Welcome to the start of the 2019 legislative session! The Senate and House education committees are beginning to schedule public hearings and there is a full calendar for the HEC. We are monitoring numerous bills this year and those will include our analysis and commentary. There are several bills regarding charter schools, cooperative district agreements, and education funding; a few have hearings this week. There are a few hostile bills filed against the tax-credit scholarship program that we are tracking and will share important information as hearings are scheduled. For thoroughness, we list additional bills, meetings, and events relevant to education issues that may be of interest.
Legislators’ contact information is at the end.
Also, we are holding an Intro to Homeschooling discussion on Wednesday, January 23rd at the Nashua Public Library starting at 6:00pm. The session is designed for new(er) and prospective families to learn more about homeschool requirements, the extensive resources available, and how to begin their programs with confidence. Tickets are free and available here.
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. Indicate if you are a constituent.
Bills may have an executive session any time after the public hearing. This is when the committee discusses and votes on legislation, and amendments may be introduced. The committee makes one of three recommendations: Inexpedient to Legislate (ITL) which is to kill the bill; Ought to Pass (OTP) which is a recommendation to support the bill; or to send it to Interim Study (IS) which is to continue work on the bill. Committee recommendations are 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 body soon after. This is when all members of the 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.
Legislators’ contact information is at the end of this article.
TUESDAY, JANUARY 15, 2019: JOINT SENATE and HOUSE EDUCATION COMMITTEEES, ROOM 205-207, LOB
Presentations, open to the public
10:00 a.m. Commissioner Edelblut of the Department of Education and Chairman Drew Cline of the State Board of Education
10:45 a.m. Chancellor Gittell of the Community College System of NH
11:30 a.m. Chancellor Leach of the University System of New Hampshire
1:00 p.m. Caitlin Davis, Department of Education, School Funding
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 16, 2019: HOUSE EDUCATION COMMITTEE, ROOM 207, LOB
Public hearings for the following bills
10:00 a.m. HB 123, relative to emergency response plans in schools.
10:15 a.m. HB 131, establishing a commission on mental health education programs.
10:30 a.m. HB 149, relative to the apportionment of costs in cooperative school districts.
11:00 a.m. HB 164, relative to reporting statistics on student behavior.
11:15 a.m. HB 169, requiring school districts to submit an annual report concerning gifted students.
11:30 a.m. HB 181, relative to the house and senate members of the university system board of trustees.
1:00 p.m. HB 170, requiring a civics examination as a high school requirement.
1:15 p.m. HB 171, establishing a commission to study equal access and opportunity for students with disabilities to participate in athletics.
THURSDAY, JANUARY 17, 2019: HOUSE EDUCATION COMMITTEE, ROOM 207, LOB
Public hearings for the following bills
10:00 a.m. HB 175, relative to the requirements for school building aid grants.
10:30 a.m. HB 176-FN-A, relative to grants for school building aid and making an appropriation therefor.
11:00 a.m. HB 177-FN, relative to the calculation of stabilization grants.
1:00 p.m. HB 184-FN, relative to the calculation of kindergarten students in the average daily membership and repealing prorated kindergarten funding based on Keno revenues.
1:30 p.m. HB 356, relative to the retention of certain reports by institutions of higher learning.
1:45 p.m. HB 357, relative to the public school infrastructure fund.
This is another returning bill against charter schools with Rep. Timothy Horrigan as prime sponsor. The first time around it was HB 1120 (2016) and again appeared as HB 148 (2017). Current statute requires charter schools to have a minimum of 50% of their teaching staff with teacher credentials; HB 222 would require 75% hold teacher licenses. Note that NH private schools have no credentialing requirement at all. Teachers are important, but there is more to making a “good teacher” than his or her certifications. Teaching is an art; certification cannot measure the rapport teachers develop with their students or the breadth and depth of knowledge and skill teachers bring to their classrooms. Note that teacher credentials alone are not correlated with student performance. Read Teacher Quality and Student Achievement: Making the Most of Recent Research, March 2008 and Educational Leadership: Research Says…Good Teachers May Not Fit the Mold, December 2010-January 2011 by the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD).
This is another repeat bill hostile to charter schools. It first was introduced as HB 474 (2015) by Reps. Mary Gile and Timothy Horrigan and again as HB 113 (2017) with the same sponsors. This time around, Rep. Timothy Horrigan is the sole sponsor. This bill would allow the state Board of Education to deny the application of chartered public schools solely for budget reasons; the legislature, not the BOE sets the budget and allocation of state funds. This is a blatant attempt to justify the charter school moratorium from a few years ago and deny additional schools; see The State Board of Ed Overreaches Its Authority. All chartered public schools go through a rigorous process and review by the state Board of Education.
2:30 p.m. HB 289, relative to the recitation of the Lord’s prayer in public elementary schools.
TUESDAY, JANUARY 22, 2019: HOUSE EDUCATION COMMITTEE, ROOM 207, LOB
Public hearings for the following bills
10:00 a.m. HB 327-FN-A, making an appropriation to the community college system to continue the math learning communities program in partnership with New Hampshire high schools.
10:15 a.m. HB 226, relative to the renomination of teachers.
10:45 a.m. HB 231, requiring school districts to establish policies relating to suspensions and expulsions.
11:15 a.m. HB 251, relative to criminal background checks for education personnel.
11:45 a.m. HB 258, establishing a committee to study teacher preparation and education programs
1:00 p.m. HB 275, relative to school nurse certification.
1:30 p.m. HB 302, relative to communications between school administrative units and certain other entities.
1:45 p.m. HB 329, relative to review and adoption of school data security plans.
THURSDAY, JANUARY 24, 2018: HOME EDUCATION ADVISORY COUNCIL (HEAC) at 3:30pm
Department of Education, Londergan Hall, room 12, 101 Pleasant Street, Concord
This is the regular bi-monthly meeting of the Home Education Advisory Council. It is open to the public. We closely follow the council and regularly report on their meetings. Below is a list of recent articles relative to HEAC and homeschool issues.
CONTACT INFO for LEGISLATORS
The lists of education committee members with their contact information are available here. Brief phone calls are most effective; personal stories can be particularly compelling. Mention if you are a constituent.
The Senate Education and Workforce Development Committee list is below.[table “17” not found /]
The House Education Committee list is below. A list of the committee members’ emails is below the table for an easy copy/paste.[table “19” not found /]