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AFT-NH Legislative Bulletin (2024-19)

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:

HB 1665 raises the cap on the voucher program from 350% to 500%. The program which is already overbudget and still contains zero independent financial or academic accountability, would now be available to anyone making $156,000. This proposed raise in the cap comes as the legislature is still failing to meet its constitutional obligation to fully and equitably fund its public schools.

HB 1583 would increase funding to public school districts. It would not fill the $537 million gap between the current funding model and what is required to meet its constitutional obligation, but it would make a good start. This bill would increase the per pupil base aid for all students. It would also increase targeted funding for districts with high numbers of students living in poverty and increase targeted funding to districts with low property tax bases.  The Senate Finance Committee held the public hearing on April 30th but still has not acted on the bill. Please Contact the Senate Finance Committee and ask them to support HB 1583.

HB 1298 is the so-called part-time uncertified teacher bill. The bill as amended from the House allows anyone to teach up to 20 hours a week, without a certification as long as they meet a couple of minimum requirements to show knowledge of their subject area. Teachers need to know how to teach, not just understand the subject they are teaching. Students deserve certified teachers who know how to communicate content, adapt lesson plans to meet students’ needs and interests, and manage all of the students in the classroom. One of the senators on the committee actually thought each public school classroom had a paraeducator to handle that.  If this bill passes districts that are having staffing and funding issues most likely will use more uncertified teachers, creating a larger gap between schools in property poor towns and those in property rich towns.

HB 1311 requires that all school boards adopt clear policies for school library collection development and for reconsidering material that is in a collection. It sets the right balance between a students’ constitutional right to access a wide variety of materials through a school library, a local school board’s right to determine what they will place in that library, and a parent or community member right to question materials in the collection. (And remember, a parent can always prohibit their own child from checking out specific books from the school library.) This makes sure that the local community is involved, through its locally elected school board, in setting the policy for what is in the school library.    

We expect action on all of these bills this week as the Senate Education Committee will be meeting and will keep you informed on the progress on all of them.

For now, we celebrate the victories we had this week and continue our work as the session wraps up.

Thank you again for all your work protecting public education this session.

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