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“There are 165,000 students and their families who trust and rely on our local neighborhood public schools for their education, and today the NH House let them down. Rather than focus on improving education funding so public educational opportunities are just as robust in Berlin and Claremont as they are in Bedford and Windham, today the NH House voted to expand school vouchers. While we are thankful the House exercised appropriate caution and fiscal restraint in defeating two unlimited school voucher bills, it did increase the income eligibility for the school voucher program to 500% of the


AFT-NH Testimony on HB 1377

From Debrah Howes, President AFT-NH

Thank you, Chair Infantine and members of the Labor, Industrial and Rehabilitative Services 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.

I am here today in support of my Union Brothers, Sisters and Family of the Labor Movement and against HB 1377.

Right-to-Work continues


The law this bill seeks to repeal does its work of silencing appropriate and necessary classroom conversations because it never clearly explains exactly what is allowed and what is not. It threatens punishment up to and including the loss of teaching credentials and career if someone subjectively feels you have somehow violated the boundaries of law. We have had a year and a half to see how this works in schools and how it robs our public-school students of the robust education they deserve.


Part-time uncertified employees would not have the tool kit certified teachers develop through their teacher preparation programs, practicums, student teaching, internships, and years on the job. Teaching is an art, craft, and skill as much as it is the knowledge of content that one is trying to convey to the student. When you have uncertified teachers, it is the students who lose. In fact, research shows that having an uncertified teacher is equivalent to losing 2 months of instructional time each year. Don’t shortchange our public school students!

For all these reasons, it does not make sense to allow noncredentialled individuals, who are not professional teachers to work in our public schools and call themselves educators. Our students deserve to have their needs considered and they deserve professional, credentialed teachers.


Urgent Action Needed to Stop Universal School Vouchers

Breaking News ~ Stop Universal Vouchers.   Our public school students need your help now. The NH House calendar for next week now includes three bills that would significantly expand the school voucher program, making it universal, will be voted on by your state representatives.  Contact your state representative NOW and ask them to vote NO on these unaccountable and budget busting bills.

These three voucher bills, HB 1561, 1634, and 1665, will expand the state’s school voucher program so that any family, or almost any family, is eligible, yet still relying on the same overburdened taxpayers to fund it. These bills which come with a huge price tag are being presented at a time when they are ignoring the Court’s Con/Val ruling that shows they have been starving our local neighborhood public schools of necessary funds for decades and ignoring their constitutional obligation to provide all students in the Granite State with the opportunity for a robust public education. The extremists in the NH House will also vote on a plan to raid the Education Trust Fund so the money can’t be used to help public school students.


HB 1311, also known as the Freedom to Read bill, strikes the right balance in recognizing the needs, interests and responsibilities of students, families, and schools. It requires that all school districts adopt clear policies on how they build their library collections and on what steps to take if a parent or guardian feels material is in the collection that doesn’t belong there or is at the wrong age level. This is the right balance, respecting the interests of all involved.