HB 323, the bill that would further trap New Hampshire in the federal No Child Left Behind waiver, is heading to the full senate for a vote on Thursday, May 7th. This is the most important education bill of the year. It is critical to contact the senate, respectfully asking them to kill the bill and untangle the strings of the NCLB waiver that ensnare our state, our schools, and our children’s education.
Another amendment is co-authored by Rep. Rick Ladd and Sen. John Reagan and passed in the Senate Education Committee’s executive session. It does not resolve the problems with the House version of HB 323.
- The new committee amendment removes PACE in name, but keeps the integrated assessments that will continue the over-testing and make it impossible for parents to opt out.
- The latest US DOE waiver approval, dated 3/5/15, indicates the NH DOE already plans to implement PACE statewide and in all grade levels. It is currently being piloted in only four NH districts.
- It keeps the same blank-check power for the state DOE to develop approval criteria and a process for districts to seek permission to use alternative assessments.
- The feds still have approval authority.
- All references to “readiness” standards, aka Common Core, remain.
- This amendment does not recognize parents’ refusal as one of the exceptions for student participation.
Put simply, the senate amendment is seriously flawed and unacceptable. Should HB 323 be passed, it gives the illusion that PACE is state-approved and legitimizes the NH DOE’s backroom deals with the feds.
The state DOE has misinformed legislators and district superintendents that federal funding is jeopardized if students don’t participate in the assessments. That is not true! Not a single state or school has been penalized for failing to test 95% of their students. The US DOE is threatening to intervene, yet this just underscores the over-reach of the feds.
Testing is not teaching. Our children’s education should not be based on failed education reform experiments. We should not relinquish control of our schools to state and federal agencies who are remote and inaccessible to the public. PACE is regionally-planned and regionally-scored which is not local control. The senate should respect the checks-and-balances built into our political system and not abdicate their very important role of reigning in the state DOE, an extension of the executive branch. Parents’ rights must be respected. New Hampshire’s children deserve better.
Please join us outside the senate chamber just prior to their vote on Thursday, May 7th starting at 9:15am. Signs may be held in the hallway, but not brought into the gallery.
To find your NH senator, and his or her contact information, refer to the senate’s roster page, or you can email all of them at email@example.com. Talk to two or three of your friends, and ask them to do the same!
For more information, read HB 323, the Most Important Education Bill of the Year and Press Conference on HB 323, the NCLB Waiver Bill.
Jeff Woodburn — District 1, Dalton
Jeanie Forrester — District 2, Meredith
Jeb Bradley — District 3, Wolfeboro
David Watters — District 4, Dover
David Pierce — District 5, Lebanon
Sam Cataldo — District 6, Farmington
Andrew Hosmer — District 7, Laconia
Gerald Little — District 8, Weare
Andy Sanborn — District 9, Bedford
Molly Kelly — District 10, Keene firstname.lastname@example.org
Gary Daniels — District 11, Milford
Kevin Avard — District 12, Nashua
Bette Lasky — District 13, Nashua
Sharon Carson — District 14, Londonderry
Dan Feltes — District 15, Concord
David Boutin — District 16, Hooksett/Manchester
John Reagan — District 17, Deerfield
Donna Soucy — District 18, Manchester
Regina Birdsell — District 19, Hampstead/Windham/Derry
Lou D’Allesandro — District 20, Manchester
Martha Fuller Clark — District 21, Portsmouth
Chuck Morse — District 22, Salem
Russell Prescott — District 23, Kingston
Nancy Stiles — District 24, Hampton