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AFT-NH Legislative Bulletin, 2021-04

January 23, 2021 ~ Bow, NH

“Teacher unions.”  A phrase often heard in NH news this week.  Why?  Governor Sununu has come under strong criticism for omitting educators from the top tier categories for COVID vaccinations.  Forty-eight of the fifty states have put educators in the top tier, understanding that if they are vaccinated, then there will be fewer positives, fewer quarantines due to potential exposure, etc. Here in NH, there is a severe shortage of substitute teachers and para-educators to replace those required to quarantine.  If educators were vaccinated, the quarantine problem would begin to subside, the substitute shortage would be ameliorated, and more schools would begin returning to full-scale in-person learning.  Once that happens, parents can then return to work and a more normal life.  End result?  A quicker return to something resembling pre-COVID life in NH.  Now isn’t that something we are all waiting and hoping for this year? 

AFT-NH Legislative Bulletin, 2021-03

January 17, 2021 ~ Bow, NH

Slowly but surely, the wheels are beginning to turn in the NH Legislature.  The Senate has already held a small number of online committee hearings, in essence testing out the system for remote access public testimony and working out any glitches.  The NH House is moving more slowly, with committees holding online orientation meetings for their members. 

The schedule for these meetings is in the House Calendar which can be found on the NH General Court website at http://gencourt.state.nh.us/house/caljourns/default.aspx).  If you seek to know when specific bills are scheduled for hearings you can check the Calendar which is published weekly or go to the bill search site if you know the bill number (for example, budget bill is always HB1).  The search page is http://gencourt.state.nh.us/bill_Status/.

AFT-NH Legislative Bulletin, 2021-02

January 10, 2021

Bow, NH

To say the first full week of 2021 was eventful is a gross understatement. The shocking attempt at a coup in Washington DC will be memorialized by historians but should not surprise anyone following politics the past twenty years.  Commentary is already flowing fast and furious, and there is little need to add to it.  Suffice to say, the attempted coup bears witness to the continued power and stridency of white supremacist thinking and rhetoric and its deep roots in American history and culture.  Sadly, lives were lost, including police officer, Brian Sicknick, who died from injuries incurred in the line of duty.  Unsurprisingly, Governor Sununu has not ordered flags flown at half-staff in honor of Officer Sicknick. One can only suspect our dear governor is still holding his finger in the air, trying to determine the direction of the political winds before he considers acting or taking a stand in regards to the coup and his party leader, President Trump.

AFT-NH Legislative Bulletin (2021-01)

January 1, 2021 ~ Bow, NH

Happy New Year!  It is time to wave a not-so-fond farewell to 2020!  One can only hope that 2021 is an improvement upon the year we all just endured.  Educators are exhausted, students are tired, health care workers are burning out, and NH’s COVID infection rates and the number of deaths continues to rise with unprecedented rapidity.  Meanwhile, as the NH Legislature prepares to resume its work in some sort of fashion, the Republican majority and the governor are preparing an unprecedented assault upon public education and upon labor unions.  So gird up, the next few months are going to be busy.  We will try to keep you informed as things develop and we will be asking for your aid and involvement as we work to prevent the gutting of public education and its privatization.  But first, let’s take a look at the context and setting, as the political circus prepares to open for the 2021 session.

No to Learn Everywhere -AFT-NH President Doug Ley

Please accept this written statement from the American Federation of Teachers-New Hampshire (AFT-NH) regarding the proposed rules establishing the Learn Everywhere program.  As staunch advocates of public education, AFT-NH is firmly opposed to the creation of the Learn Everywhere program. 

As currently outlined, the Learn Everywhere program removes from local control the decisions regarding standards for credit-bearing activities and courses, thereby reversing longstanding New Hampshire tradition.  As an organization representing educators who work closely with local administrators and school boards, AFT-NH rejects the centralization of authority over graduation standards and supports keeping it at the level closest to students, teachers, and citizens—the local level.