Skip to main content

State House News

State House 2024

Court Rejects Divisive Concepts Law and Legislative Session Enters Final Weeks

A HUGE VICTORY for public school students and teachers this week as the federal district court ruled in favor of AFT-NH and other plaintiffs in the so-called divisive concepts case. The law that was passed as part of the state budget in 2021 was aimed at preventing teachers from teaching honest history to Granite State students. It was pushed by anti-education politicians and our anti-public education commissioner, Frank Edelblut, a partisan political appointee who is answerable only to the governor.

 

MORE
State House 2024

Tell Governor Sununu to Veto HB 1312

If Gov. Sununu signs HB 1312, teachers need to get ready to send home parental notices about almost every literature, history, social studies, art and music lesson.

This week the New Hampshire Senate voted to pass HB 1312 expanding parental notification requirements through a law originally written for parents who wanted to opt their students out of sexual education classes. HB 1312 is a vaguely written bill that expands the two week opt out notice from topics that include human sexuality and human sexual education to also include any curriculum, program, or course materials that includes mention of sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or gender expression in any class.

MORE
State House 2024

Don’t Weaken Our Public Schools

Defeat Expansion of School Vouchers and Uncertified Part-Time Teachers

Breathtaking hypocrisy in the Senate Education Committee this week as moments after Senator Tim Lang said that the State of New Hampshire did not have enough money in the Education Trust Fund to invest in helping students with special education needs get better supports in their public schools and lowering the burden on local property taxpayers, he introduced an amendment that would raise the income level on the over budget, unproven school voucher program from 350% of the federal poverty level to 400%.  

MORE
AFT-NH Logo 2024

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 when it comes to school libraries. It requires that all school boards adopt clear policies for their district on how they build their library collections and on what steps to take if a parent or guardian feels  there is material in the collection that doesn’t belong there or is accessible to the wrong age level. This is the right balance, respecting the rights and interests of all involved.

MORE
State House 2024

Great News - Teacher Spy Bill (HB 341) Defeated

An important victory this week! SB 341— the bill that would have made teachers spy on all their students, make note of everything they said, did or wore to school in case a parent asked about it later; a bill that would distract teachers from teaching and students from learning, was defeated. A bi-partisan group of pro-education, pro-student, pro-parent, and pro-teacher legislators came together to defeat this legislation for the third year in a row. We are thankful for them and thankful for you, for all of your work to make sure your legislators knew to vote against this bill.

As the House and Senate finish up their business, there are couple of bills we are left tracking:

MORE

I am here to speak on behalf of our 3700 members across the state, as well as the students, families, and communities we serve. Our members include preK through 12 public school educators and support staff, university faculty as well as town employees. I am here today to testify in support of HB 1583 relative to the per pupil cost of the opportunity for an adequate education.

Every Granite State child has a constitutional right to the opportunity for a robust public education through our local neighborhood public schools no matter where they live in the state. Whether families choose to enroll in the local neighborhood public schools for their children’s education, or choose private school, homeschooling, or a charter school, it is the child’s constitutional right to have that opportunity for a robust public education and the state’s constitutional duty to fund it. In fact, our Granite State students have a right to more than just a barebones public education, as a series of court cases have clarified over the past  three decades. They have a right to a public education that prepares them for college, entering the workforce, joining an apprenticeship program or the service and to become productive citizens of their communities and our state, or wherever their goals and dreams take them after high school.

MORE
AFT-NH Logo 2024

We oppose this bill because it is not in the best interests of students being able to learn a full and robust curriculum in our public schools. Parents already have the right to notice of the content of curriculum on human sexuality in heath and sexual education classes. The expansion of the areas requiring two week parental notification could conceivably be used to object to content beyond materials in biology or health class directly related to reproduction and human sexuality. Expanding the areas of objection to include sexual orientation, gender,  gender identity or gender expression could require notification before covering any material dealing with gender inequality in hiring or pay in economics or discussing civil rights for gay, lesbian and transgender Americans as part of history or current events classes. It could even require parental notification before reading classics such as  Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” where characters swap gender roles.

MORE
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.  

MORE
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.

MORE

Thank you, Chair Ladd and Members of the House 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 3,700 members. Our members include PreK through 12 public school educators and support staff, university faculty as well as town employees across the Granite State. We are parents and grandparents of public school students as well as taxpayers in New Hampshire. We have serious concerns with SB 341 and urge you to find it Inexpedient to Legislate.

This bill seems simple: if a parent asks a question about a student, the teacher or school employee must answer “completely and honestly” in writing. Ideally parents and teachers should be working together as a team both focusing on the best interest of the student because we all know that is when students make the most progress academically and thrive socially and emotionally. And if this bill were limited to questions about student academic progress, classwork, homework, whether the student follows school rules while in class, gets along with classmates and is kind to others, it might be a starting point for a collaboration between parents and teachers. That is if it didn’t come with the threat of punishment because genuine teamwork in the best interest of seeing a student succeed is not produced under coercive threats.

MORE