We are just past the half-way point of the legislative session with the House and Senate having exchanged surviving bills. As always, the detailed schedule with our analysis and recommendations is below with legislators’ contact information at the end.
Public hearings are the best chance to communicate with committee members and share your opinion. The Legislative Office Building (LOB) is located immediately behind the State House at 33 N. State Street in Concord. For senate bills, sign the white sheet on a side table just inside the door to indicate your support or opposition for a bill, and if you intend to speak. The protocol is a little different in the House. The public may sign the blue sheet near the room entrance to indicate support or opposition to any bill; fill out a pink card if you intend to speak. If possible, provide written copies for each member plus the committee secretary. If you are unable to attend hearings email the committee, or better yet, call them individually and indicate if you are a constituent.
Some bills are scheduled for executive session which is when the committee discusses and votes on legislation. The public has until then to make an impact on the committee’s recommendation which is very influential when the entire chamber votes. Exec sessions may happen anytime after the public hearing closes so prompt action is highly recommended.
And other bills will be voted on by the entire NH House of Representatives and/or Senate as noted in the schedule. This is when all members of the chamber will vote YEA (to support the committee’s recommendation) or NAY (to oppose the recommendation). Please contact your legislators before the session day with brief, polite messages and mention you are a constituent.
Legislators’ contact information is at the end of the article.
TUESDAY, April 4, 2017: SENATE EDUCATION, ROOM 103 LOB
Public hearings for the following bills
9:00 a.m. HB 391, relative to checklists in other districts
9:20 a.m. HB 412, relative to the pre-engineering technology curriculum
9:40 a.m. HB 607-FN-A, establishing a New Hampshire student access grant program and making an appropriation therefor
10:00 a.m. HB 620, relative to compliance with state and federal education mandates
10:20 a.m. HB 356-FN, establishing a committee to study education funding and the cost of an opportunity for an adequate education
TUESDAY, April 4, 2017: HOUSE EDUCATION, ROOM 207 LOB
Public hearing for the following bill
10:00 a.m. ***SB 193-FN, establishing education freedom savings accounts for students
position — SUPPORT
information — Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) are funds that children receive to a designated account that are used for specified educational purposes. While they are new to New Hampshire, they are not new to other states. Currently five states offer ESA programs and each is unique with respect to the approved uses, eligibility qualifications, administration, accountability mechanisms, and funding sources. The two established programs in Arizona and Florida have been immensely successful. They put an expanded range of educational services and options within reach, particularly for low-income families who face the greatest challenges financing their children’s educational needs. ESAs have withstood constitutional challenges. This bill has few restrictions regarding eligibility and is considered a “universal” ESA. The funds are 90% of the per pupil state adequacy amount plus any differentiated aid the home district would receive for students in grades 1 and above; 50% for kindergarten students. With 5% going to administration by a non-profit scholarship organization, the state keeps 5% which represents an immediate savings. Enrollment is optional. Financial experts testified that the state and districts would have significant savings – a net positive impact on school districts of $59.7 million – if NH implements an ESA program. Empirical evidence shows that school choice programs save money. Read more in Education Savings Accounts: The Next Evolution of School Choice. For more info on the evidence of school choice programs, read A Win-Win Solution by EdChoice.
11:15 a.m. Full committee work session for the following bills
SB 45, requiring a course in civics for high school graduation
***SB 43, relative to non-academic surveys administered by a public school to its students
position — SUPPORT
information — This bill has been in the works for quite some time. HB 206 (2015) created a bi-partisan study committee to examine the numerous non-academic surveys given to our students, and is identical to SB 320 (2016) which was vetoed by Gov. Hassan. Schools routinely ask students to complete non-academic surveys and questionnaires. Usually they are part of state or federal programs or university research projects to assess students’ attitudes, values, decision-making, and behaviors. The committee received reports that these non-academic surveys are sometimes required school work and not anonymous. In fact, the head of the counseling department at Laconia High School admitted in a Concord Monitor interview that the surveys are identifiable. Sometimes surveys request sufficient information that a participant’s identity can easily be reconstructed. Typically the intrusiveness and nature of these surveys are not fully disclosed to parents to make a informed decision about their students’ participation. SB 43 is consistent with federal law, the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA). Note that it is directed to students’ rights in public schools and specifically regards non-academic surveys. Parents, as the guardians, are empowered to uphold these rights on behalf of their minor-aged children. The PPRA provides a long list of rights including consent before students participate, receive notice with an opportunity to opt-out, and inspect the surveys. School officials, counselors, and representatives of many social programs have argued that student privacy is a necessary loss in order to produce higher participation rates and secure funding. The ends do not justify the means. Although some students may benefit from the social programs, it does not justify ignoring current statute, privacy concerns, and parents’ rights to direct their under-age children’s education. Like last year’s bill, SB 43 carves out an exception for the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), a survey that funds many of the supplemental programs offered in schools. This survey would continue to require passive consent (opt-out) from parents. This is a school choice issue because children’s educational experiences should be directed by the people closest to them, the parents, especially because surveys often cover sensitive and personal issues. Public school students should not be subject to increased risks or privacy violations simply because they attend their zip code assigned schools.
The Senate and House Education Committee members with contact information is available here. Brief phone calls are most effective, but personalized emails directed to an individual are also helpful; mention if you are a constituent. Personal stories and messages are helpful. At the bottom we’ve supplied a list of the House committee members’ emails for an easy copy/paste.
To contact the Senate Education Committee, email or call them directly. Members of senate committees do not have a shared email address.
2022 Legislation of Interest
|LSR #||Prime Sponsor||Additional Sponsors||Title|
|2022-2047||Brodie Deshaies||Patrick Long, Linda Massimilla, Dan Wolf, Bonnie Ham, James Allard||requiring parents of public school students to submit a survey when electing an education freedom account|
|2022-2103||Linda Tanner||Sherry Frost, Stephen Woodcock, Jaci Grote, Sue Mullen||relative to the state board of education rules for credit for alternative, extended learning, and work-based programs|
|2022-2145||Sallie Fellows||requiring a performance audit of the department of education, education freedom account program|
|2022-2147||Timothy Lang||Jason Osborne, Kevin Avard, Michael Moffett, Howard Pearl, Bob Greene, Michael Yakubovich, Judy Aron, Gregg Hough, Aidan Ankarberg||relative to driver education|
|2022-2166||Bill Boyd||David Watters, John Reagan, Rick Ladd, Glenn Cordelli, Mark McLean, James Spillane, Michael Moffett, Kevin Verville||relative to the definition of a child with a disability for purposes of special education|
|2022-2172||Maureen Mooney||Sharon Carson, Kenneth Weyler, Jeanine Notter, Ruth Ward, Robert Healey||relative to notice to a chartered public school of a special education services meeting|
|2022-2178||Maureen Mooney||relative to the provision of special education services by chartered public schools|
|2022-2342||Glenn Cordelli||Carol McGuire, Jason Osborne, Gregory Hill, Michael Moffett, Alicia Lekas, Tony Piemonte, Deborah Hobson||relative to eligibility for the education tax credit|
|2022-2371||Marjorie Porter||Marjorie Smith, Paul Berch, Mel Myler, Linda Tanner, Mary Heath, Patricia Cornell, Jay Kahn, Stephen Woodcock, Arthur Ellison, Sue Mullen, Suzanne Prentiss||relative to the source of funds for education freedom accounts|
|2022-2376||Glenn Cordelli||relative to special education services for children in chartered public schools|
|2022-2407||Bonnie Ham||requiring the department of education to administer the education freedom account program|
|2022-2411||Bonnie Ham||Brodie Deshaies||relative to verification of eligible students under the education freedom account program|
|2022-2416||Bonnie Ham||Brodie Deshaies||relative to funds of the education freedom account program after termination of a student's participation and responsibilities of the scholarship organization|
|2022-2515||Erica Layon||relative to student participation in the education freedom accounts program and relative to administration of the program|
|2022-2519||Patricia Cornell||Robert Renny Cushing, Marjorie Porter, Mary Heath, Arthur Ellison, Sue Mullen||relative to participation in the education freedom accounts program by students with disabilities|
|2022-2543||Erica Layon||relative to requirements for home education students|
|2022-2651||Susan Almy||relative to driver education and the driver training fund|
|2022-2739||Sue Mullen||Marjorie Porter, Mel Myler, Mary Heath, Patricia Cornell, Stephen Woodcock, Arthur Ellison, Catherin Rombeau||relative to education service providers under the education freedom accounts program|
|2022-2757||Linda Tanner||relative to unique pupil identification for pupils in the education freedom accounts program|
|2022-2774||David Luneau||relative to eligibility criteria for education freedom accounts|
|2022-2775||David Luneau||relative to misuse of education freedom account funds|
|2022-2776||David Luneau||Marjorie Smith, Richard Ames||relative to liability as taxable income of education freedom account payments|
|2022-2777||David Luneau||relative to transfers of adequate education grants under the education freedom account program|
|2022-2778||David Luneau||repealing the education freedom account program|
|2022-2779||David Luneau||authorizing any taxpayer to initiate a private cause of action for misuse or fraud involving education freedom account funds|
|2022-2780||David Luneau||limiting education freedom account funding to budgeted amounts|
|2022-2782||David Luneau||requiring the scholarship organization to refer suspected cases of misuse of funds or fraud in the education freedom account program to the attorney general|
|2022-2811||Patricia Cornell||Robert Renny Cushing, Mel Myler, Mary Heath, Arthur Ellison, Sue Mullen||relative to record of educational attainment under the educational freedom account program|
|2022-2812||Patricia Cornell||Marjorie Porter, Suzanne Vail, Mary Heath, Constance Van Houten, Sue Mullen||relative to education service providers under the education freedom account program|
|2022-2814||Alicia Lekas||relative to student eligibility under the education freedom account program|
|2022-2818||Gregory Hill||Kenneth Weyler, Rick Ladd, Glenn Cordelli||establishing an education freedom account program administrator in the department of education and making an appropriation therefor|
|2022-2834||Marjorie Porter||Mel Myler, Stephen Woodcock, Arthur Ellison, Sue Mullen||prohibiting the department of education and the state board of education from directing or limiting school instructional options, such as remote learning|
|2022-2853||David Watters||relative to dual and concurrent enrollment for career technical education center students|
|2022-2921||Jay Kahn||relative to the authority to offer multiple education instruction options|
|2022-2978||Jay Kahn||Lou D'Allesandro, David Watters, Donna Soucy, Kevin Cavanaugh, Tom Sherman, Cindy Rosenwald, Suzanne Prentiss, Rebecca Whitley, Rebecca Perkins Kwoka||repealing the education freedom account program|
|2022-2999||Tom Sherman||Lou D'Allesandro, David Watters, Donna Soucy, Marjorie Smith, Mel Myler, David Luneau, Jay Kahn, Kevin Cavanaugh, Cindy Rosenwald, Suzanne Prentiss, Rebecca Whitley, Rebecca Perkins Kwoka||relative to participation in the education freedom account program|
To contact the entire House Education Committee, you may send one email to HouseEducationCommittee@leg.state.nh.us. Below is a list of the House Education Committee members’ emails for an easy copy/paste.
2021 Home Education Enrollment