Education Bills Scheduled for Week of January 30, 2017

This is week four of the legislative session and we’re in full stride now with several important bills scheduled for public hearings, executive sessions, and full House votes.

Public hearings are 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. Exec sessions on pending legislation may happen anytime after the public hearing closes so prompt action is encouraged. Contact information for the committees are at the end of this post.

Some bills are 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.

And other bills will be voted on by the entire NH House of Representatives. This is when all 400 have the opportunity to vote YEA (to support the committee’s recommendation) or NAY (to oppose the committee’s recommendation). Please contact your legislators before the session day with brief, polite messages and mention you are a constituent.

As always, contact information is at the end of the article.

TUESDAY, JANUARY 31, 2017: SENATE EDUCATION, ROOM 103 LOB
Public hearings for the following bills

9:00 a.m. SB 101-FN, relative to enrollment eligibility for regional career and technical education programs

9:30 a.m. SB 104, establishing a credential for master teacher in school counseling and relative to the membership of regional advisory committees for career and technical education

10:00 a.m. SB 103, limiting food and beverage advertising and marketing on school property

***10:30 a.m. SB 8-FN, relative to school attendance in towns with no public schools
position — SUPPORT
information — This is the senate version of HB 557, the town tuitioning bill, that would allow small districts to make agreements with other public school districts or private schools if the grade-level is not offered in-district. 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.

 

TUESDAY, JANUARY 31, 2017: HOUSE EDUCATION, ROOM 207 LOB
Public hearings for the following bills

10:00 a.m. HB 603-FN-A, establishing the John and Molly Stark student debt reduction program and making an appropriation therefor

10:45 a.m. HB 604-FN-A, establishing the John and Molly Stark workforce opportunity program and making an appropriation therefor

11:30 a.m. HB 607-FN-A, establishing a New Hampshire student access grant program

1:00 p.m. HB 597-FN-L, relative to calculating the cost of an opportunity for an adequate education and providing fiscal capacity disparity aid

2:00 p.m. Executive session on the following bills

HB 221, relative to the national guard scholarship fund and the New Hampshire national guard education assistance act

HB 226, relative to documenting the improvement of non-proficient readers

HB 339, relative to reimbursement of transportation costs for students attending a career and technical education center

**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 data collection and privacy violations disproportionately impact families of limited means who are trapped in their zip-code assigned schools.

 

TUESDAY, JANUARY 31, 2017: EXECUTIVE COUNCIL CHAMBER, STATE HOUSE

1:00 p.m. The Executive Council will hold a public hearing on the confirmation of Frank Edelblut as the next Commissioner of Education.

 

TUESDAY, JANUARY 31, 2017: HOUSE FINANCE, ROOM 210-211 LOB
Public hearings for the following bill

3:10 p.m. HB 584-FN, relative to chartered public school funding

 

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 1, 2017: HOUSE EDUCATION, ROOM 207 LOB
Public hearings for the following bills

10:00 a.m. HB 583-FN, relative to the calculation of average daily membership in residence and average daily membership in attendance

10:30 a.m. HB 605-FN-A, establishing a scholarship for students pursuing careers in the service of children and the elderly

11:00 a.m. HB 609-FN-A, establishing a children’s savings account program and making an appropriation therefor

1:00 p.m. Executive session on the following bills

HB 607-FN-A, establishing a New Hampshire student access grant program

HB 609-FN-A, establishing a children’s savings account program and making an appropriation therefor

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.

HB 412, relative to the pre-engineering technology curriculum

HB 554-FN, relative to the assessment of deaf and hard-of-hearing children

 

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 2, 2017: HOUSE SESSION, Rep Hall at 10:00am
full NH House will vote on the following bills; these are on the Consent Calendar and will be voted on as a group; the committee recommendations will likely go through as indicated

 **HB 113, relative to grounds for denial of a chartered public school application
committee recommendation — Inexpedient to Legislate, 18-0
position — OPPOSE the bill, YEA on ITL
information — This is a repeat of HB 474 (2015) by Reps. Mary Gile and Timothy Horrigan. This bill would allow the state Board of Education to deny the application of chartered public schools solely for budget reasons; the legislature, not the BOE sets the budget and allocation of state funds. This is a blatant attempt to justify the charter school moratorium from a few years ago and deny additional schools; see The State Board of Ed Overreaches Its Authority.

**HB 147, relative to the laws governing chartered public schools
committee recommendation — Inexpedient to Legislate, 19-0
position — OPPOSE the bill, YEA on ITL
information — This is another  recycled bill by Rep. Horrigan, HB 1351 (2016), that overwhelmingly failed in the House Education Committee. Chartered public schools are designed to be centers of innovation and flexibility regarding methods and processes to meet the educational needs of students not served in traditional public schools. For example, they can take a focused STEM or fine arts approach — both quite different from the traditional public school model. Even with these differences, charter schools and traditional public schools have much in common. Like other public schools, charters must comply with federal and state laws regarding non-discrimination for enrollment and hiring, meet school building codes including ADA compliance, and follow the same privacy protections. Also, charters must meet all federal and state requirements regarding background checks for employees and volunteers. Teachers at charter schools may enter into collective bargaining units, just as they may at public schools. Finally, charter schools must also administer the same statewide assessment in the years they are required of all public schools. This bill is simply another attempt to put more obstacles and regulations in place to limit charter schools. NH Ed 300 applies to traditional public schools, and Ed 318 applies to chartered public schools. For more information on chartered public schools, read Charter School Truths.

*HB 166, relative to assessments administered to pupils in grades 3 through 8
committee recommendation — Ought to Pass with Amendment (#2017-0071h), 18-1
position — OPPOSE the bill, NAY on OTP/A
information — The intent of the bill is to reduce testing and give districts more options to develop and administer alternative assessments from those which are College and Career Readiness Standards (aka Common Core) aligned. Unfortunately the amendment only partially addresses a concern in the original bill — that the state Department of Education would have the power to approve or deny alternative tests. Another statute, RSA 193-E:3-c III (a), specifically says the DOE must give prior approval so the amendment language that says “in consultation with the department” is insufficient. Currently the only alternative they allow is PACE, a controversial integrated assessment. Funding is also not addressed which also makes it more likely that PACE would be selected as it is already funded by the state and would not pose an new or additional financial burden. Districts administer several assessments that might qualify, but it is not assured they would be acceptable. Also, even though a school-choice friendly Commissioner might be more accepting of alternative tests, statute should not hinge on any individual holding office. This could be a positive for school choice, but not if PACE is the only option. Our hope is that a friendly amendment will be introduced on the House floor or in the Senate. This is a school choice issue because Common Core reduces educational diversity. Breaking the hold of Common Core on our public schools helps educational options. Additionally, accountability to parents, not the state, is a major component of school choice.

HB 233, relative to the submission of school emergency response plans

HB 271, requiring the department of education to collect data related to the reasons for suspension and expulsion of pupils

*HB 275, prohibiting the inclusion of statewide assessment results in a student’s transcript without consent
committee recommendation — Ought to Pass, 19-0
position — SUPPORT the bill, YEA on OTP
information — This is another repeat bill from last year, HB 1229 (2016), that passed the House, but didn’t get through the Senate. The statewide assessment is not designed as a measurement for individual performance. It was originally created for school district comparisons as well as school and teacher accountability. This bill prevents assessments from being used for a purpose for which they were not intended. Again, breaking the testing stranglehold on our education system will further educational options and accountability to parents. For more information about NH’s statewide assessments and impact on school choice, read Tests and Accountability.

 

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 2, 2017: HOUSE SESSION, Rep Hall at 10:00am
full NH House will vote on the following bills; they are on the Regular Calendar because the committee recommendations were more divided; these bills will have more debate on the floor

**HB 103, relative to school district policies regarding objectionable course material
committee recommendation — Ought to Pass, 12-7
position — SUPPORT the bill, YEA on OTP
information — The language for this bill has been vetted the last two years; first as HB 332 (2015) that passed the House and Senate, but was vetoed by Gov. Hassan, and as HB 1231 (2016) that passed the House but was tripped up in the Senate. It seeks to address a gap in RSA 186:11 IX-c  by requiring parents be given  two weeks advanced notice and access to classroom materials for subjects pertaining to human sexuality. While this statute can be used for any academic area, it does not address the loop hole that parents must first be aware of what material is being used and when. The bill would allow parents to make informed decisions regarding their children’s education. Note that the existing statute does not allow one parent to change the material for the entire class; just their child and at their own expense. School choice is about bringing educational choices closest to the student for the best fit and this is a choice issue within the public school system. For more information, read Parents’ Rights Vetoed by Governor Hassan about the 2015 bill. Also read Urgent – Contact the Senate re HB 1231 and HB 1232 for more information about the 2016 bill.

***HB 129-FN, repealing the education tax credit
committee recommendation — Inexpedient to Legislate, 12-7
position — OPPOSE the bill, YEA on ITL
information — The tax-credit scholarships have helped more than 120 low-income children across the state in its three years of operation. There is documented academic improvement and parent satisfaction. Other states with Blaine Amendments have ruled tax-credit scholarship programs to be constitutional because monies are distributed to parents who choose the schools and not to the schools directly. Like other charities, the tax-credit scholarship program is funded by private donations, not money from the state. For more information about the scholarship program, read K-12 Scholarships in NH.

**HB 148, relative to chartered public school teacher qualifications
committee recommendation — Inexpedient to Legislate, 12-7
position — OPPOSE the bill, YEA on ITL
information — This is another returning bill sponsored by Reps. Timothy Horrigan and Mel Myler – HB 1120 (2016). Current statute requires charter schools to have a minimum of 50% of their teaching staff with teacher credentials. Note that NH private schools have no credentialing requirement at all. Teachers are important, but there is more to making a “good teacher” than his or her certifications. Teaching is an art; certification cannot measure the rapport teachers develop with their students or the breadth and depth of knowledge and skill teachers bring to their classrooms. Note that teacher credentials alone are not correlated with student performance. Teacher hiring requirements are a critical part of innovation and flexibility unique to chartered public schools. Read Teacher Quality and Student Achievement: Making the Most of Recent Research, March 2008 and Educational Leadership: Research Says…Good Teachers May Not Fit the Mold, December 2010-January 2011 by the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD).

HB 216, relative to the procedure for expulsion of certain pupils

HB 270, establishing a committee to study suspensions and expulsions in middle and high schools

***HB 276, relative to student exemption from the statewide assessment
committee recommendation — Ought to Pass, vote 12-7
position — SUPPORT the bill, YEA on OTP
information — This is a repeat of HB 1338 (2016) and that passed the House but snagged in the Senate and similar to HB 603 (2015) that passed both the House and Senate, but was vetoed by Gov. Hassan. This bill is in response to increasing demand from parents to refuse their children’s participation in mandatory testing, including the statewide assessments that are aligned with College and Career Readiness Standards (aka Common Core). Children are the responsibility of their parents, and as such, parents — not the state — should direct their children’s education in the manner they believe best meets their individual needs. There are many reasons why parents may wish to have their children not participate in the statewide assessment —tests are considered developmentally inappropriate, privacy concerns, and more. Given that these tests have no academic or diagnostic value, many parents believe them to be a waste of valuable instructional time. This bill addresses documented problems of students being harassed and punished for non-participation as described in our March 2016 article Districts are Bullies. The bill allows districts to offer alternative activities that can be as simple as study hall or reading time so it is not burdensome or expensive and NH districts have already done so. Not a single district across the country has faced reduced funding if they fell short of the federally mandated 95% participation rate and non-participating students do not count against the districts’ scores. Again, accountability should be to parents and this empowers parents to direct their children’s education within the public school system. Also diminishing the hyper-testing mechanisms of Common Core will encourage educational options and variety.

***HB 297-FN, repealing the education tax credit program
committee recommendation — Inexpedient to Legislate, 12-7
position — OPPOSE the bill, YEA on ITL
information — This is another repeal bill by Rep. Timothy Horrigan. The difference between this one and HB 129 (2017) is that the former would be effective immediately whereas the latter would take effect 60 days after passage. The tax-credit scholarships have helped more than 120 low-income children across the state in its three years of operation. There is documented academic improvement and parent satisfaction. Other states with Blaine Amendments have ruled tax-credit scholarship programs to be constitutional because monies are distributed to parents who choose the schools and not to the schools directly. Like other charities, the tax-credit scholarship program is funded by private donations, not money from the state. For more information about the scholarship program, read K-12 Scholarships in NH.

**HB 125, relative to chartered public school boards of trustees
committee recommendation — Inexpedient to Legislate, 13-4
position — OPPOSE the bill, YEA on ITL
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 that the executive branch could 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. 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 SponsorAdditional SponsorsTitle
2022-2047Brodie DeshaiesPatrick Long, Linda Massimilla, Dan Wolf, Bonnie Ham, James Allardrequiring parents of public school students to submit a survey when electing an education freedom account
2022-2103Linda TannerSherry Frost, Stephen Woodcock, Jaci Grote, Sue Mullenrelative to the state board of education rules for credit for alternative, extended learning, and work-based programs
2022-2145Sallie Fellowsrequiring a performance audit of the department of education, education freedom account program
2022-2147Timothy LangJason Osborne, Kevin Avard, Michael Moffett, Howard Pearl, Bob Greene, Michael Yakubovich, Judy Aron, Gregg Hough, Aidan Ankarbergrelative to driver education
2022-2166Bill BoydDavid Watters, John Reagan, Rick Ladd, Glenn Cordelli, Mark McLean, James Spillane, Michael Moffett, Kevin Vervillerelative to the definition of a child with a disability for purposes of special education
2022-2172Maureen MooneySharon Carson, Kenneth Meyler, Jeanine Notter, Ruth Ward, Robert Healeyrelative to notice to a chartered public school of a special education services meeting
2022-2178Maureen Mooneyrelative to the provision of special education services by chartered public schools
2022-2342Glenn CordelliCarol McGuire, Jason Osborne, Gregory Hill, Michael Moffett, Alicia Lekas, Tony Piemonte, Deborah Hobsonrelative to eligibility for the education tax credit
2022-2371Marjorie PorterMarjorie Smith, Paul Berch, Mel Myler, Linda Tanner, Mary Heath, Patricia Cornell, Jay Kahn, Stephen Woodcock, Arthur Ellison, Sue Mullen, Suzanne Prentissrelative to the source of funds for education freedom accounts
2022-2376Glenn Cordellirelative to special education services for children in chartered public schools
2022-2407Bonnie Hamrequiring the department of education to administer the education freedom account program
2022-2411Bonnie HamBrodie Deshaiesrelative to verification of eligible students under the education freedom account program
2022-2416Bonnie HamBrodie Deshaiesrelative to funds of the education freedom account program after termination of a student's participation and responsibilities of the scholarship organization
2022-2515Erica Layonrelative to student participation in the education freedom accounts program and relative to administration of the program
2022-2519Patricia CornellRobert Renny Cushing, Marjorie Porter, Mary Heath, Arthur Ellison, Sue Mullenrelative to participation in the education freedom accounts program by students with disabilities
2022-2543Erica Layonrelative to requirements for home education students
2022-2651Susan Almyrelative to driver education and the driver training fund
2022-2739Sue MullenMarjorie Porter, Mel Myler, Mary Heath, Patricia Cornell, Stephen Woodcock, Arthur Ellison, Catherin Rombeaurelative to education service providers under the education freedom accounts program
2022-2757Linda Tannerrelative to unique pupil identification for pupils in the education freedom accounts program
2022-2774David Luneaurelative to eligibility criteria for education freedom accounts
2022-2775David Luneaurelative to misuse of education freedom account funds
2022-2776David LuneauMarjorie Smith, Richard Amesrelative to liability as taxable income of education freedom account payments
2022-2777David Luneaurelative to transfers of adequate education grants under the education freedom account program
2022-2778David Luneaurepealing the education freedom account program
2022-2779David Luneauauthorizing any taxpayer to initiate a private cause of action for misuse or fraud involving education freedom account funds
2022-2780David Luneaulimiting education freedom account funding to budgeted amounts
2022-2782David Luneaurequiring the scholarship organization to refer suspected cases of misuse of funds or fraud in the education freedom account program to the attorney general
2022-2811Patricia CornellRobert Renny Cushing, Mel Myler, Mary Heath, Arthur Ellison, Sue Mullenrelative to record of educational attainment under the educational freedom account program
2022-2812Patricia CornellMarjorie Porter, Suzanne Vail, Mary Heath, Constance Van Houten, Sue Mullenrelative to education service providers under the education freedom account program
2022-2814Alicia Lekasrelative to student eligibility under the education freedom account program
2022-2818Gregory HillKenneth Weyler, Rick Ladd, Glenn Cordelliestablishing an education freedom account program administrator in the department of education and making an appropriation therefor
2022-2834Marjorie PorterMel Myler, Stephen Woodcock, Arthur Ellison, Sue Mullenprohibiting the department of education and the state board of education from directing or limiting school instructional options, such as remote learning
2022-2853David Wattersrelative to dual and concurrent enrollment for career technical education center students
2022-2921Jay Kahnrelative to the authority to offer multiple education instruction options

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 hreps@leg.state.nh.us.

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.

[table “5” not found /]

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