Rep. Mel Myler (D-Hopkinton/Concord Ward 5) denigrated his constituents at the House Education Committee’s executive session on SB 101 earlier today.
In the executive session, the House Education Committee compared SB 101 to a bill they previously passed, HB 276. There were mixed comments about which bill is better and discussion about what may happen if both bills pass the House and Senate.
SB 101 expressly prohibits the state from mandating Common Core standards thereby protecting local control. It also reinforces legislative intent to keep dispositions (values, attitudes, and beliefs) out of NH standards and assessments, consistent with previous legislative intent. The new language would add the following to RSA 193-E:2:
(b) The common core state standards developed jointly by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers shall not be required by the department of education or the state board of education to be implemented in any school or school district in this state.
HB 276, in concept is good, but the language is problematic. Specifically, the last sentence of the bill further empowers the state Board of Education thereby reducing local control. (Bold for emphasis.)
“If a school board elects not to implement or participate in the common core state standards or any other minimum educational standards adopted by the state board pursuant to RSA 541-A or as adopted through state board policy or guidelines for all grades in public schools, the school board shall adopt and implement standards that meet or exceed those standards.”
With HB 276 the state BOE would have sole authority to judge whether or not the local school board’s standards are superior or not. The current College and Career Standards required in the state education rules (Ed 306, Minimum Standards for Public School Approval) are loosely-defined. On what basis would the local school board’s standards be evaluated? Additionally, there is no appeal process and the state BOE has already proven mostly inaccessible and indifferent to parents and local taxpayers. HB 276 would also empower the state BOE to “adopt” state standards. Currently they only have the ability to “recommend” them. This greatly expands their authority.
SB 101 is the better bill to protect local control and autonomy as regards Common Core standards.
At the original hearing for SB 101, the room was packed with upset parents who want more control over their schools’ standards and direction. By contrast, the hearing for HB 276 had few attendees. They generally spoke in favor of the concept, but had concerns about the bill’s language.
The House Education Committee narrowly issued an Ought to Pass (OTP) recommendation on a 11 to 9 vote and SB 101 is expected to advance to the full House next week. Please contact your Representatives today asking them to vote YEA on the Ought to Pass. A brief phone call is most effective, but an email is helpful. Reps often don’t hear from constituents at all, so your effort can make a powerful difference.
To find your Representatives, go to “Who’s My Legislator?” The email for all Reps is email@example.com
The video is courtesy of NH Families for Education.
An additional article is published on the Examiner here.