In 2012, the O’Brien legislature considered shutting down the New Hampshire Department of Education. Now in the minority, opponents of public education have taken a different approach. On January 28, 2014, Rep. Jane Cormier (R-Alton) presented her bill, HB 1397, to authorize a stacked study committee to go after DOE.
The thesis is that that DOE has gone rogue, establishing an unauthorized new division to implement the Common Core in a stealth mode.
There can be no doubt about the intention of the bill. The study committee would be made up of 2 House Republicans, 2 House Democrats and one Republican appointed by the president of the Senate, a guaranteed Republican majority. The next section, about Duties, sends the committee deep into conspiracy land to ferret out law-breaking within DOE.
The hearing brought Common Core opponents out in force, as you see on this highlight reel:
That’s not a recognizable portrait to most who deal with NHDOE. Long time disability rights advocate Bonnie Dunham testified about how responsive DOE has been to her concerns and characterizes the bill as a “search and destroy mission.”
And here is Heather Gage, Director of the Division of Educational Improvement and Chief of Staff, New Hampshire Department of Education, responding to each issue raised by supporters.
There is little prospect that this bill will get serious support, but it will serve as an early indicator of where legislators stand on the Common Core.