water main break, a heating system failure in winter, or enough students and staff becoming ill with any contagious illness – let alone an airborne one – that closing is the prudent thing to do.

 

This rule, if adopted, will have unintended consequences. While it is intended to keep in person learning going, which is the richest form of learning for almost all students, it will actually cause more interruptions. Insisting on in person learning even when there are clusters of infectious disease means more absences of students and staff, more need for substitute teachers, which are almost impossible to find, leading to more creative solutions to class coverage such as combining several classes in a gym or auditorium which means more disruptions to learning. Switching to remote with your regular classroom teacher for a week is much less disruptive to a student’s learning than being reassigned daily to different groups depending on who is available to teach.

 

Unless you have a trained and qualified reserve of substitute teachers and paraeducators ready to staff local schools that you can dispatch every day out of Concord, it is best to leave the decision on whether to use distance learning to local administrators and school boards, while counting those days as instructional days.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

Deb Howes President, AFT-NH

 

 

 

 

 

I am writing to you today to urge you to allow local school administrators and school boards

to continue the practice of using distance learning for short periods of time when local conditions warrant while still counting these as instructional days.

 

Limiting the use of distance learning to inclement weather only ignores the reality that sometimes conditions arise that make it unworkable to open and staff the school, properly supervise the students and provide meaningful instruction in the building. This could happen due to a water main break, a heating system failure in winter, or enough students and staff becoming ill with any contagious illness – let alone an airborne one – that closing is the prudent thing to do.

 

This rule, if adopted, will have unintended consequences. While it is intended to keep in person learning going, which is the richest form of learning for almost all students, it will actually cause more interruptions. Insisting on in person learning even when there are clusters of infectious disease means more absences of students and staff, more need for substitute teachers, which are almost impossible to find, leading to more creative solutions to class coverage such as combining several classes in a gym or auditorium which means more disruptions to learning. Switching to remote with your regular classroom teacher for a week is much less disruptive to a student’s learning than being reassigned daily to different groups depending on who is available to teach.

 

Unless you have a trained and qualified reserve of substitute teachers and paraeducators ready to staff local schools that you can dispatch every day out of Concord, it is best to leave the decision on whether to use distance learning to local administrators and school boards, while counting those days as instructional days.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

Deb Howes President, AFT-NH