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House Education Committee votes 17-3 to return the stabilization fund to 2016 levels

HB 177, for which a public hearing was held two weeks ago, was amended to go back to the 2016 level.  The original bill only went back to 2018 levels. Rep. Luneau brought the amendment and will take the bill to the House floor.  Rep. Luneau, Ladd, Boehm, Myler, and others spoke strongly about the urgency of the bill.

Rep.  Cordelli wanted only to go back to 2018 levels and he will speak for the minority on the House floor.

(writeup from John Tobin)

House votes Interim Study on SB 193, 170-159. But it’s not over! Here’s the roll call on yesterday’s vote.

After an evening in which both sides would have subjected Republican’s who supported the Interim Study motion to intense lobbying, there will be more maneuvering on the House floor today, attempting to bring the bill up for reconsideration.  If Sb 193 supporters lose again today, they may try to insert the bill into another piece of legislation still in process (the session is scheduled to end on May 24).

So please stay tuned for further opportunities to communicate with your legislators.

Immediately below is the roll call, alphabetical by House Member’s last name, copied and pasted from the General Court web site.  Below that is the same table, sorted by party and vote.  Below that, the table is sorted by vote and party. (more…)

Concord Monitor injects reality into assertions from SB 193 supporters

Advocates on both side of the voucher issue laid out their basic financial cases yesterday before the House Finance Committee.  This is just the opening salvo as the committee begins its analysis of the bill but it included unrealistic assertions by proponents that few children would actually use the generous vouchers and there would be enough extra money in the General Fund to cover any costs there might be.  (Here is our assessment, “Virtually every student in New Hampshire could be eligible for a grant from the SB 193 voucher program.”)

The Concord Monitor this morning features the bill’s primary advocate in the House making the case that not many children would even be eligible: (more…)

Here is the House roll call vote on SB 193

Here is the roll call on SB 193, sorted by last name of the House member.  Below, the vote is presented sorted by Yeahs and Nays and below that, by party. (more…)

House adopts variety of anti-assessment bills –Union Leader

The Union Leader reports that the House adopted a variety of education bills this week, many regarding state standards, assessment, and curriculum. Arguing in favor of HB 276, bill sponsor Rep. Rick Ladd said that school boards should be allowed to adopt their own standards, while Rep. Mary Heath pointed out that no current law requires districts to adopt the Common Core standards, leaving them free to choose their own without the help of the bill.


What opposition to the Common Core should we expect in the upcoming legislative session?

Two New Hampshire legislators have filed LSRs (“Legislative Service Requests,” place holders for bills) on bills to oppose the Common Core.  Glenn Cordelli has filed LSR 2015-H-0047-L “relative to implementation of college and career readiness standards.”  And Smarter Balanced assessment opponent David Murotake has filed LSR2015-H-0102-L “relative to the implementation of new statewide education annual assessments.”

But after the fight last year, New Hampshire is pretty well established as a firmly Common Core state.  We are over four years in now and New Hampshire teachers and teachers around the country are in strong support. (more…)

Four remaining Common Core and annual assessment bills coming from the Education Committee today

The HB 1397 study committee proposal was defeated on Tuesday, 228-77.  Here are the remaining four bills about the Common Core and the Smarter Balanced assessment in the order in which the House will take them up today.

HB1239 -FN-L (testimony here) This is a “sand in the gears” bill to bring adoption of education standards to a halt.  It would be hard to ever adopt a new standard again.  No law or regulation has to endure this level of process.  Among other things, the bill requires the department to hold hearings in each executive council district.  Committee recommendation: ITL, 13-6

Sponsors: Cordelli, Boehm, Hoell, Harris, Murotake, Reagan, Cataldo, Marston

HB1432 (testimony here) was amended out of existence in the education committee but is still listed here in case it comes back as a floor amendment.  If HB 1432 were to pass, New Hampshire would be in violation of federal law. The State would risk going back to AYP and losing $116 million in federal funding.  It was never clear what the bill actually said, but my best guess is here.  The main problems with the bill are listed here.  Committee recommendation: Interim Study on amended version.

Sponsors: Murotake, Boehm, Cordelli, Kelley, Sanborn

HB 1432 committee amendment is a hastily written amendment that, unlike the original bill, would allow NHDOE to administer the Smarter Balanced assessment for one year but would require legislative action by the new Legislature next year to continue Smarter Balanced, making the annual assessment a political decision.  Here are the details.  Committee recommendation: Interim Study, 8-7

Sponsors: Murotake, Ladd

HB 1496 would prevent the Smarter Balanced Assessment from being used.  The bill is a collection of blog quotes about what’s wrong with the Smarter Balanced assessment and never became a serious contender for OTP.  Committee recommendation: Interim Study, 15-3

Sponsor is Hoell

HB 1508-FN (testimony here) is a one sentence bill that seeks to “terminate all plans, programs, activities, and expenditures relative to the implementation of the common core….any assessments and instruction based upon such standards.” This bill would shut down real teaching in New Hampshire public schools, which have been implementing the Common Core for 4 years, and have no alternative education standard or assessment.  Committee recommendation: ITL, 13-6

Sponsors: Peterson, Baldasaro, Tucker, Bick, Harris, Murotake, Cormier, LeBrun, Notter, Infantine.

Have we finally seen the end of over-the-top advocacy on HB 1432, the bill to postpone Common Core testing?

Legislative advocacy in support of HB 1432 has been overwrought from the beginning.  The prime sponsor, Rep. David Murotake (R-Nashua) has repeatedly asserted that New Hampshire’s Common Core test is “high-stakes” when it actually carries the lowest stakes in the country.  Co-sponsor Rep. Glenn Cordelli (R-Tuftonboro) has testified erroneously about privacy and even brought the Florida education bureaucracy into it – and then gone so far as to solicit a letter from the State’s NECAP test vendor to give the impression that there is an alternative to the Smarter Balanced test.

Actually, it has never been clear what HB 1432 was really about.  Is it about stopping all testing, including competency-based testing (as the bill says), or just stopping Smarter Balanced, or stopping all “Common Core associated” testing?  The sponsors have seemed to take all those positions at one time or another.

But advocacy for HB 1432 really went over the top when Rep. Murotake used his position on the Nashua Board of Education, in violation of the New Hampshire’s open meetings statute, to get his fellow board members to sign a letter in support of his bill.


HB 1432, the bill to replace Smarter Balanced, cannot be fixed

Rep. Murotake spins fiction, gets a letter of support from his union local, risks an open meeting violation to get a letter of support from his fellow Nashua Board of Ed members…but, in the end, there’s no version of his bill that the State could afford to pass.  Rep. Murotake’s goal for HB 1432 has been shifting and unclear, but let’s just assume that his goal is for the State not to use Smarter Balanced for the next two years and that any alternative would be acceptable.

Here’s why that cannot be done.

New Hamphsire cannot postpone the test

It’s clear from the No Child Left Behind law that New Hampshire must give a test every year.  (We could request a waiver, as other states have done and failed, but we don’t need to pass a law to do that.)


Is there an alternative to the Smarter Balanced assessment? You be the judge.

A group of Nashua teachers and board of education members want Nashua to replace the Smarter Balanced assessment with a different test.  And HB 1432 would outlaw Smarter Balanced for two years as well as, the sponsor now says, any other test “associated with the Common Core.” (more…)