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AFT-NH Logo 2024

HB 1205 looks to limit students to playing on middle and high school student athletic teams that coincide with the sex listed on their original birth certificate. AFT-NH stands in opposition to this bill because in order for students to be successful in school they need to feel welcome, safe, and a part of their school community. Every students needs to find the place they belong and connect to in their school community. For some it is excelling in academics, for some it is in music or drama club and for some it is in playing sports. This bill would force schools to discriminate against some students by either denying them the same opportunity to play sports as their peers have or forcing them to play on a team that does not align with how they and their families perceive their gender.  

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State House 2024

Your Action Requested on SB 341

The legislature is entering its final sprint of the regular session of 2024. Much like a lot of schools the legislature has 7 weeks remaining. Once the regular session ends in June, the legislature does not take up any new bills again until Jan 2025. However, AFT-NH is still tracking a number of key priority bills in the 2024 session but at this point it is a lot less fast and furious than it was at the beginning of the year.

This past week there was no action taken on either the school voucher expansion or part time uncertified teacher bill in the Senate, however the House Education Committee dead locked on a 10-10 vote on SB341 which requires teachers to track everything students say, do or wear at school in case a parent asks about it later. Please contact your state representative and ask them to vote Inexpedient to Legislate on SB 341.

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AFT-NH Logo 2024

I’m here today because the bottom line is simple and the reality is clear. President

Biden defends public education. Donald Trump attacks it. President Biden supports our

educators. Donald Trump supports billionaires.

As President Biden said in his State of the Union address, in order to remain the

strongest economy in the world, we need to have the best education system in the

world. That’s why he’s investing in educators after Donald Trump left them behind.

President Biden invested $170 billion in K-12 schools – the single largest-ever

investment in education funding. Here are some examples of how that helped!

  • This investment has allowed us to hire more certified teachers to help students catch up in reading and math. In fact, state test results from last year showed that NH is leading the country in getting student achievement back to where it should be after the disruptions of the COVID pandemic.
  • It has allowed negotiated salary increases to retain experienced, certified public school teachers and paraeducators – a very difficult thing to do in this time of educator shortages.
  • Pres. Biden’s Infrastructure Law expanded rural broadband – which in a state like NH helps many of our students as well as our staff. It is so much harder for students to do their homework or teachers to do their lesson planning if they have to go to the nearest fast food restaurant to use their wifi. 
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AFT-NH Logo 2024

CONCORD, N.H.—Statement by AFT-New Hampshire President Deb Howes on SB 341, requiring teachers and other school employees to truthfully and completely answer any question by parents or face termination. The House Education Committee plans to discuss and vote on the bill on Monday, April 22.

“You could call this bill ‘son of parental bill of rights’, which the Legislature rejected in the last session. Teachers should be allowed to simply teach and do their jobs, instead of forcing them to pay attention to what kids wear, say and do and then be tattletales if asked by parents. This is another attempt to intimidate teachers with a scary but vague law that holds career-jeopardizing consequences, not so different from the equally offensive ‘divisive concepts’ law. This is not what most N.H. parents want and doesn’t move the needle at all in terms of improving our schools or student achievement. To be frank, this law will get in the way of teachers being able to focus on their teaching and students being able to feel safe and concentrate on their learning.”

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Your Action Requested

We wanted to provide a quick (and early!) bulletin this week before many of our members who are public school educators and school staff take a well-deserved April break.

This week, the House heard and then immediately voted to defeat SB 442 in committee. SB 442 would have raised the income cap on the school voucher program to 400% of federal poverty, which is about $125,000 a year for a family of 4. The Republicans on the House Education Committee has made it clear that they voted against this bill not because they understand that the already over-budget, unaccountable voucher scheme is bad for New Hampshire students, school and property taxpayers but because they already passed HB1665 which raises the voucher program to 500% of the federal poverty level, which is about $156,000 for a family of 4. They want to give away more of our tax money to families, most of whom are already managing to pay for private school or home schooling without a state funded tax subsidy.

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Thank you, Chair Ward and Members of the Senate Education Committee.

My name is Debrah Howes. I am president of the American Federation of Teachers – New Hampshire. I am here to speak on behalf of our 3700 members across the state. Our members include preK through 12 public school educators and support staff, university faculty as well as town employees. We are parents and grandparents of public school students as well as property owners and taxpayers in the Granite State. I am here today to testify in opposition to HB 1665 relative to eligibility for the school voucher program.

The State of New Hampshire has a constitutional duty to all its children to provide the opportunity for a robust public education through its public district schools. It is currently failing to meet this obligation in a way that provides the same robust public education to the students in Claremont, Berlin, and Franklin as it does to the students in Windham, Bedford, and Hanover. Moreover, the taxes raised to fund those schools so students can have everything that makes up a robust public school education: the teachers, the paraeducator support, the books, the school libraries, the counselors, safe buildings, transportation – those taxes must fall equally upon citizens across the state as providing a public education is constitutionally a state responsibility. Numerous court cases have enumerated these principles over the past three decades. It is each Granite State child's right to have access to that quality public education, but the state is still not living up to its obligation!

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