Schedule for Week of January 15, 2018

The 2018 session is well underway with a full slate of hearings in multiple committees. We are monitoring several bills and those will include our analysis and recommendations. As a courtesy, we list additional bills and meetings relevant to education issues.

Of particular note this week is the House Finance Committee’s public hearing for the Education Savings Account bill, SB 193, on Tuesday, January 16th. There are several additional important bills, highlighted below. It’s a busy week!


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, JANUARY 16, 2018: SENATE EDUCATION COMMITTEE, ROOM 103, LOB

Public hearings for the following bills

9:00 a.m. SB 349, relative to course requirements in a career and technical education program.

9:15 a.m. SB 361, relative to dual and concurrent enrollment agreements between high schools and colleges and universities.

9:30 a.m.SB 356, adding a representative from the community college system to the apprenticeship advisory council.

9:45 a.m. SB 355-FN, relative to the names of colleges in the community college system.

 

TUESDAY, JANUARY 16, 2018: HOUSE EDUCATION COMMITTEEE, ROOM 207, LOB

Public hearings for the following bills

9:30 a.m. HB 1494, relative to the definition of academic standards.

9:50 a.m. HB 1495, relative to standards for determining an adequate education.

10:50 a.m. HB 1496, relative to requirements for performance based accountability for an adequate education.

11:30 a.m. HB 1674, relative to computer science and digital skills required for an adequate education.

1:00 p.m. HB 1493, relative to the statewide assessment system of performance in schools.

1:30 p.m. HB 1497, relative to accountability for school performance.

2:30 p.m. HB 1369, limiting educational assessments to academic skills and knowledge.

 

TUESDAY, JANUARY 16, 2018: HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE, ROOM 210-211, LOB

Public hearings for the following bill

1:30 p.m. *** SB 193-FN, establishing education freedom savings accounts for students.

Position – SUPPORT the bill

Information — Education Savings Accounts are funds that children receive to a designated account that are used for specified educational purposes selected by their families. Approved uses may include online classes, tutoring, textbooks, AP classes, assessments, special-needs services, dual-enrollment courses, private school tuition, homeschool expenses, and other education-related fees. They benefit the most vulnerable in our communities — those of lower-economics means and children with special needs. SB 193 includes several academic and financial accountability mechanisms that are reported to the legislature and state Department of Education. ESAs allow families to make educational decisions for their children based on their individual needs using funds that are already allocated for the child’s education. Even if 5% of eligible students participate in the ESA – this is double the utilization seen in other states with existing ESAs and what opponents project – local districts will retain 98.5% of current funding, including local property taxes and any federal grants. This is not a hardship to districts and within normal enrollment fluctuations. This shift recognizes that the state has an obligation to fund each child’s education, not only one possible provider of that education. Other states with discriminatory Blaine Amendments have ESA programs that have passed constitutional muster; the NH Attorney General’s office indicates the proposed ESA is consistent with NH’s Constitution. It is time for NH to value each child’s education over protecting a system that may not work for them. Email the entire committee at HouseFinanceCommittee@leg.state.nh.us. Read more about ESAs and SB 193 here.

 

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 17, 2018: HOUSE EDUCATION COMMITTEE, ROOM 207, LOB

Public hearing for the following bill

10:00 a.m. HB 1217, amending the certification requirements for school nurses.

11:00 a.m. HB 1593, authorizing a school district meeting to adopt an article authorizing the trustees of the trust fund to charge certain expenses against capital reserve funds.

11:30 a.m. HB 1636, establishing a committee to study teacher preparation and education programs.

1:00 p.m. HB 1403, relative to members of the state board of education.

1:30 p.m. HB 1272, relative to the powers of local boards of education.

2:00 p.m. HB 1612, relative to data security in schools.

2:45 p.m. HB 1311, prohibiting schools from prohibiting the wearing or display of the American flag

 

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 17, 2018: HOUSE LABOR COMMITTEE, ROOM 307, LOB

Public hearing for the following bill

10:30 a.m. * HB 1321, relative to the hours youth are permitted to work.

Position – SUPPORT the bill

Information – The current youth employment law, RSA 276-A, includes several restrictions in section four regarding the hours a teen may work during the traditional school day and school year. However, homeschoolers are not required to follow the local school district schedule or calendar. This simple bill removes the limitations that are tied to traditional school hours and days. This is important because schools recognize Extended Learning Opportunities (ELOs) for course credits and it can impact students’ work-study opportunities. The NH Department of Education encourages district schools to offer ELOs to students as a way to gain “knowledge and skills through instruction or study outside the traditional classroom methodology.” Increasingly schools recognize the value of learning through apprenticeships, community service, internships, and other alternatives. Traditional public and private schools are increasingly offering ELOs as school-day educational options; the current hourly restrictions unfairly limit home-educated students. There is a Facebook event for this hearing. Email the entire committee at HouseLaborIndustrialandRehabilitativeServicesCommittee@leg.state.nh.us.

 

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 17, 2018: HOUSE WAYS & MEANS COMMITTEE, ROOM 202, LOB

Public hearing for the following bill

2:00 p.m.  HB 1686, relative to applications for and the use of education tax credits.

 

THURSDAY, JANUARY 18, 2018: HOUSE EDUCATION COMMITTEEE, ROOM 207, LOB

Public hearings for the following bills

9:30 a.m. HB 1694, requiring a civics examination as a high school graduation requirement.

10:00 a.m. HB 1499, relative to the focus and components of New Hampshire kindergartens.

10:45 a.m. *** HB 1744, authorizing a parent to exempt his or her child from participating in the statewide assessment program.

Position – SUPPORT the bill

Information – This bill has had three rounds before: HB 276 (2017) that died in the Senate, as well as HB 1338 (2016) and HB 603 (2015) that were vetoed by Gov. Hassan. This bill will break the stranglehold on our students and teachers. This bill is in response to increasing demand from parents to refuse their children’s participation in mandatory testing, including the statewide assessments that are aligned with College and Career Readiness Standards (aka Common Core). There are many reasons why parents may wish to have their children not participate in the statewide assessment. Given that these tests have no academic or diagnostic value, many parents believe them to be a waste of valuable instructional time. This bill addresses documented instances of NH students being harassed and punished for non-participation. The bill is consistent with existing NH DOE policies, the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), and US Supreme Court rulings. Even the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) acknowledges that parents may refuse their children’s participation in statewide assessments. Unions also oppose using them to evaluate teachers. Unfortunately, federal ESSA only recognizes refusals if state law allows them; this bill will do exactly that. Again, accountability should be to parents, not politicians. This bill empowers parents to direct their children’s education within the public-school system. Also diminishing the hyper-testing mechanisms of Common Core will encourage educational options and variety. For information about how to refuse your child’s participation in statewide assessments, read Testing Time.

11:30 a.m. HB 1552, requiring school districts to submit an annual report concerning gifted students.

1:00 p.m. HB 1761, relative to the math learning communities program in secondary schools.

2:00 p.m.  HB 1819, relative to administration of the education tax credit.


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.

 

[table id=4 /]

 

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 id=5 /]

 

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