Education Bills for the Week of March 30, 2015

The legislative session is in the process of “cross over,” when the House and Senate exchange bills. Only a few have been reassigned; look for more in the weeks ahead. Most of the bills below are scheduled for a committee meeting which is the opportunity for public testimony. This is the best chance to communicate with the committee members and share your opinion on the bills. The public has until the executive session to make an impact on how the committee will vote, which is very influential when the entire body votes. Some bills will be exec’d by the committees this week and the Senate Education Committee may do that anytime after a bill’s public hearing. Email or call them promptly to have the most impact. Contact information for the House and Senate education committees are at the end of this post.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015
HOUSE EDUCATION, Room 207, LOB

9:30 a.m. SB 195/A-FN, requiring instruction in cursive handwriting and memorization of multiplication tables
position — NEUTRAL
more information — The original bill was well-meaning, but an unfunded mandate, against Part 1 Article 28-A of the NH Constitution, but the amendment neutralizes that concern. It now permits districts to continue the instruction for cursive and multiplication tables as they choose.

10:00 a.m. SB 151-FN, requiring inclusion of home educated pupils in the definition of average daily membership in attendance

10:30 a.m. SB 265-FN, establishing the achieving a better life experience (ABLE) savings account program

11:15 a.m. Executive session
SB 71, relative to the administration of glucagon injections for children in schools
SB 166, relative to facilitated individualized education program meetings
SB 194-FN, relative to epinephrine administration policies in postsecondary educational institutions.

1:00 p.m. Executive session
** SB 69, establishing a commission to study social impact bond funding for early childhood education for at-risk students
position — OPPOSE
more information — Good Intentions Are Not Enough and Testimony for SB 69, this bill is a gateway bill towards universal preschool and chases another failed federal education experiment

** SB 101, prohibiting the state from requiring implementation of common core standards
position — SUPPORT
more information — NHFFE’s Prohibiting the DOE from Requiring the Implementation of Common Core in Any School or School District in NH, this bill expressly prohibits the state from mandating Common Core standards thereby protecting local control; it also reinforces legislative intent to keep dispositions (values, attitudes, and beliefs) out of NH standards and assessments

SB 151-FN, requiring inclusion of home educated pupils in the definition of average daily membership in attendance

SB 195/A-FN, requiring instruction in cursive handwriting and memorization of multiplication tables (as amended)
position — NEUTRAL
more information — The original bill was well-meaning, but an unfunded mandate, against Part 1 Article 28-A of the NH Constitution, but the amendment neutralizes that concern. It now permits districts to continue the instruction for cursive and multiplication tables as they choose.

SB 265-FN, establishing the achieving a better life experience (ABLE) savings account program.

SENATE EDUCATION, Room 103, LOB

9:00 a.m. HB 662-FN-L, relative to property taxes paid by chartered public schools leasing property

9:20 a.m. HB 520, establishing privacy protections for student online personal information
position — SUPPORT
more information — This bill would require privacy protections of the various outside companies that NH schools hire to provide educational services to students

** 9:40 a.m. HB 276, providing that school districts shall not be required to adopt the common core standards (as amended)
position — OPPOSE
more information — This bill gives additional authority to the state Board of Education, against local control. The problematic language is the final sentence of the bill, “If a school board elects not to implement or participate in the common core state standards or any other minimum educational standards adopted by the state board pursuant to RSA 541-A or as adopted through state board policy or guidelines for all grades in public schools, the school board shall adopt and implement standards that meet or exceed those standards.” The state BOE would have sole authority to judge whether or not the local school board’s standards are superior or not. The current College and Career Standards adopted by the state BOE have poorly-defined standards. On what basis would the local school board’s standards be evaluated? There is no appeal process and the state BOE has already proven mostly inaccessible and indifferent to parents and local taxpayers. HB 276 would also empower the state BOE to “adopt” state standards. Currently they only have the ability to “recommend” them. This greatly expands their power. SB 101 is a superior bill to protect local control. (See above.)

10:20 a.m. HB 322, relative to protection of personally identifiable data by the department of education
position — SUPPORT
more information — This bill provides greater transparency of the Student Longitudinal Data System (SLDS) or other database the DOE may use; it also is the first to propose a data security plan which would add greater security and accountability to the systems in place; it also builds on parents’ rights to inspect and amend their student’s records and consent prior to disclosure of personally-identifiable information; this bill requires the same privacy protections and accountability for students that adults demand; also see Parents Must Have an Opt-Out of Student Databases and Student Privacy at Risk

EXECUTIVE SESSION MAY FOLLOW

Wednesday, April 1, 2015
SENATE EDUCATION, Room 103, LOB

2:00 p.m. HB 332, relative to school district policy regarding objectionable course material
position — SUPPORT
more information — This bill is consistent with parents’ rights to opt-out of controversial materials for his/her own student found in RSA 186:11, IX-c; it also seeks prior notification to parents from the schools and availability of the materials ahead of time so parents can make informed decisions regarding their children’s education; also see A Parent’s Right to Opt-Out

2:20 p.m. HB 346, relative to criminal history records checks for school employees and volunteers

2:40 p.m. HB 424, relative to the accessibility of assessment materials
position — SUPPORT
more information — This bill would require schools to inform parents of their rights to inspect their student’s assessments per RSA 193-C:10

3:00 p.m. HB 507, relative to teacher personally identifiable data
position — SUPPORT
more information — This bill expands privacy protections to teachers and other school faculty

EXECUTIVE SESSION MAY FOLLOW

To contact the entire House Education Committee, you may send one email to HouseEducationCommittee@leg.state.nh.us

To find your NH senator, and his or her contact information, refer to the senate’s roster page.

The following is the Senate Education Committee‘s contact information.
John Reagan, Chairman
john.reagan111@gmail.com
(603)271-4063

Nancy Stiles, Vice Chairman
nancy.stiles@leg.state.nh.us
(603)271-3093

Kevin Avard
Kevin.Avard@.leg.state.nh.us
(603)271-4151

Molly Kelly
molly.kelly@leg.state.nh.us
(603)271-3207

David Watters
david.watters@leg.state.nh.us
(603)271-8631

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