Education Bills Scheduled for Week of January 23, 2017

The Senate Education Committee will hold its first public hearings of the new session and the House Education Committee continues with more hearings and exec sessions on several important bills. This is the best chance to communicate with committee members and share your opinion. For the 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. Contact information for the committees are at the end of this post.

Some bills are already scheduled for executive session which is when the committee decides whether or not to support bills, amend them, or send them to interim study. The public has until the executive session to make an impact on how they will vote which is very influential when the entire body votes. Exec sessions on pending legislation may happen anytime after the public hearing closes so prompt action is encouraged.

 

TUESDAY, JANUARY 24, 2017: SENATE EDUCATION, ROOM 103 LOB
Public hearings for the following bills

9:00 a.m. SB 45, requiring a course in civics for high school graduation

9:30 a.m. SB 46, relative to participation in public school cocurricular programs offered in another school district
position — SUPPORT
information — This is a straight-forward bill. It would allow students to participate in extra-curricular activities offered by another district only if the home district does not offer the activity, and assuming there are no costs, the student would only need the receiving district’s permission.

***10:00 a.m. 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 SB 320 (2016) would have required active consent for all surveys, with the exception of the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS). Although SB 320 passed the House and Senate, it was vetoed by Gov. Hassan. The committee received evidence that many non-academic surveys include personal questions, and contrary to current law, students are sometimes required to share this information in class when it is not optional nor anonymous. SB 43 adds the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) from the federal Center for Disease Control to the list of surveys that would require active parental consent (opt in). Although the YRBS allows both active and passive consent, undoubtedly school officials and representatives of many social programs will again argue 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. For more information including instances of required participation in these questionnaires, read Non-Academic Surveys and Parents’ Rights.

*10:30 a.m. SB 44, prohibiting the state from requiring implementation of common core standards
position — SUPPORT
information — This is the same language as SB 101 (2015) that passed the House and Senate only to be vetoed by Gov. Hassan. This is a clear and simple bill that expressly prohibits the state from mandating Common Core standards thereby protecting local control and educational diversity.

 

TUESDAY, JANUARY 24, 2017: HOUSE EDUCATION, ROOM 207 LOB
Public hearings for the following bills

10:00 a.m. HB 354-FN-A-L, making an appropriation to the department of education to provide additional adequate education grant payments to certain municipalities

10:30 a.m. HB 356-FN, relative to the per pupil cost of an adequate education

10:50 a.m. HB 386-FN, relative to technical corrections to the education tax credit statute
position — SUPPORT
information — This bill will make simple and clear technical changes to the tax credit statutes.

11:15 a.m. HB 525-FN, relative to stabilization grants for education

11:45 a.m. HB 391, relative to checklists in other districts

**1:00 p.m. HB 395, relative to state board of education rulemaking authority over home education programs
position — SUPPORT
information — Although there have been recent improvements with Home Education Advisory Council (HEAC) posting minutes in a more timely manner, this bill will explicitly require “effective communication” with the homeschool community. And, although they have submitted annual reports to the state Board of Education, the website only publishes the most recent. This bill also addresses HEAC’s difficulty obtaining a quorum to conduct business. Additionally the bill removes the state BOE’s rule-making authority over home education programs. This is appropriate because in 2010 the state BOE, at the urging of rogue legislators, nearly implemented draconian requirements that did not have legislative approval (HB 367 (2009) and HB 368 (2010)). It took a massive outcry and sustained effort by the entire homeschool community and supporting organizations to defeat this unprecedented attack on homeschooling.

1:30 p.m. HB 412, relative to the pre-engineering technology curriculum

2:00 p.m. HB 477, relative to free speech on campuses in the university system and the community college system

3:00 p.m. HB 494, relative to eligibility for a chartered public school charter
position — NEUTRAL
information — The bill would require that only NH residents could apply for a chartered public school.

 

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 25, 2017: HOUSE EDUCATION, ROOM 207 LOB
Public hearings for the following bills

**9:30 a.m. HB 396, relative to student assessment data privacy
position — SUPPORT
information — Family Educational and Privacy Rights Act (FERPA) provides little protection. The US DOE made dramatic changes in 2008 and 2011 that removed restrictions prohibiting educational institutions and agencies from disclosing students’ personally identifiable information without first obtaining student or parental consent. Now the state has the power to share student information with third-party corporations, not just educational institutions, and not only for academic purposes. Key terms including “school officials”, “educational programs”, and “authorized representatives” are redefined so broadly that third-party administrators of any program offered through an educational institution may have access to student information. Additionally HIPPA does not apply to elementary and secondary schools. This bill would explicitly prohibit the collection, tracking, storage, or sharing or certain non-academic or demographic data elements that may be personally identifiable. It also gives parents and students above age 18 the ability to inspect the student records and block the transfer of data. The bill does not restrict districts’ ability to grade and score assessments or surveys administered within the district, or sharing aggregated student data. For more information about this issue, read NH’s Student Database. This is a school choice issue because privacy violations disproportionately impact families of limited means who are trapped in their zip-code assigned schools.

**10:00 a.m. HB 505, establishing an independent commission as an additional authorizing entity for chartered public schools
position — SUPPORT
information — This bill expands the persons or entities that may submit an application and incorporates the change proposed in HB 494 (2017) to require NH residency. This bill also creates a third authorizer – an independent chartered public school commission.

11:00 a.m. HB 554-FN, relative to the assessment of deaf and hard-of-hearing children

11:30 a.m. HB 556, requiring schools to post the state telephone numbers to report child abuse

***1:00 p.m. HB 557-FN, relative to school attendance in towns with no public schools
position — SUPPORT
information — This bill is a return of the Committee of Conference language of HB 1637 (2016) that passed the House and Senate only to be vetoed by Gov. Hassan. It clarifies existing statutes that small towns across the state that do not provide full K through 12 education in-district may enter into tuition agreements with other schools. It is consistent with RSA 194:22 and RSA 193:1. It is also in line with practices by NH districts that have tuition agreements with private schools, even some located out of state. For additional information, read Town Tuitioning in CroydonOptions for Small Towns, and Governor Vetoes School Choice that references the 2016 bill.

 

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 25, 2017: HOUSE EXEC DEPT & ADMIN, ROOM 306 LOB
Executive session for the following bill

**10:30 a.m. HB 125, relative to chartered public school boards of trustees
position — OPPOSE
information — This is a repeat of HB 1456 (2016) again sponsored by Rep. Timothy Horrigan and another outrageous bill against charter schools. This bill would allow the Governor, with the approval of the Executive Council, to appoint members to the board of trustees of all NH chartered public schools. Not only is this hyper-politicizing public schools, it is a way for the executive branch to remove parents and taxpayers from the governance of their children’s schools. It would be no more appropriate for the Governor to appoint members to the boards of local K-12 public schools.

 

CONTACT LEGISLATORS
 
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. At the bottom we’ve supplied a list of the committee members’ emails for an easy copy/paste. Personal stories and messages are helpful.

To contact the Senate Education Committee, email or call them directly. Members of senate committees do not have a shared email address.

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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.

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ladd.nhhouse@charter.net
terry.wolf@leg.state.nh.us
beshaw3@comcast.net
glenn.cordelli@leg.state.nh.us
bob.elliott@leg.state.nh.us
carolyn.halstead@leg.state.nh.us
Mel.Myler@leg.state.nh.us
patricia.cornell@leg.state.nh.us
jimgreniersullivan7@gmail.com
josh.moore@leg.state.nh.us
Mary.Heath@leg.state.nh.us
David.Doherty@leg.state.nh.us
joe@joepitre.com
patchessul@comcast.net
Wayne.Burton@leg.state.nh.us
linda.tanner@leg.state.nh.us

To contact the entire House Executive Departments and Administration Committee regarding HB 125 relative to chartered public school boards of trustees, you may send one email to HouseExecutiveDepartmentsandAdministrationCommittee@leg.state.nh.us.