AFT-NH Legislative Bulletin, 2022-01

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Action Needed on HB 1255-Teacher Loyalty Bill

Local School Voucher Bill Tabled by NH House   We want to start with a big thank you to all who have reached out to their Representatives and asked them to vote against House Bill 607 as amended (local school voucher bill). Thanks to your efforts last week during the legislative session the House tabled the bill. While we must remain vigilant to make sure it is not brought up again, this was a big win for public education. We also want to thank the bi-partisan group of legislators who came together to stand up for public education and local property taxpayers—they stuck through long days to make this happen.

Teacher’s Loyalty Up Next   While it is great to celebrate the victory, unfortunately, we have to quickly move to the next challenges. This week the House Education Committee met and already began taking up bills that would limit local control and one bill that expands their divisive concepts law to public colleges and universities across New Hampshire. In a continuation of that theme next week, they will hold a hearing on their “teacher loyalty” bill. This bill, HB 1255 bans teaching any “negative account or representation of the founding and history of the United States.” When a sponsor of this bill was asked how a teacher could teach the 3/5ths compromise, the sponsor refused to say the 3/5ths compromise was racist. Make no mistake this bill is another attack on our teachers and their ability to teach and challenge our students by presenting an honest account of the history of the United States.  Please take a few moments to sign in against this awful bill and let the House Education committee know that it is important to be able to teach honest history.

We have seen devastating legislation aimed squarely at harming public education. This bill must be defeated. Our kids deserve a high-quality education, including honest, age-appropriate information about our country’s history. That’s why we need to stop HB 1255. Literally a rewrite of a McCarthy Era law, this bill forbids teachers from presenting any negative aspects of the founding and history of the United States. It’s a political attack on teachers, who could lose their jobs or licenses for violating the bill’s vague, sweeping language. 

A good history education prepares the next generation to be engaged citizens and critical thinkers. That means telling the story of our country as it really happened, not in some sugarcoated way. Our kids need to learn honest history so they can celebrate the many things that are wonderful about America and also learn from the past to create a better future for all. This bill will cheat our children of a crucial piece of their education—and it will drive good teachers away from New Hampshire.

Action Needed!  To sign in as opposed to HB 1255 you can click here. Once you click the link, select January 20th, then the House Education Committee, followed by HB 1255. Then input the rest of the information on the screen. The whole thing will take you less than 2 minutes!

More Education Bills  The House Education Committee will continue its work on a series of bills throughout the next month. The committee has over 100 bills to work on—more bills than we have ever seen in one committee in one year. These bills take more money from our local neighborhood schools and increase local property taxes, ban masks in schools, demand curriculum and teaching material from our teachers at a moment’s notice and some go as far as to call for the mandatory dissolution of cooperative school districts. It is clear their intent is to fundamentally reshape and defund public education as we know it.  We will use this space to continue to update you on the happenings in the committee and to alert on the actions you can take to defend public education.

Outside of House Education, the rest of the legislature continues to move along as well with continued threats to, voting rights and many others. We will monitor those as well and alert you as they move forward.

State Board of Education   Meanwhile at the State Board of Education they voted to move forward with a rule that doesn’t allow schools to temporarily shift to remote learning during a covid outbreak. The NH Department of Education will not count hybrid or remote days due to COVID as instructional days.  AFT-NH has not met a member who wants to continue with remote learning, we want to be in the classroom with our kids! But we also recognize that districts are struggling right now and letting districts decide how to best address each situation is very important.

We want to once again thank the Representatives who stood with public education last week and all of you who emailed or called to remind them to stand with us. There are many months to go in this legislative session.  We have seen threats before and our members always rise to the challenge.

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NH Retirement Security Coalition  The NHRSC will be tracking all bills related to the NH Retirement System and continuing advocacy for our members.  You can find the legislation tracker following retirement bills by clicking on the following link  NHRSC Updates . AFT-NH is a proud member of this coalition.

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