Important Common Core and Privacy Bills, Week of March 24, 2014

This is the final week before “cross over,” when all House bill must be voted on before moving on to the Senate. There are six major education bills that will be presented to the House on Wednesday, March 26th. Below are the bills and relevant information about each. Please contact your Representatives no later than Tuesday! Legislators do not often hear from their constituents so emails, but especially phone calls, can be very effective.

HB 1239-FN-L, relative to the implementation of new educational standards.
Committee recommendation: ITL 13-6
Request: NAY on ITL

— The adoption of Common Core by the NH Board of Education is an unfunded mandate in violation of Part I Article 28-A of the New Hampshire Constitution.
— This bill promotes fiscal transparency of government at all levels.
— Many districts have communicated that they have costs that are specifically for the implementation of Common Core that they would not have otherwise, or these costs are accelerated in order to meet the mandated spring 2015 assessment implementation deadline. This has presented a significant burden for smaller and more rural districts.
— The costs of implementing these new standards have never been fully identified or communicated at the state or local level. Before Common Core is fully implemented across the state, the citizens of NH should know what it will cost.
— The Pioneer Institute estimates that Common Core implementation will cost an additional $404 per New Hampshire student. This is a “mid-range” estimate and does not include other recommended changes including performance-based compensation for teachers or reduced class sizes.
— The Conway School Board has estimated that Common Core will cost them an additional $127,530 for the first year of equipment and training alone. They anticipate needing another $133,000 for technology upgrades. These are costs that are specific to Common Core implementation and not expenses they would otherwise incur.
— HB 1239 does not prohibit or impede the implementation of Common Core currently in progress. It would require fiscal analysis before any additional standards are adopted.


HB 1262, relative to student assessment data privacy.
Committee recommendation: Education Interim Study 14-5
Request: NAY on Study

— Currently schools collect a massive amount of data on students that are not only academic related.
— Federal FERPA protections were severely eroded in 2008 and 2011 and now permit student information to be shared with third-party organizations and private corporations without parental consent.
— The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium agreement with the NH DOE allows the sharing of “student-level data” without guarantee the data is aggregated.
— HB 1262 is the only bill before the legislature that addresses the unique problems presented with the new Smarter Balanced Assessments that are being piloted in NH schools now and will become mandatory in spring 2015. Until such protections are in place, districts will be liable for any breach of student privacy.
— Data breaches have already occurred in other states.


HB 1397, establishing a committee to study whether the department of education is operating within its statutory authority.
Committee recommendation: ITL 14-5
Request: NAY on ITL

–The department lacks transparency. Monthly meeting minutes are cryptic and not posted in a timely manner.
— The DOE created “Regional Liaisons” explicitly to facilitate implementation of Common Core, yet the public is not allowed to attend and minutes are not available.
— The NH DOE signed the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium contract without legislative authorization to enter into this agreement that mandates local districts use the SBA for all year-end assessments as of spring 2015.
–The department agreed to adopt the draft Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Math in summer 2010 in order to chase after the Race to the Top grant. Although NH was not given grant money, the state is now required to participate in these Common Core aligned tests. This usurps local control because the tests drive curricula decisions.
— The department put tremendous pressure on the legislature to pass SB 48 (2013) that requires 20% of teachers’ evaluations to be based on their students’ performance on the SBA as part of the NH waiver application from No Child Left Behind. This, too, should be a local district decision.


HB 1432, (new title) relative to the implementation and administration of certain statewide assessments in the public schools and requiring the department of education to study the statewide assessment process.
Committee recommendation: Interim Study 8-7
Request: NAY on Study

— The amendment requires the NH DOE to identify alternatives to the Smarter Balanced Assessment (SBA) because it does not meet the requirements in RSA 193-C.
— During the probationary period, the DOE is required to complete an extensive study of the SBA, the new state assessment that is mandatory as of spring 2015.
— The amendment does not impede implementation of Common Core or the SBA during this probation period.


HB 1496, relative to the objectivity and validity of student assessment materials.
Committee recommendation:  Interim Study 15-3
Request: NAY on Study

— State law requires that all statewide assessments are valid, appropriate, and objectively scored per RSA 193-C.
— Smarter Balanced Assessments are mandatory by spring 2015, yet will not be validated by this deadline; they are not appropriate for students according to several NH districts; and they are subjectively scored as they measure student values, attitudes and dispositions in direct violation of SB 48 (2013).
— Although SBA is being field tested in many districts across the state, districts are not currently informing parents that these are experimental assessments.
— Districts are not obtaining written informed consent from parents when minor children are being asked to be unpaid participants in research of the Smarter Balanced Assessments.
— Districts must be allowed: to use alternative valid, appropriate, and objectively scored assessments; to score and aggregate student assessments before student data is released from the district to protect student privacy; and to allow parents to opt-out if they feel the assessment materials are objectionable.


HB 1508, terminating state participation in the common core educational standards.
Committee recommendation: ITL 13-6
Request: NAY on ITL

— Common Core State Standards were rushed to adoption by the NH BOE in summer 2010 in order to expedite the Race to the Top grant application without adequate public notification or input.
— Public records of the NH BOE meetings indicate that other proven successful state standards were never considered as part of the process of improving NH’s state standards.
— As part of the grant application and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium agreement, the NH DOE promised to pilot and field test the experimental assessment.
— The Smarter Balanced Assessment which is being field tested in schools across the state, often without prior parental consent, is in violation of RSA 193-C.
— The SBA will be mandatory by spring 2015, but will not be validated by that date and includes dispositional questions in violation of SB 48 (2013) and RSA 193-C.

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