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AFT-NH Testimony on HB 1632 relative to civics education

Testimony on HB 1632 (relative to civics education)

From Debrah Howes

President AFT-NH To the NH House Education Committee

Dear Chairman Ladd and Members of the Committee,

My name is Debrah Howes. I am the president of the American Federation of Teachers – NH. AFT-NH represents 3,500 teachers, paraeducators and school support staff, public service employees, and higher education staff across New Hampshire.

I write to you in opposition to HB 1632 – not because we are opposed to the teaching about the Civil Rights Era, but because we are opposed to the packaging and teaching of the Civil Rights Era out of its proper context in the full sweep of United States history. AFT-NH firmly believes in providing all students a robust, engaging, and factual US history education so they can understand how our nation was formed and the changes it has undergone through the years, up to and including the present time.

AFT-NH on Teachers’ Loyalty Bill in NH House

ONCORD, N.H.—The “teachers’ loyalty” bill that will be the subject of New Hampshire House hearings this week is another attempt by extremist lawmakers to give students a censored view of history and bully teachers into silence, AFT-New Hampshire President Deb Howes said today.

“An Act Relative to Teachers’ Loyalty” would ban public school teachers from promoting any theory that depicts U.S. history or its founding in a negative light. It follows the so-called divisive concepts law that prohibits teachers from teaching that any group or person is “inherently racist, sexist or oppressive.” AFT-NH has filed a federal suit calling that law unconstitutionally vague.

AFT-NH Legislative Bulletin, 2022-01

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.

AFT-NH Legislative Bulletin (2021-23) Alert on Voucher

Last week we wrote to you about HB 607 AS AMENDED—a bill that could, without exaggeration, close neighborhood public schools across the state. Make no mistake—this is a continuation of a radical, sweeping agenda by those who wish to see public education dismantled. The bill allows for local property taxes to be used for private schools, homeschooling or any other education expenses (which is purposefully broad and not defined). It takes money intended for our local neighborhood public schools and diverts it, costing property taxpayers money and forcing drastic cuts including closing or consolidating many public schools which will leave public school students with a bare-bones, barely adequate education.

AFT-NH Legislative Bulletin, 2021-22

Local School Voucher Bill Recommended by House Education Committee

Just when we thought it might to safe to take a deep breath, late in the night this past Wednesday the legislature—cheered on as always by our anti-education commissioner, continued their radical push to defund public education. House Bill 607 as amended contains a sweeping amendment that was passed Wednesday. This bill would allow for our public property tax dollars to be sent to private schools, religious schools, or to students who are homeschooled. As we know in New Hampshire because the State refuses to adequately fund education most of the money that goes towards our neighborhood public schools comes from our local property taxes. Unlike the voucher bill that passed last year that would take the state portion of money that is supposed to be spent on public education; this bill takes our local property tax money.

AFT-NH Legislative Bulletin, 2021-21

Radical Budget Full of Attacks on Education Set to Become Law

Yesterday was the final day of session and House and Senate Republicans passed one the most radical anti-education budgets that New Hampshire has ever seen. Make no mistake this is a continuation of the work of Frank Edelblut to dismantle the education system as we know it.

The budget as passed by the House and Senate allocated less money than the last budget for education funding, it furthered New Hampshire’s already dangerous educational divide by giving more money back to property-rich communities while leaving communities that struggle further and it allocates millions of dollars of public school funds to private schools without oversight or accountability.  Not to be outdone the budget also attempts to silence your voices in the classroom on important and historically undeniable presence of racism and sexism.

AFT-New Hampshire on Budget Passage

CONCORD, N.H.—Statement by AFT-New Hampshire President Deb Howes on passage of the state budget, which drastically reduces funding for public education:

NH House Should Reject Budget—It’s Bad for Students and Communities

NH House Should Reject Budget—It’s Bad for Students and Communities

You can’t expect bread to rise without enough yeast. Likewise, you can’t expect potholes to smooth out without enough asphalt. And you can’t expect New Hampshire public schools to improve without enough funding for the programs and services that we know will improve student outcomes. 

The state budget that the House will consider on June 24 is an affront to students, families and communities, especially those that are considered “property poor” and have very little revenue to add to whatever state education funding they receive. The budget has other harmful provisions that, taken in total, should make it a non-starter for any lawmakers who actually care about the well-being of their communities and residents. This budget should be rejected and sent back to the drawing board.

AFT-NH Legislative Bulletin, 2021-20

Bow, NH ~ June 4, 2021

There is no sugar coating this session. It has been hard. We have seen attempts to dismantle public education. We have had to fend off numerous attacks on labor and attacks on many of the issues that we care about. This is why it is important to take a moment and celebrate wins when you have them. On Thursday, the House voted against SB61, the so-called Right to Work bill. Not only did the house vote against it this year, but they also used a motion that does not allow it to be brought up next year either. We want to thank our brothers and sisters in labor for all their hard work and I want to thank YOU for your hard work. We know that wins don’t always come easy so take this moment and celebrate—you deserve it.

I wish we could offer you more than a moment but sadly Right-to-Work was not the only thing we are facing right now. As we said last week the Senate Finance Committee added vouchers to the budget. This week the full Senate voted to approve that measure. The next step in the budget process is for a committee of conference to be formed. During that committee of conference anything, including vouchers, is negotiable. We need the folks on the committee of conference to know that keeping vouchers in the budget is unacceptable.