Schedule for Week of January 22, 2018

January is the most intense month when nearly all our bills have public hearings. There are three of particular note – HB 1263 would reinstate the annual reporting of homeschool year-end evaluations; HB 1492 expands Manifest Educational Hardship to consider the impact on students; and HB 1650 removes education from the purview of DCYF. These bills include our analysis and recommendations. As a courtesy, we list additional bills, meetings, and events relevant to education issues.


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 23, 2018: SENATE EDUCATION COMMITTEE, ROOM 103, LOB

Public hearings for the following bills

9:00 a.m. SB 357, relative to safe school zones.

9:15 a.m. SB 359, relative to notice to school districts of out-of-home placements.

9:30 a.m. SB 382, relative to withdrawal from cooperative school districts.

9:45 a.m. SB 431, relative to non-academic surveys required to be filed by school districts to maintain federal funding.

 

TUESDAY, JANUARY 23, 2018: HOUSE EDUCATION COMMITTEEE, ROOM 207, LOB

Public hearings for the following billS

10:00 a.m. HB 1353, establishing a commission to study equal access and opportunity for students with disabilities to participate in athletics.

10:30 a.m. HB 1409, relative to child restraint practices in schools and treatment facilities.

11:00 a.m. HB 1439, relative to requirements for private schools that contract with school districts.

11:30 a.m. HB 1551, relative to the retention of records of individualized education programs.

1:00 p.m. HB 1354, adding the speaker of the house of representatives and senate president as permanent members of the university system board of trustees.

1:30 p.m. HB 1528, prohibiting discrimination in the university and community college systems

 

TUESDAY, JANUARY 23, 2018: National School Choice Week event, Radissson Hotel in Manchester

4:00 p.m.  This family-friendly fun event will feature Youth Beatz, student performances, and will be broadly attended by supporters of providing families with educational opportunities. Reserve your free ticket asap.

 

THURSDAY, JANUARY 25, 2018: HOUSE EDUCATION COMMITTEEE, ROOM 207, LOB

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

HB 1452, relative to equalized property valuation used to apportion expenses in cooperative school districts

HB 1819-FN, relative to administration of the education tax credit

HB 1698-FN-L, relative to the cost of special education services for foster children

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

 

Public hearing for the following bill

1:00 p.m.  *** HB 1263, relative to educational evaluation of home schooled children.

Position – OPPOSE the bill

Information — The bill requires home-educating families to submit their year-end assessments to their local SAU superintendent, a private school that serves as their Participating Agency, or the state Department of Education. It reinstates this requirement from pre-2012. The results could no longer be kept private by the family. It also restores the Participating Agency’s authority to place a home education program on probation if a child does not meet the performance standards — a composite score at or above the 40th percentile on a standardized test or “progress commensurate with age and ability” on a teacher evaluation. If a child does not meet these expectations a second consecutive year, the program is terminated and the child must enroll in a public, charter, or private school the following school year. This is a much higher standard and severe consequence than our public schools face. It presumes homeschoolers “guilty until proven innocent” which is completely counter to our values as a society. Homeschoolers would again need to prove they provide a satisfactory education for their own children. Under current statute, concerns re educational neglect can be handled on a case-by-case basis. All NH children aged 6 to 18 are required to satisfy compulsory attendance; truancy laws already exist that apply to all, including homeschoolers. There is more information and background on the bill available here, here and here.

 

TUESDAY, JANUARY 30, 2018: SENATE EDUCATION COMMITTEE, ROOM 103, LOB

Public hearings for the following bills

9:00 a.m. SB 442, relative to surety indemnification requirements for private postsecondary career schools.

9:20 a.m. SB 432-FN-L, relative to an elective course in SAT preparation.

9:40 a.m. SB 433, relative to the annual filing of statistical reports to the department of education.

10:00 a.m. SB 434, relative to school nurse certification.

 

TUESDAY, JANUARY 30, 2018: HOUSE EDUCATION COMMITTEEE, ROOM 207, LOB

Public hearings for the following bills

9:30 a.m. HB 1258, relative to the advanced manufacturing education advisory council.

10:00 a.m. HB 1498, relative to alternate certification pathways for career and technical education instructors.

11:00 a.m. HB 1572-L, relative to alternative transportation of students for public school activities.

11:30 a.m. HB 1277, relative to the renomination of teachers.

1:00 p.m. *** HB 1492, relative to a course of action when a child’s attendance at a school has resulted in a manifest educational hardship.

Position – SUPPORT the bill

Information – Families are the ones best positioned to identify if a situation presents a hardship for their children. Often times, families seek options when they have concerns regarding academic fit and safety. Unfortunately, most cases of Manifest Educational Hardship (MEH) brought before local school boards are denied. Of all the cases appealed to the state Board of Education in the past 12 years, only one was reversed for the family. House Bill 1492 specifies Manifest Educational Hardship must consider “the best interest of the child” and take families’ as well as medical professionals’ recommendations into account. It also expands options school districts may utilize including “another action that may offer relief.” This bill empowers families to seek relief for their child and allows local school boards a broader consideration of MEH and ways to address those circumstances. Who decides what is a hardship? This bill considers the family’s perspectives on decisions regarding their children’s education when they are most in need. True accountability is to families. HB 1492 allows for more educational options within the public-school system. The state BOE reviewed MEH rules at their December meeting and two people, including us and a Keene-area parent, testified. Testimony begins at 2:48:00 of the December 2017 video.

1:30 p.m. HB 1637, requiring school districts to establish policies relating to suspensions and expulsions

2:15 p.m. ** HB 1432, requiring certain schools to establish nondiscrimination and employee background check policies.

Position – OPPOSE the bill

Information – This bill would seek to impose redundant requirements on private schools that they must already satisfy via federal laws regarding nondiscrimination and background checks. The proposed requirements also go beyond those applied to public schools; as an example, district schools do not perform background checks on volunteers. This bill is retaliation to the Education Savings Account bill, SB 193, which already includes relevant nondiscrimination laws. Further, the bill seeks to apply these requirements to schools that accept students using tax-credit programs; however, these programs do not use public funds and are sourced via private donations from individuals and businesses. This is an intrusion in the operation of private organizations and businesses.

2:45 p.m. HB 1559, relative to certification requirements for assistant principals.

 

TUESDAY, JANUARY 30, 2018: HOUSE CHILDREN & FAMILY LAW, ROOM 206, LOB

Public hearing for the following bill

2:00 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 as a responsibility of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). As written, educational neglect can unfairly target home-educating families. Under existing law, RSA 169-C, who else in addition to homeschoolers could be charged with educational neglect? Would a family with a child enrolled in a public school be charged with educational neglect? Would a private school family be investigated? Likely not. If the child was not in school, it is considered truancy which is handled by the state DOE and local SAU offices, and the presumption is that public and private schools provide a satisfactory education. Primarily homeschooling families would need to prove the quality of their educational program. If HB 1650 becomes law, concerns about homeschool education would default to truancy investigations under the jurisdiction of the state Department of Education. Individual families would have the opportunity to provide evidence that they satisfy NH’s compulsory attendance laws per RSA 193-A. It takes away a big fear home-educating families face – that their children could be removed from their home by DCYF. It allows DCYF to focus on higher priority investigations. The bill also 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 beyond truancy concerns, current statute requires them to maintain the Letter of Intent acknowledgement letter from their Participating Agency, reading log, work samples, and year-end assessment which provides evidence against such charges. This bill does not alter investigations that go beyond educational concerns. Homeschooling is not abuse and should not be treated as such. The entire committee can be emailed at CFL@leg.state.nh.us.

 

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 6, 2018: SENATE EDUCATION COMMITTEE, ROOM 103, LOB

Public hearings for the following bills

9:00 a.m. SB 435, relative to alternative programs for granting credit leading to graduation.

9:15 a.m. SB 436, relative to tuition in the community college system.

9:30 a.m. SB 437, relative to the robotics education development program.

9:45 a.m. SB 441, relative to final grades in schools.

 

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 8, 2018: STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION MONTHLY MEETING

9:00 a.m.  Department of Education, Londergan Hall, room 13, 101 Pleasant Street, Concord

 


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