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AFT-NH Legislative Bulletin (2024-22)

Court Rejects Divisive Concepts Law and Legislative Session Enter 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.

The court made it clear that not only was the law unconstitutionally vague but that Commissioner Edelblut was trying to enforce his own personal opinions through the law. This decision makes it clear that public school teachers should not be prosecuted for teaching our history—however difficult some of it may be. We are proud that AFT-NH filed this case first in the district court and proud in the role we played in having this law struck down. All of members should know that we will always fight for you, your rights, your jobs, and the communities you serve.  You can read the complete court decision here. 


In legislative news, we are now officially in the last two weeks of the session. AFT-NH is continuing to track two bills that we have talked to you a lot about this session:

HB 1665: Increases the cap on school vouchers. Currently, to qualify for the program you cannot make more than 350% of the federal poverty level. Under the version of the bill that House passed it raises that amount to 500%, under the version the Senate passed it raises the level to 400%. Either way, anti-education politicians are looking to divert more of your money meant for our neighborhood public schools to private schools with no oversight or accountability. The State of NH already does a bad job funding public schools so that every student gets a robust public education no matter where they live. It certainly can’t afford to now fund all kinds of private education schemes through vouchers on top of that. About 85 to 90% of the students using school vouchers were not in public schools so they are additional costs to taxpayers.   

HB 1298: Allows schools to hire unlicensed teachers to work part-time. The Senate version allows an unlicensed person to be hired for up to 30 weeks with no additional qualifications—not even a college degree. The House version allows an unlicensed person to be hired for up to 20 hours a week and they need a degree in a field related to what they would teach plus to pass a praxis. Neither of these versions are good for our students or our public schools. Having someone who is uncertified means they might not know anything about planning lessons, meeting the learning needs of children at different learning levels, communicating effectively, managing behaviors, and all the many other skills that go into teaching. Do you want just any adult who can pass a background check reading from a scripted manual and unable to do anything else as your child’s first grade teacher? Or whose only answer to student misbehavior is to yell at them to behave or else? That’s what this bill would allow.  

Next week, the House and the Senate will meet in committees of conference to try to come to an agreement on each of these bills. If they are able to come to an agreement, they must do so by Thursday the 6th and then the House and Senate would vote on each bill on the last day of session, which is June 13th. AFT-NH will continue to track these bills and will alert you when an action is needed.

 Thank you for continuing to reach out to your elected representatives.


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