Education Bills Scheduled for Week of February 1, 2016

The following is the legislative schedule for the week of February 1, 2016. Some bills are starting to work their way through the committee to the entire House for a vote. They are clearly marked and we encourage the public to contact all of their representatives. However, most of the bills are scheduled for public hearings which is the opportunity to provide testimony or commentary. This is the best chance to communicate with the committee members and share your opinion on the bills. The public may sign the sheet (near the room entrance) to indicate support or opposition to any bill. The public may give spoken or written testimony (it’s helpful to provide copies for each member plus the committee secretary) and indicate that on the pink card (for the House) or sign-in sheet (for the Senate). If you are unable to attend the hearings, email the committee, or better yet, call them individually and indicate if you are a constituent. Contact information for the House and Senate Education Committees are at the end of this post. The public has until the executive sessions to make an impact on the committees’ recommendations, which is very influential when the entire body votes. Several bills are scheduled for executive sessions this week.


10:00 a.m. Executive session on the following bills
HB 1652-FN-A, establishing a teacher preparation for mathematics education scholarship program.
HB 1485, relative to private rights of action under the pupil safety and violence prevention act.

HB 1638-FN-L, relative to the allocation of lottery revenues to schools.
position — SUPPORT
information — Currently only 26% of money from NH’s lottery goes to schools, although the original intention was to have all revenue go to education when passed in 1963. This bill is more in keeping with the original design of NH’s lottery.

HB 1604-FN-A-L, relative to exceptional student education programs and providing funding therefor.
position — OPPOSED
information — Although well intended, this bill will put a significant financial burden on all school districts to test for gifted students and provide educational enrichment for them. This is not funded through federal money, so the burden is entirely on local and state funding. (The funding is part of HB 1630, with an additional $697 for each student participating in the program.) Additionally, the bill is vague regarding how a student qualifies as an “exceptional” student. There is no one test or evaluation process; instead multiple methods are recommended, only a couple of which are included in this bill. Relying on classroom performance is not sufficient per the National Association for Gifted Children. Regular classroom teachers do not receive training to identify or teach gifted students. The standardized tests are one way to identify gifted students, but they are not customarily administered in NH schools; therefore, this will incur more expenses just to identify qualifying students. Also, the presumption that 10% of NH students are exceptional is not substantiated. The National Center for Education Statistics has NH’s gifted elementary and secondary school population at a quarter of that estimation (2.6% as of 2006). Just as children with IQ scores two standard deviations below the norm need special education support, giftedness is often scored as two standard deviations above norm, meaning the top 2.5 to 3% of students, not the top 5 to 10%. The broadest definition is supported at 6% by the National Association for Gifted Children. Finally, this bill is very vague regarding what additional enrichment should be provided to students. Again, gifted advocates recommend a variety of resources, depending on each student’s unique abilities and interests. Exceptional and gifted students need more support, but this bill does not accomplish it. There is nothing in current statute that prohibits districts from offering educational enrichment to their advanced and gifted students; in fact, a few already offer modest programs. They are usually limited by funding, but this bill does not address that issue, HB 1630 does.

HB 1630-FN-L, relative to calculating the base cost of an adequate education.

Public hearing on the following bills
1:00 p.m. HB 1225, permitting high school students who are members of the armed forces to wear their uniforms at graduation.

1:20 p.m. HB 1612-FN, relative to the age for purposes of compulsory education.
position — SUPPORT
information — Students should be able to move on to other productive pursuits — the military, technical or trade schools, or entrepreneurial businesses — if they are not inclined to continue their formal education through graduation. Forcing teens to stay in school against their will increases disciplinary problems and safety concerns for other students. There is no empirical evidence that a higher compulsory attendance age improves graduation rates, or reduce the need for (and spending on) social programs, public safety, correctional services, and other state programs and functions. A higher compulsory age requirement alone does not address the multi-faceted problem that leads to high school drop outs. Opponents will argue that NH’s drop-out rate will skyrocket. That is unlikely as the educational support programs, which make the biggest impact, would remain in place if HB 1612 is passed. This bill restores parental rights to direct their older children’s education and gives more choices to individuals. For additional information, read Does Raising the State Compulsory School Attendance Age Achieve the Intended Outcomes? by the US Department of Education, December 2013; and a NPR story on January 27, 2012 with NH DOE Deputy Commissioner Paul Leather and Russell Rumberger.

2:00 p.m. HB 1283, relative to school notification of a change in placement.

2:25 p.m. HB 1232, relative to visits to schools by non-academic government or private organizations.
position — SUPPORT
information — This bill protects student privacy from non-educational state agencies or private companies who may enter classrooms. This bill would require districts to create a policy informing parents with at least 10 days advance notice and the purpose of the visit. It also provides an opt-out for parents who don’t wish their children to be part of the visit. This supports parental rights and improves privacy protections.

2:45 p.m. HB 1300, relative to the content of patriotic exercises in public schools.

3:00 p.m. HB 1145, establishing a committee to study suspensions and expulsions in licensed preschools and in kindergarten through grade 3.

Executive session on pending legislation may be held throughout the day, time permitting, from the time the committee is initially convened.


public hearings for the following bills
9:00 a.m. SB 320, relative to non-academic surveys administered by a public school to its students.
position — SUPPORT
information — This bill is the results of the study committee created in HB 206 (2015) that required the legislature to further research non-academic surveys and questionnaires administered in our public schools. This bill recognizes that these surveys often include personal questions and students should not be compelled to participate.

9:15 a.m. SB 373, relative to the information technology infrastructure in public schools.

***9:30 a.m. SB 503-FN-A, relative to pre-kindergarten education using “pay for success” financing.
position — OPPOSE
information — This is similar to the 2015 bill, SB 69, but takes it a major step further. Instead of a study committee like last year, the current bill would fully implement a public preschool program funded through “pay for success” or social impact bonds (SIBs). This new kind of funding for social policy change has not demonstrated success. The first program of this type, a NYC program to help teenage inmates was an official failure. Currently Utah has a “pay for success” early education program in place, but their boasts were determined to be inflated due to poorly defined goals. These “pay for success” or social impact bonds (SIBs), are still unproven to justify a launch in New Hampshire. To complicate the proposal even more , the federal Health and Human Services (HHS) admits in a 2012 report that the longest running federal preschool program, Head Start, is a dismal failure. These early childhood programs do not produce long-term gains for our youngest learners. For more information, read Noble Goals of Pre-K Programs Fail to Deliver and Testimony for SB 69 that reference the 2015 bill, but still apply to the current one. For more information on social impact bonds, read Are Governments “Paying for Failure” With Social Impact Bonds” by Governing, August 2015.

9:50 a.m. SB 460, authorizing the state board of education to adopt rules relative to child sexual abuse and healthy relationships.

10:10 a.m. SB 470, relative to eligibility of school district employees for Family and Medical Leave Act coverage.

10:30 a.m. SB 316, relative to placement decisions by a child’s individualized education program team.



public hearings for the following bills
**9:30 a. m. HB 1371, establishing a committee to study education savings accounts for families of special needs students.
position — SUPPORT
information — There are five states that offer Education Savings Account programs — Arizona (2011), Florida (2014), Mississippi, Tennessee and Nevada (new in 2015). The two more established programs have been immensely successful. These programs can especially benefit low-income families who face the greatest challenges financing their children’s educational needs. The AZ program is funded via a state voucher, and the FL program is funded through a tax-credit program, so they provide good sources of information. These programs, even the one in AZ, has passed constitutional challenges. For more information on ESAs, read Education Savings Accounts: Giving Parents a Choice by Foundation for Excellence in Education; How to Fund Education Savings Accounts with Tax Credits by Education Next, January 20, 2016; and As Population of Low-Income and Special-Needs Students Grows, So Do School-Choice Innovations, January 30, 2016.

10:00 a.m. HB 1457, establishing a code of professional ethics for New Hampshire teachers.
position — OPPOSED
information — This is another bill that stems from HB 206 (2015)‘s study committee. They noted that NH is among only a handful of states that does not have an ethics code for teachers. However, this is not the proper role of the state. Local school boards can develop ethics policies and be responsible for the supervision and enforcement of those standards. There is no evidence to support that personnel matters are not being successful handled at the local level to justify the anticipated expansion of the Professional Standards Board. While the stated standards are well-intended, they are vague and may be outside the teacher’s control.

10:45 a. m. HB 1323, relative to nonrenewal of a teacher’s contract.

11:15 a.m. HB 1458, relative to social media policies for educational institutions.
position — SUPPORT
information — This bill makes small, but prudent corrections to last year’s bill, HB 142, to address some language and exclude home education programs from the requirement.

12:45 p.m. HB 1408-FN, relative to a school building inventory.

1:15 p.m. HB 1497, relative to the limits on disclosure of information used on college entrance exams.
position — SUPPORT
information — This is a positive privacy policy. It would have testing agencies destroy personal information once the assessment is completed, verified, and transmitted to the district or school so it cannot be used for additional test-data analysis. The common college admission tests, the SAT and ACT, are exempt from this legislation.

2:00 p.m. HB 1558-FN, requiring the university system of New Hampshire to examine the disposition of children in state custody.

Executive session on pending legislation may be held throughout the day, time permitting, from the time the committee is initially convened.


public hearings for the following bills
**10:30 a.m. HB 1239, relative to certain terminology in the education statutes.
position — OPPOSE
information — This is a mixed-bag of good and bad changes. Unfortunately, the bad outweighs the good. The bill changes the statewide assessment to a measure of student performance, which goes beyond the original design of the assessments (in RSA 193-C:1, II); and changes “academic standard” to not only what a student should know, but also should be able to do, making it about a skill instead of knowledge (in RSA 193-C:1, II and RSA 193-E:2, section VI, b). This also effectively enables the conversion to competency-based education along with PACE, the experimental and integrated assessment program.

11:00 a.m. HB 1121, relative to the academic areas that comprise the statewide assessment.

**11:30 a.m. HB 1240, relative to alternatives to the statewide assessment.
position — SUPPORT with significant reservations
information — This is another mixed-bag bill. On the positive side, this bill reduces testing in the elementary school years. It also allows for districts to use a different test, with approval from the NH Department of Education, in years the statewide assessment is not administered. On the negative side, it also enables the controversial PACE program to be selected and because it is currently the only one the state DOE accepts and funds, it is likely to be the only alternative they approve. This is a local control issue and, at least on paper, allows districts to have more autonomy. The concern is that the state DOE would not approve alternatives other than PACE.

Executive session on pending legislation may be held throughout the day, time permitting, from the time the committee is initially convened


THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 4, 2016: HOUSE SESSION, Rep Hall at 10:00am
HB 1272-FN, relative to bus transportation for chartered public school students.
committee recommendation — Ought to Pass, 11-8
position — YEA on OTP (Ought to Pass)
information — Charter schools are part of New Hampshire’s traditional public school system, and yet the parents are ultimately required to provide the funding for busing costs, unlike those utilizing their local schools. This levels the playing field for all students and families in our public schools.


To find your Representatives, go to “Who’s My Legislator?” The email for all Reps is

To contact the entire House Education Committee, you may send one email to The General Court website is experiencing several technical difficulties (the committee’s email is not always working and dockets are not reliably updated), so consider contact the Representatives directly. Particularly mention if you are a constituent. Below are the emails for each member of the House Education Committee:


The following is the Senate Education Committee‘s contact information.
John Reagan, Chairman
(603) 271-4063
Nancy Stiles, Vice Chairman
(603) 271-309
Kevin Avard
(603) 271-4151
Molly Kelly
(603) 271-3207
David Watters