State House News

Share This

AFT-NH Written Testimony in Opposition to HB 309

AFT-NH Testimony on HB 309

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 4000 teachers, paraeducators and school support staff, public service employees and higher education faculty across New Hampshire.

I write to you in opposition to HB 309 as it is written. This is not because we are opposed to 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, the changes it has undergone through the years, and how those changes have impacts and echoes down into current time. To teach the Civil Rights Era as a closed topic that ended in 1968 does a great disservice to our students, and to their parents who are relying on us to not only help students learn the facts but understand their significance.

AFT-NH Legislative Bulletin (2023-03)

Voucher Expansion Heard at the State House This Week 

This week the House Education Committee heard two bills that would dramatically increase the amount of money spent on school vouchers in New Hampshire. Though the claim has always been that the purpose of this program is to help low-income families both of these bills would allow middle to high income families use of the voucher program. The voucher program, originally slated to cost just a few hundred thousand dollars has already ballooned to $30 million dollars and these bills would rise that cost even more and drain more money from our local public schools. We will have more actions for HB 464 and HB 367 as these bills continues to work their way through the legislature.  Thank you to all of you who took time to let the House Education Committee know that New Hampshire does not want to see this program expanded. You read the written testimony from AFT-NH President Deb Howes at the following link: Testimony Opposing HB 464 and HB 367.

AFT-NH testimony on HB 464 and HB 367 from Debrah Howes, AFT-NH President

 AFT-NH testimony on HB 464 and HB 367 from Debrah Howes, AFT-NH President

Thank you, Chairman Ladd and Members of the House Education Committee, for reading my testimony.

My name is Debrah Howes. I am the president of the American Federation of Teachers-NH.

AFT-NH represents 4,000 teachers, paraeducators and school support staff, public service employees and higher education faculty across New Hampshire. I would ordinarily present testimony on these bills in person, but due to a prior work travel commitment, I cannot.

Michael O’Brien of Preti Strategies who works on behalf of AFT-NH at the State House will present for me.  

I am writing in opposition to HB 464 and HB 367, both of which would make more students eligible for the state of New Hampshire’s school voucher program.

AFT-NH Legislative Bulletin, 2023-02

AFT-NH Legislative Bulletin


Granite Staters Push for Repeal of Divisive Concepts Law   It was a good week for advocates of public education this week. We had our first big hearing of the year with the repeal of divisive concepts being heard. The proponents of repealing this ridiculous and punitive law showed up with enormous strength and told compelling and personal stories of why we should get rid of the law. Of the people who gave testimony over 95% of them were in favor of repealing this terrible law. We thank you all for reaching out, emailing, and sharing your story and support of repeal with the committee.

Ruling from U.S. District Court on Divisive Concepts Lawsuit    Shortly after the public hearing the District Court Judge Paul Barbadoro struck down the state’s attempt to throw out the divisive concept’s lawsuit brought by AFT, AFT-NH, NEA-NH and ACLU of New Hampshire. Not only did the judge allow the lawsuit to continue, but the language in his order was also strong and seemed to be persuaded by our arguments.  

AFT-NH Testimony on Repeal of the Divisive Concepts Law

AFT-NH Testimony on HB 61

From Debrah Howes, President AFT-NH

Thank you, Chairperson Ladd and Members of the House Education Committee, for listening to my testimony today,

My name is Debrah Howes. I am the president of the American Federation of Teachers-NH.  

AFT-NH represents 4,000 teachers, paraeducators and school support staff, public service employees and higher education faculty across New Hampshire.

I am here today to speak wholeheartedly in favor of HB61 – Relative to Teaching on Discrimination in the Public Schools and in Public Workplaces. Make no mistake. My members enthusiastically support this legislation to repeal the so-called “Divisive Concepts” law passed in 2021.

This so-called “Divisive Concepts” law is unconstitutional; politically motivated and unfair to students who should be learning historical facts, not censored or sugar-coated history. It is intimidating and punitive to teachers who have an obligation to teach honest history. It should never have been, nor should ever be, a law in New Hampshire.

AFT-NH Legislative Bulletin (2023-01)

Happy New Year and welcome to 2023. We hope you had a relaxing and restorative holiday season with family and friends.

The first week of January means that the legislative session is officially back in the swing. After the November elections, Republicans controlled the Senate 14-10 and the House was as closely divided as it has ever been in history with 201 Republicans and 197 Democrats currently in the House. One tied race in Rochester Ward 4 will be decided in a special election in February. AFT-NH has endorsed Chuck Grassie for this seat. Another resignation by a newly reelected House member from Nashua will be filled by a special election on a date yet to be set.

Divisive Concepts Law   The House Education Committee once again has over 100 bills to be heard and will be especially busy in the upcoming session. They are starting out this session quickly by hearing  House Bill 61 which would repeal the divisive concepts law on Thursday, January 12th at 9:30 AM in Representatives Hall.  The divisive concepts law passed two years ago in the budget was designed to prevent the teaching of honest history and is negatively impacting our students’ ability to learn critical information. As we all know this bill has already had a chilling effect on teachers, staff, and students. AFT-NH is currently suing the state over this horrendous law, but we all agree it would be better for the legislature to just stop this policy and its harmful effects in its tracks.

AFT-NH Bulletin September 9, 2022

Welcome back to all of our teachers, paraeducators, and school support staff. We know the last few years have been full of new challenges every day and that through it all you have done everything for your students to help better their education and learning.  We wish you all the best in the upcoming year and hope for an easier, less tumultuous school year ahead. 

AFT-NH Supports Education Funding Lawsuit

AFT-NH Supports Education Funding Lawsuit

CONCORD, N.H.— Yesterday in Superior Court a lawsuit was filed once again challenging the way that New Hampshire funds our local public schools. It is unfortunate that the New Hampshire legislature continues to underfund our schools leaving the local property taxpayers most of the tab to ensure children in their community can receive an education that will allow them to thrive. We know that in property-poor communities this means that the burdens on taxpayers can become overwhelming and schools are not able to provide their students with as many opportunities.

AFT-NH Legislative Bulletin, 2022-21 (End of Session Edition)

June 24, 2022 ~ Bow, NH

In each biennium of the New Hampshire Legislature an issue is identified early that will be the focus of both the House and Senate. This year it became very clear immediately after Republicans took control of both chambers that the issue they were going to focus on was public education. There have been bills to control what can be taught and how teachers and students talk about it. There have been bills to take tax money from supporting the learning of all students attending public schools and divert it so a few students could attend private schools or programs. There have been many bills to limit the authority of locally elected school boards because partisan activists did not like the responses they were getting from these locally elected officials. This, as we know, did not happen in a vacuum. Public education has become a political issue nationally with everything from misinformation to disinformation to outright lies being used to rally a political base at the expense of our children’s education.

AFT-NH Legislative Bulletin, 2022-20

Strong finish to the Legislative Session

HB 1431 Defeated

May 27, 2022 ~ Bow, NH

WE DID IT! In a victory for our students, this week we officially defeated HB 1431 in the House. Schools will remain a place where LGBTQ+ kids can have conversations with trusted adults and where they can feel safe having those conversations. The session is now done, and it was a great way to end it! 13 Republicans joined with all the Democrats and the two independents in the House to defeat the bill. The language we heard from opponents of this bill was truly disturbing, to put it mildly, but in the end, it was great to see this bill defeated.

With the session now over, we turn our attention to candidate filing. The New Hampshire House needs strong supporters of public education. If you are interested in running for office, you should contact President Deb Howes at  and we can help with the process. The filing period opens on the 1st and closes on the 10th.  We really do need you to step up for your communities and our schools and run for office.

As we said above the session is now over. The end of the school year is just 3 weeks away. We hope everyone can take a break this summer and recharge. You have certainly all earned it.