We have a chance to overturn Governor Maggie Hassan’s veto of HB 603 when the NH House of Representatives returns on September 16th. This was a bill that would explicitly give parents the right to refuse their child’s participation in statewide assessments.
Please sign our petition to send an email to all senators and representatives, telling them that they should respect parents’ rights to direct their children’s education.
On June 12th, Governor Hassan vetoed HB 603, the bill that would explicitly write parent’s rights to refuse their child’s participation in statewide assessments into New Hampshire statute.
In her veto message, Gov. Hassan stated that students must take these assessments to ensure our state’s competitive economic future and prepare our children for the 21st century workforce. This marginalizes our children, reducing them into worker-bees for the state.
Although these assessments have no academic or diagnostic value, Gov. Hassan justified losing important teaching time admitting “… it is also important to note that the State is not over-relying on these tests as they are not a significant factor in teacher evaluation, they are not used to determine school funding and they are not required for a student to graduate.” The spring 2015 results won’t be released to the public until November, so where is the academic value to the teachers or students?
It is also ironic that while the state is trying to mandate participation in the Common Core aligned assessment, the NH Department of Education is developing something to replace it, the Performance Assessment of Competency Education (PACE) program. The governor also praised this experimental PACE program in her veto message. While they claim that PACE reduces testing, it actually intertwines assessments into the regular class work. This is not less testing; it is more. Instead of being administered once annually, like the Smarter Balanced Assessment, PACE assessments are part of the on-going classroom experience and woven into the day-to-day operations of the school. Due to the nature of the PACE program, parents will not have the ability to refuse these assessments. For more information this program, read Things Come Apart So Easily and PACE: the Next Educational Reform from the NH DOE.
To repeat — the Smarter Balanced Assessment has no academic or diagnostic value, is not used for school funding or student advancement, and the state is working to replace it with a different program. So why is the state pushing so hard to force students to participate in this controversial assessment?
The Governor placed a price tag on our parental rights and our children’s educations. By vetoing this important bill she said that it is more important to chase federal funds instead of respecting parental rights that are upheld by the Supreme Court of the United States.
It is critical that we overturn the veto of HB 603. Contact your Representatives and Senator today!
The NH House of Representatives will reopen the session on September 16th. Our petition will send a mass email to all Representatives and Senators; it’s an easy way to make a difference. Also brief phone calls are very effective, and direct emails to your legislators are good when you indicate you are a constituent. To find your Representative, go to Who’s My Legislator. To find your Senator, check the senate roster.
Also consider writing a Letter to the Editor to the major newspapers. This puts additional public pressure on our elected officials to listen to their constituents.
Suggested Talking Points:
- The state DOE commissioner, Dr. Virginia Barry believes there is no refusal option in NH statute, so this is explicitly needed to reinforce Supreme Court of the US rulings that recognize parent’s rights to direct their children’s education.
- Parents’ rights should not be compromised to chase federal dollars. No state or school district has lost federal funding due to lower participation rates.
- Increasingly Common Core and the over-testing of our students are bi-partisan issues. It is estimated that more than 500 Manchester students refused participation in the Smarter Balanced Assessments this spring. Similarly Nashua, another large Democrat-voting community, had a significant opt-out rate with half of the junior class refusing participation.
- This bill is necessary to refute the NH DOE’s Technical Advisories that districts are using to trample parents’ rights and deny participation refusals for their children’s participation. Parental refusal is not a state approved reason for non-participation, but has always been accepted. HB 603 would explicitly acknowledge this right.
For more information about HB 603 and refusing statewide assessments, read the following:
Starting the Year Right
Parents’ Rights Vetoed by Governor Hassan
Update on HB 603, the Parental Refusal Bill
Writing Parent’s Rights into Statute
Parents Can Refuse