Earlier today the senate made a disastrous decision to adopt floor amendment #1736s for House Bill 1637, the bill that supports school choice for small towns. The amendment is the horrible one originally written by Rep. James Grenier and the Department of Education. It was discussed at the Senate Education Committee’s public hearing back on April 12th. It would require private schools to comply with the controversial, Common Core aligned statewide assessments, like public schools, in order to participate in school choice programs. This amendment would erase one of the critical distinctions between public and private schools.
The amendment passed unanimously in a roll call vote. It would seem that the senators who usually support school choice were either hoodwinked or rushed into this decision and did not fully read the amendment. At least that’s our hope, but the senate has been unreliable on education issues the past two years. In today’s session they also killed two important bills related to the statewide assessments that would have provided student privacy (HB 1229) and recognized parents’ rights to refuse their children’s participation (HB 1338). Both received Inexpedient to Legislate recommendations out of the Senate Education Committee.
Few options remain at this point. Because the House and Senate passed different versions of HB 1637, they will have to resolve them in a Committee of Conference. We will stay on top of this developing situation.
URGENT ACTION: The House Education Committee will make a recommendation whether or not the House should concur with the Senate version. That recommendation will go on to the full House to accept or reject. All this can happen by Wednesday, May 11th, so we need to take action now!
It is *urgent* that you contact the House Education Committee immediately telling them NOT to accept HB 1637 as amended by the Senate, and reject the bill. Also contact your state representatives, alerting them that they must make sure the House does not concur so the bill is killed. This situation is terribly frustrating, but it is preferred to the outcome should HB 1637 be signed into law. It would be a disaster for our private schools and the school choice movement.
To find your Representatives, go to “Who’s My Legislator?” Brief and polite phone calls and emails are effective, especially if you mention you are a constituent. Mass emails are far less effective, but the email for all Reps is email@example.com.
To contact the entire House Education Committee, you may send one email to HouseEducationCommittee@leg.state.nh.us. The General Court website is experiencing several technical difficulties (the committee’s email is not always working), so consider contact the Representatives directly. Particularly mention if you are a constituent. Emails for each member of the House Education Committee are as follows:
For additional information on HB 1637 and the Croydon school choice program, read the following articles.
Saving School Choice
School Choice for Small Towns Hits Snag in Senate
Testimony for HB 1637
Croydon’s Day in Court
HB 1637 — School Choice for Small Towns
Guarantee an Adequate Education?
Injunction Hearing for Croydon vs the NH DOE
Response to the NH DOE and Attorney General
It’s About Control, Not the Kids
The NH DOE Continues to Bully Croydon
The DOE Wants to End School Choice
Innovative School Choice Program in Croydon