The metaphor couldn’t have been more clear—while I met with the governor’s educational policy assistant yesterday in the state house and then traveled over to the Department of Education to attend my first Professional Standards Board meeting, blue skies that allowed the sun to actually warm New Hampshire ground brought up my spirits. I felt hopeful and determined; empowered and ready. But after a long day of meetings, as I drove home, outside of Concord, rain showers met me and closer to home I encountered the snowstorms that are beginning to define our northern spring. It was a reminder that here at home we have a lot of work to do in the name of education, and that sometimes we have to battle under cloudy skies—both literally and figuratively.
Expressing teacher concerns to Christen Laver, in a small room off from the governor’s office, I was emphatically told that the Senate and House members appreciate hearing and need to hear from their constituents and that it is our responsibility to let them know if we support or disagree with a bill that is up for vote. Some of the bills, like HB216 (passed by the House, now in the Senate) that gives our school boards control over evaluation and method of instruction in classrooms, have received absolutely no feedback from the educational community.
Other bills to pay close attention to and voice in on:
· HB2 (passed by the House, now in the Senate) which allows public employees to become at-will employees at the expiration of a contract.
· HB429 (passed by the House, now in the Senate) which lowers NH’s dropout age from 18 to 16.
· HB542 (passed by the House, now in the Senate) which removes compulsory education from NH, making us the only state in the nation and the only location in developed countries without compulsory education.
· HB219 (retained in committee) which creates a committee to study the abolishment of the Department of Education.
· HB370 (passed by the House, now in the Senate) which removes language from the new “Bullying Law” allowing schools to deal with cyberbullying—even if it impacts the school environment.
· HB0164 (passed by the House, now in the Senate) which says NH cannot adopt the Common Core Standards without approval of the court (which it is not giving).
Please please PLEASE spend some time on www.gencourt.state.nh.us reading up on bills that will affect our schools and write letters to your senators and representatives. If the bill has passed either the House or the Senate, now is the time to write your letters. If the status of the bill is “retained in committee” it is suggested that you wait until the summer to write your letter, as that is the time the groups will review those bills.
Do not assume that other people are going to be the activists. It is our job, as parents and teachers, to express upon Concord that cutting New Hampshire schools off at the knees is absolutely unacceptable. Please take a few minutes to find out who your representatives are and write to them so they can begin to actually represent you.
To find your Legislator: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/house/members/wml.aspx
To find your Senator: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/senate/senatemembers.asp
To follow bills & their status: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/