Schedule for Week of February 12, 2018

Only one school choice bill has a public hearing continued this week; the rest are awaiting amendments and executive sessions. The pause allows us to advocate for our bills while committees deliberate and handle other business. Below is the upcoming schedule for the next couple weeks; we include our analysis and recommendations for priority bills. As a courtesy, we list additional bills, meetings, and events relevant to education issues.

Although 700 homeschool supporters appeared at the public hearing to oppose HB 1263, the homeschool evaluation bill, there is considerable pressure to pass this unnecessary bill. The prime sponsor, Rep. Theberge, recently published his testimony in the Berlin Sun, reiterating his bogus claim of homeschoolers “falling through the cracks.” It is ignorant of the Berlin district’s dismal scores that fall short of the standards they would impose on all homeschoolers. Continue to urge the House Education Committee to reject this unfounded bill; it is a solution in search of a problem. Their email is HouseEducationCommittee@leg.state.nh.us.

The House Finance Committee is considering SB 193, the Education Savings Account bill, and we expect them to schedule a session soon to vote on it. Please write to the committee urging them to support this critical bill that empowers our most vulnerable children with educational opportunities. We’ve developed tips and information to help compose an email to the committee. It can be found here, in Contact Legislators re ESAs. Additional articles about ESAs regarding the financial impact, constitutionality, and effect on NH families are available in ESA Articles. Please take a few minutes to email the committee asking them to support SB 193. Their email is HouseFinanceCommittee@leg.state.nh.us. Supporters can also send a note to their state representatives in support of ESAs with this easy email form.


OVERVIEW

Public hearings are the best opportunity to communicate with committee members and share your opinion. The Legislative Office Building (LOB) is located immediately behind the State House at 33 N. State Street in Concord. For Senate hearings, 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. Generally, committee chairmen limit remarks to three minutes or less. Personal stories are most effective. If you are unable to attend hearings, email the committee, or better yet, call members individually and indicate if you are a constituent.

Bills may have an executive session at any time after the public hearing. This is when the committee discusses and votes on legislation; it is very influential when the entire chamber votes. Consequently, prompt action on legislation is highly recommended.

Once bills are exec’d, they are usually scheduled for a vote by the entire chamber soon after. This is when all members of the NH House or Senate will vote YEA (to support the committee’s recommendation) or NAY (to oppose the recommendation). Contact your legislators before the session day with brief, polite messages and mention you are a constituent.

Education committee members’ contact information is at the end of the article. For other committees, their group email addresses are in the analysis.


SCHEDULE

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 13, 2018: SENATE EDUCATION COMMITTEE, ROOM 103, LOB

Public hearings for the following bills

9:00 a.m. SB 523-FN, requiring public school students to receive training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and the use of an automated external defibrillator device.

9:05 a.m. SB 524-FN, relative to head injury policies for the community college system of New Hampshire and the university system of New Hampshire

9:15 a.m. SB 525-FN, prohibiting the distribution of higher education and adult education financial assistance to any student who is not a legal resident.

9:25 a.m. SB 526-FN, relative to school breakfast programs.

9:30 a.m. SB 568-FN, relative to criminal history record checks for school employees and certain volunteers.

 

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 13, 2018: HOUSE EDUCATION COMMITTEE, ROOM 207 LOB

10:00 a.m.  Executive sessions for the following bills

HB 1253, relative to membership of the cooperative school district budget committees

HB 1469-L, relative to the dissolution of cooperative school districts

HB 1594, relative to the disposition of property upon withdrawal from cooperative school districts

HB 1598-L, relative to the vote to withdraw from a cooperative school district

HB 1493, relative to the statewide assessment system of performance in schools

HB 1494, relative to the definition of academic standards

HB 1495, relative to standards for determining an adequate education

HB 1496, relative to requirements for performance based accountability for an adequate education

HB 1497, relative to accountability for school performance

HB 1637, requiring school districts to establish policies relating to suspensions and expulsions.

 

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 13, 2018: HOUSE CHILDREN & FAMILY LAW, ROOM 206, LOB

Public hearing continued for the following bill

3:45 p.m. *** HB 1650, removing education as required by law as a criterion for determining child neglect.

Position – SUPPORT the bill

Information –This simple bill removes education as a component of neglect and responsibility of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). HB 1650 treats homeschool investigations the same as other educational cases which are handled by the state Department of Education and local school districts. Compliance with compulsory attendance applies to all children age 6 to 18, including homeschoolers. HB 1650 allows DCYF to focus on higher priority investigations.; it removes education-only investigations from DCYF which is poorly equipped or trained to evaluate education concerns. Instead it places responsibility in the hands of the state DOE and local districts through existing compulsory education and truancy statutes. Further, it places homeschoolers on a level playing field with families who choose public or private schools. Finally, if a home-educating family is investigated for educational neglect, current statute requires them to maintain the Letters of Intent and acknowledgements from their Participating Agencies, reading logs, work samples, and year-end assessments which provide evidence against such charges. This bill does not alter investigations that go beyond educational concerns. HB 1650 takes away a big fear home-educating families face – that their children could be removed from their homes by DCYF simply because of paperwork errors or misunderstandings with education statutes. Homeschooling is not abuse and should not be treated as such. The public hearing was recessed and will continue to allow the remaining speakers to be heard. The exec session is scheduled for Tuesday, February 20th, at which time the committee will vote on the bill. The entire committee can be emailed at CFL@leg.state.nh.us. Read more in Level the Playing Field for Homeschoolers and Homeschooling is Not Neglect.

 

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2018: HOUSE EDUCATION COMMITTEE, ROOM 207 LOB

10:00 a.m.  Executive sessions for the following bills

HB 1228, removing the limitation on a chartered public school incurring long term debt

HB 1229, relative to the teachers’ voting requirement for becoming a charter conversion school

HB 1277, relative to the renomination of teachers

HB 1333, relative to the criteria for teachers in charter schools

HB 1348, relative to the annual audit report of public charter schools

HB 1761, relative to the math learning communities program in secondary schools

HB 1439, relative to requirements for private schools that contract with school districts

HB 1480, relative to the membership of the board of trustees of a chartered public school

HB 1552, requiring school districts to submit an annual report concerning gifted students

HB 1559, relative to certification requirements for assistant principals

HB 1572-L, relative to alternative transportation of students for public school activities

HB 1636, establishing a committee to study teacher preparation and education programs.

 

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 2018: SENATE SESSION, Senate Chamber, 10:00am

The entire NH Senate will vote on the following bill

* SB 431, relative to non-academic surveys required to be filed by school districts to maintain federal funding.

Committee recommendation — Inexpedient to Legislate, vote 3-2

Position – YEA on ITL, OPPOSE the bill

Information – This bill seeks to reverse the hard-won active consent (opt in) for non-academic surveys in SB 43 (2017). SB 431 seeks to have non-academic surveys require passive consent (opt-out) if they are tied to “grants, initiatives, or contracts.” In other words, the bill sells students’ rights and privacy for additional funding. Active consent as required in the 2017 law is consistent with the federal Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA) and carves out an exception for the Youth Risk Behavior Survey created by the CDC which allows passive consent (opt-out). This is a school choice issue public school students should not be subject to increased risks or privacy violations nor should their parents forfeit their rights to direct their children’s education simply because children attend their zip code assigned schools. It is also one aspect of accountability to families.

 

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 2018: HOUSE CHILDREN & FAMILY LAW, ROOM 206, LOB

Executive session for the following bill

10:00 a.m.  HB 1403, relative to members of the state board of education.

 

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 2018: HOUSE CHILDREN & FAMILY LAW, ROOM 206, LOB

Executive session for the following bill

11:00 a.m. *** HB 1650, removing education as required by law as a criterion for determining child neglect.

Position – SUPPORT the bill

Information –This simple bill removes education as a component of neglect and responsibility of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). HB 1650 treats homeschool investigations the same as other educational cases which are handled by the state Department of Education and local school districts. Compliance with compulsory attendance applies to all children age 6 to 18, including homeschoolers. HB 1650 allows DCYF to focus on higher priority investigations.; it removes education-only investigations from DCYF which is poorly equipped or trained to evaluate education concerns. Instead it places responsibility in the hands of the state DOE and local districts through existing compulsory education and truancy statutes. Further, it places homeschoolers on a level playing field with families who choose public or private schools. Finally, if a home-educating family is investigated for educational neglect, current statute requires them to maintain the Letters of Intent and acknowledgements from their Participating Agencies, reading logs, work samples, and year-end assessments which provide evidence against such charges. This bill does not alter investigations that go beyond educational concerns. HB 1650 takes away a big fear home-educating families face – that their children could be removed from their homes by DCYF simply because of paperwork errors or misunderstandings with education statutes. Homeschooling is not abuse and should not be treated as such. The public hearing was recessed and will continue to allow the remaining speakers to be heard. The entire committee can be emailed at CFL@leg.state.nh.us. Read more in Level the Playing Field for Homeschoolers and Homeschooling is Not Neglect.

 

THURSDAY, MARCH 8, 2018: HOME EDUCATION ADVISORY COUNCIL (HEAC) at 3:30pm

Department of Education, Londergan Hall, room 13, 101 Pleasant Street, Concord

This is the regular bi-monthly meeting of the Home Education Advisory Council. It is open to the public.


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.

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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 senators@leg.state.nh.us.

To contact the entire House Education Committee, you may send one email to HouseEducationCommittee@leg.state.nh.us. Brief phone calls are most effective, but personalized emails directed to an individual are also helpful; mention if you are a constituent. At the bottom we’ve supplied a list of the 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

Mary.Gile@leg.state.nh.us