Update on HB 323 — Heading to Committee of Conference

On Tuesday June 2, 2015 the House Education Committee met to discuss bills amended by the Senate. The major one was House Bill 323, the bill regarding statewide assessments and the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) waiver. This is the most important and contentious education bill of the entire year.

The video of the House Education Committee’s discussion was originally posted by NH Families for Education and is available here. We live-blogged the session; below is the running commentary. Links and other information are inserted.

From here the entire House of Representatives must decide whether to agree with the House Education Committee’s recommendation to discuss HB 323 in a Committee of Conference with the senate. This is when representatives of both legislative bodies will reconcile the versions they passed. Then the House and Senate will again need to vote on whatever version emerges from the Committee of Conference. The fight to protect parents’ rights and local control is far from over.

For more information about HB 323, reference the following articles.
HB 323 — A Victory for Parents and Local Control
HB 323 Compromise in Jeopardy
Update on HB 323, the Waiver Bill
Things Come Apart So Easily
Debunking the Myths of HB 323, the NCLB Waiver Bill
HB 323 Action Alert — Save Our Kids
Press Conference on HB 323, the NCLB Waiver Bill
HB 323, The Most Important Education Bill of the Year
PACE: the Next Educational Reform from the NH DOE

There are stark differences in the bill as passed by the House vs the Senate (by the Bradley amendment).

HB 323 (2015) comparison of House and Senate versions 060915

Live-Blog Commentary [of the HEC session] and Added Links:
HB 323 — the big one related to statewide assessments and the NCLB waiver. This was modified by the Bradley amendment. Rep Ladd notes that PACE is removed by the senate, and the SAT or ACT may be used for 11th grade assessments. Rep. Ladd says amendments “will be made” and continues to defend his various amendments.

Rep Ladd doesn’t like the Bradley (incorrectly identified as sponsored by Sen. Boutin) amendment because he continues to advocate for PACE and is encouraging the HEC to lean for a Committee of Conference.

Rep Ladd objects to the amendment because there would be no common statewide assessment in use.

Rep Myler mentions that the state DOE prefers the PACE program and thinks it is rigorous. He also thinks the option of SAT or ACT is problematic for comparisons.

Rep Ladd says the Committee heard about over-testing, too much cost and loss of teaching time for testing, and need for local control. He continues to advocate for PACE.

Rep Cordelli clarifies that the Bradley amendment was introduced on the senate floor. [See the entire senate discussion on this video, starting at 13:20.]

Rep Heath wants to hear from the state DOE, but Rep Ladd says that they have serious concerns with the Bradley amendment.

Rep Ladd says that Sen John Reagan doesn’t support the Bradley amendment (true), but also implies that Reagan wants PACE. The truth is that Sen Reagan said he no longer trusts the state DOE and is tired of chasing federal dollars for these tests. [To see Sen. John Reagan’s comments, watch the video starting at 26:59.]

Rep Ladd wants assessments that measure student growth, but these assessments measure schools vs schools. The assessments don’t measure what is meaningful. Rep Ladd brings up some of the concerns we’ve raised re the Smarter Balanced Assessments (not valid, includes work study habits, etc).

Rep Ladd pushes for a Committee of Conference.

Note that the version Ladd introduced on the House floor (and was passed) introduced PACE.

Rep Grenier specifically says PACE should not be written into the statute, so to that degree, he agrees with the Bradley amendment, and doesn’t like the one the House passed.

Rep Gile says she also had that concern regarding Competency-Based Education, but she was “rolled over” impressed by the state DOE’s recent presentation on PACE.

Rep Gile continues to extol the praises of NH “leading the way” to accountability and competency-based education.

Rep Gile also wants a Committee of Conference, yet Rep Grenier thinks local districts should have the option and not have it mandated in statute.

Rep Cordelli thinks there is a language conflict in the Bradley amendment re grade spans and choice of assessments (sentence 1 and 2).

Rep Ladd has “several proposals” (ie new amendments) to this bill.

Rep Boehm mentions that there could be a House debate following the Committee of Conference.

Rep Verschueren understands that there needs to be less testing, and a common statewide assessment for accountability. He is concerned that a Committee of Conference will not satisfactorily find a compromise.

There are random comments that a new bill could be introduced next year.

Rep Ladd comments that the feds could refuse to pay for the SAT or ACT for the 11th grade assessment. [This is a red herring. The US Department of Education has already authorized the use of the SAT in their March 5, 2015 NCLB Waiver letter. More states are using the SAT or ACT for accountability purposes.]

Rep Ladd has an amendment (not yet shared) to fix these problems — local control, common assessment, less costs, less testing.

Committee of Conference overwhelmingly passes. The House Education Committee only did a show of hands, no formal voting procedures.

1 thought on “Update on HB 323 — Heading to Committee of Conference”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.