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CONCORD, N.H.— Today, the Department of Education released its latest data on the voucher program enacted by Republicans in last year's budget. AFT-NH President Deb Howes released the following statement: “The numbers show a disturbing trend of the vast majority of vouchers being used by students who were already in private school or already being homeschooled.  The voucher program has cost the state $14.7 million since its inception, a tab local property taxpayers will be forced to absorb in their city and town budgets. All of this while we know our local neighborhood public schools continue to support the majority of our students in New Hampshire. The state should be focusing on how to support the almost 170,000 public school students so that every child in New Hampshire is receiving the best education possible instead of just focusing on a few students who use a voucher.” MORE
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School Assessment Scores Show New Hampshire Public Schools Are In A Strong Position With More Work To Be Done  (AFT-NH President Deb Howes) CONCORD, N.H.— Yesterday, the New Hampshire Department of Education released assessment data showing that New Hampshire’s public schools continue to make improvements getting closer to pre-pandemic levels of achievement. AFT-NH President Deb Howes released the following statement: “It is no secret that the last three years have been difficult on students, teachers, school support staff, and administrators. This past year in particular teachers had to focus not just on the content that they are required to teach but also on content that may have been missed due to hybrid and remote learning. Teachers, support staff, and students worked overtime re-establishing safe learning communities and focusing both on relationships and academics. MORE
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AFT-NH President Howes issued the following statement on the tragic events in Uvalde, TX “AFT-NH is heartbroken by the incomprehensible violence that took 19 precious students and 2 educators in Uvalde, TX yesterday. We offer our profound condolences to the families of the students and educators lost, as well as the whole community that is struggling to understand what happened. Those children were in a place where they should have been safe, learning together, laughing together, counting down the hours to the end of the school year. They should have gone home at the end of the day to their families who love them. Those families will now mourn for them, along with their school community and a town that are forever changed. We cannot accept that this kind of violence is the price of freedom. Children have a right to live and grow up. We mourn with the families and school community of Uvalde but also demand better solutions from our lawmakers at all levels so that our schools can be safe places for our students and educators." ### MORE
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CONCORD, N.H. – The broad coalition of educators, advocacy groups, and law firms challenging the state’s ‘banned concepts’ law filed on Friday a new court brief objecting to the state’s attempt to dismiss the case. The brief highlights consistent and renewed concerns that the law discourages public school teachers from teaching and talking about race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, and gender identity in the classroom. The current case before the Court consolidates two lawsuits, one filed by educators Andres Mejia and Tina Kim Philibotte and National Education Association – New Hampshire, and one from the American Federation of Teachers.  Andres Mejia and Tina Kim Philibotte, both New Hampshire school administrators for diversity, equity, and inclusion, are among the plaintiffs in the case represented by ACLU-NH, and argue that the vague law is an unconstitutional chill on educator’s voices that prevents students from having an open and complete dialogue about the perspectives of historically marginalized communities. MORE
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BOW, N.H.—Statement by Deb Howes, president of AFT-New Hampshire, on Senate passage of HB 1431, the Parental Bill of Rights, which would require N.H. teachers and school staff to disclose to parents any communications they have with students that affect the child’s health and well-being, potentially chilling important confidential conversations with students in vulnerable situations who do not feel safe at home: MORE
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BOW, N.H.—Statement by Deb Howes, president of AFT-New Hampshire, on HB 1431, the parental bill of rights bill, which would give N.H. parents unrestricted rights to direct their children’s public education: “AFT-New Hampshire strongly encourages parental involvement in their children’s education, the praiseworthy objective of the parental bill of rights legislation. The problem with the legislation is that it takes that aim to untenable extremes and would create chaos in the classroom and erode trust and collaboration between parents, schools and educators. MORE
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AFT-NH Statement by President Deb Howes Town Election Results Show Voters Support Their Public Schools: Recent House Education Committee Action Echoes Public’s Pro-Public School Stance                                           CONCORD, N.H.—Tuesday’s town elections across the state, which saw pro-public education school board candidates victorious and most educator union contracts approved with significant raises, vividly show that New Hampshire voters overwhelmingly support their public schools, said American Federation of Teachers-NH President Deb Howes. “No matter how you look at the results, it’s clear that voters want their public schools and educators respected and funded. The election results confirm that the anti-public school forces can’t pit teachers against the community,” Howes said. “The public is sick of negative, divisive attacks on public schools and want a laser focus on giving our kids the schools they deserve.” MORE
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“Gov. Sununu slaps himself on the back for his education accomplishments, but he pointedly failed to acknowledge the heroic work of our teachers, paraeducators, and staff who have shown up every day during the pandemic for their students. While trumpeting the statewide voucher program and his mantra of cutting property taxes, the public should know that siphoning money from public schools for unregulated private school vouchers doesn’t help students or families and sends property taxes through the roof. MORE
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Statements by AFT-NH and AFT on Tabling of Local Voucher Bill CONCORD, N.H.—Statements by AFT-New Hampshire President Deb Howes and American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten on the New Hampshire House of Representatives’ bipartisan tabling of a controversial local voucher bill: AFT-NH President Deb Howes: “AFT-NH commends the bipartisan legislators for coming together to protect public education and local property taxpayers. Public education is the bedrock of the Granite State, and students, school staff and taxpayers would have suffered if this misguided voucher bill had passed. New Hampshire lawmakers heard the voices of voters, who said that instead of another expensive voucher program, they want investment in their neighborhood public schools. We hope this stand for an equitable public education continues in the Legislature and bills like this never see the light of day again.” AFT President Randi Weingarten: “Every child in this country deserves a well-funded, safe, welcoming public school that helps them thrive academically, socially and emotionally. But voucher schemes take money away from our neighborhood public schools, and this one was particularly fiscally and educationally irresponsible. Today in New Hampshire, the voices of parents and community members were heard loud and clear: Don’t defund public education and raise property taxes for another voucher scheme. And the Legislature, in a bipartisan manner, listened, and we are grateful. As we continue to help our kids recover from the pandemic, New Hampshire should invest in public schools and focus on giving all kids a high-quality public education.”  # # # MORE
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AFT-NH Statement on Additional Lawsuit Against Divisive Concepts Law

CONCORD, N.H.—Statement by AFT-New Hampshire President Deb Howes on a lawsuit brought by the NEA-NH challenging the constitutionality of New Hampshire’s so-called divisive concepts law. AFT-NH, three New Hampshire public school teachers and two parents filed a federal lawsuit over the law on Dec. 13.

“This lawsuit adds an additional voice to the growing chorus of challenges to the so-called divisive concepts law. The law is unconstitutionally and hopelessly vague, making it impossible for teachers to know what and how to teach

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