On June 12th, Governor Maggie Hassan vetoed HB 603, the bill that would explicitly write parent’s rights to refuse their child’s participation in statewide assessments into New Hampshire statute.
In her veto message, Gov. Hassan states that students must take these assessments to ensure our state’s competitive economic future and prepare our children for the 21st century workforce. This marginalizes our children, reducing them into worker-bees for the state.
Although these assessments have no academic or diagnostic value, Gov. Hassan justifies losing important teaching time admitting “… it is also important to note that the State is not over-relying on these tests as they are not a significant factor in teacher evaluation, they are not used to determine school funding and they are not required for a student to graduate.”
The governor also praises the experimental Performance Assessment of Competency Education (PACE) program that intertwines assessments into the regular class work. PACE is an integrated assessment program. Instead of being administered once annually, like the Smarter Balanced Assessment, PACE assessments are part of the on-going classroom experience woven into the day-to-day operations of the school. Due to the nature of the PACE program, parents will not have the ability to refuse these assessments. This is not less testing; it is more. For more information this program, read Things Come Apart So Easily and PACE: the Next Educational Reform from the NH DOE.
The Governor places a price tag on our parental rights. By vetoing this important bill she says that it is more important to chase federal funds instead of respecting parental rights that are upheld by the Supreme Court of the United States.
It is critical that we overturn the veto of HB 603. Contact your Representatives and Senator today! The NH House of Representatives and NH Senate are expected to vote next week. Brief phone calls are most effective, but direct emails to your legislators are good when you indicate you are a constituent. To find your Representative, go to Who’s My Legislator. To find your Senator, check the senate roster.
- HB 603 will require school districts to provide an alternative educational activity during assessments such as working individually on homework or reading a book.
- This bill is necessary to refute the NH DOE’s Technical Advisories that districts are using to trample parents’ rights and deny participation refusals for their children’s participation.
- The state DOE commissioner, Dr. Virginia Barry believes there is no opt-out choice in NH statute, so this is explicitly needed to reinforce Supreme Court of the US rulings that recognize parent’s rights to direct their children’s education.
- No state or school district has lost federal funding due to lower participation rates.
- Parents’ rights should not be compromised to chase federal dollars.
- It is estimated that more than 700 Manchester students refused participation in the Smarter Balanced Assessments this spring. Similarly Nashua, another large Democrat-voting community, had a significant opt-out rate with half of the junior class refusing participation. Increasingly Common Core and the over-testing of our students are bi-partisan issues.