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AFT-NH Legislative Bulletin (2024-23)

Legislative Session Ends on a High Note

This was a good 3 weeks for public education, public school students, parents, and teachers in the State of New Hampshire.  As we talked about in the last update, federal courts struck down the Divisive Concepts law 3 weeks ago. That was followed by the unlicensed part time teacher bill failing because elected officials on the Committee of Conference did not reach an agreement acceptable to all members before the deadline. Then this past week, the House voted to defeat the effort to expand the unaccountable, over-budget, unproven school voucher program. The voted of 185-168 was a strong bipartisan victory for all those who care about public education, opportunity and inclusion for all students, and student achievement. 

It was all a strong victory because of all of you who took action to stop these harmful bills. Our Representatives and Senators in Concord need to hear from real Granite State voters on the issues they care about. Getting emails or phone calls from an actual neighbor in your community can make the difference, even against the pressure from out of state Texas dark money groups with deceptive names like “Young Americans for Liberty” who spend a lot of time telling some of our legislators how they should vote – or else.  Your effort – your local, authentic voices as Granite Staters with actual “skin in the game” - this year has not gone unnoticed and was a big reason many harmful pieces of legislation were pushed aside this year. 

The legislature is now done for the year. Governor Sununu still needs to sign or veto legislation as it comes to his desk and then the House and Senate will meet in September for one day to attempt to override any vetoes but in essence the legislative year is over. That does not mean we can fully rest however as the State Board of Education is still working on the overhaul of the ED 306 rules. Commissioner Frank Edelblut met with members of the Legislative Oversight Committee last week and received significant resistance to the State Board of Education trying to implement his anti-education agenda through rules which he has largely failed to shove through the legislature.  Administrative rules are never supposed to exceed the authority of the laws upon which they are based. The commissioner acknowledged many of the changes in the various drafts of his plan do not comply with law and would need to change back so this is still something we will be watching closely. There will be at least one more public comment period where we will need your voices to be heard, as the voices of real Granite State voters with “skin in the game.” Please keep an eye out for a Red Alert on the ED 306 Minimum Standards for Public Schools Rules over the summer. 

For those of our members have finished or are about to finish their school year—THANK YOU for all of your work for our public school students in this state this year. We hope you enjoy a well-earned break and come back next year refreshed and recharged. We know these updates can sometimes feel like it is the whole world vs. public school educators. It truly isn’t.  Please know that while our legislature does unfortunately have a significant segment of radical, anti-education politicians, most families in the Granite State want strong public schools and recognize your work in making that happen. And more and more of the policy makers in Concord recognize the importance of public schools to our students and their families. They stand with us in our fight to support robust, well-funded public schools where every student feels welcome and can thrive. They are thankful for what you do every day for our students and want to make sure you know how grateful they are to you. Thank you.

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