HB 323 -- Radically Grants Control to the NH Commissioner of Education

House Education Committee Chairman Rick Ladd just introduced a dangerous amendment to HB 323, which was precipitously passed by the House.  There was no time for a careful review by House members, nor any opportunity for the public to comment on this proposal.  It was a last minute  floor amendment on a very busy sesssion day when everyone was already overloaded.

As written the amendment enables the federal government to maintain its inappropriate control over New Hampshire's public schools.  It also grants the NH Commissioner of Education a completely unprecedented amount of authority over our statewide assessments.

Under this proposal the Commissioner will develop a new statewide assessment program without oversight.  The Commissioner may select the grades, which will be required to participate in her new Common Core aligned PACE assessment program.  In fact, the Commissioner may selectively approve which districts will be allowed to administer these new asessements in lieu of the very flawed Common Core aligned Smarter Balanced assessments. Are you concerned yet?

Previously the General Court retained control over this process through its Legislative Oversight Committee.  Coincidentally, Chairman Ladd is the current chairman of the Legislative Oversight Committee. 

Why is Ladd proposing to relinquish control to the Commissioner?  Certainly, not due to "good" behavior as the Commissioner has failed to provide any transparency on the contents of this Waiver proposal and issued technical advisories which undermine rights of parents to refuse the Smarter Balanced assessments and encouraging districts to bully and intimidate parents into compliance across the state.

This amendment to House Bill 323 also forces a progressive Competency Based Education program onto our schools, which most legislators do not even fully comprehend via the New Hampshire Performance Assessment for Competency Education (PACE) program.

 

The following amendment was adopted by the House:

Floor Amendment to HB 323

(2015-0806h)

Proposed by Rep. Ladd

Amend the bill by replacing all after the enacting clause with the following:

            1 Statewide Education Improvement and Assessment Program: Assessment Required. Amend RSA 193-C:6 to read as follows:  

193-C:6 Assessment Required.Each year, a statewide assessment   program designed to yield specific data to use in identifying and improving instruction and learning shall be administered in all school districts in the state in grades 3 through 8 and one grade in high school. If APPROVED through a FEDERAL education Waiver, the  New Hampshire Department of Education shall further develop criteria for an application and approval process that will allow school districts to meet certain readiness criteria to participate in a local model of assessment and accountability. This process will allow APPROVED districts to implement the statewide assessment only in selected grades as DETERMINED by the Department and as identified in the New Hampshire Performance Assessment for Competency Education (PACE) pilot. All public school students in the designated grades shall participate in the assessment, unless such student is exempted, or provided that the commissioner of the department of education may, through an agreement with another state when such state and New Hampshire are parties to an interstate agreement, allow pupils to participate in that state's assessment program as an alternative to the assessment required under this chapter. Home educated students may contact their local school districts if they wish to participate in the statewide assessment. Private schools may contact the department of education to participate in the statewide assessment. Nothing in this section shall preclude the use of a well established, curriculum-based college readiness examination of academic achievement, such as the College Board SAT as the high school assessment, where approved for federal accountability purposes.

            2 Effective Date. This act shall take effect 60 days after its passage.

 

Please warn your state Senators that HB 323 is a dramatic shift in how our public education system is currently governed. It is completely unvetted.  The public has had no opportunity to provide any testimony on this issue.

Please help protect REPRESENTATIVE governance of public education !

Be respectful, but politely tell your state Senator that requiring U.S. and N.H. Department of Education APPROVAL of our local schools and our public education system is unacceptable.

 

Jeff Woodburn (d)      Dalton
(603)271-3207
Jeff.Woodburn@leg.state.nh.us

Jeanie Forrester (r)     Meredith
(603)271-4980
jeanie.forrester@leg.state.nh.us

Jeb Bradley (r)           Wolfeboro
(603)271-2106
jeb.bradley@leg.state.nh.us

David Watters (d)       Dover
(603)271-8631
david.watters@leg.state.nh.us

David Pierce (d)          Etna
(603)271-3067
david.pierce@leg.state.nh.us

Sam Cataldo (r)          Farmington
(603)271-4063
sam.cataldo@leg.state.nh.us

Andrew Hosmer (d)     Laconia
(603)271-8631
andrew.hosmer@leg.state.nh.us

Gerald Little (r)         Weare
(603)271-4151
Jerry.Little@leg.state.nh.us

Andy Sanborn (r)       Bedford
(603)271-2609
andy.sanborn@leg.state.nh.us

Molly Kelly (d)            Keene
(603)271-3207
molly.kelly@leg.state.nh.us

Gary Daniels (r)         Milford
(603)271-2609
Gary.Daniels@leg.state.nh.us

Kevin Avard (r)         Nashua
(603)271-4151
Kevin.Avard@.leg.state.nh.us

Bette Lasky (d)         Nashua
(603)271-3091
bette.lasky@leg.state.nh.us

Sharon Carson (r)    Londonderry
(603)271-1403
sharon.carson@leg.state.nh.us

Dan Feltes (d)           Concord
(603)271-3067
Dan.Feltes@leg.state.nh.us

David Boutin (r)      Hooksett / Manchester
(603)271-3092
dboutin1465@comcast.net

John Reagan (r)       Deerfield
(603)271-4063
john.reagan111@gmail.com

Donna Soucy (d)      Manchester
(603)271-3207
donna.soucy@leg.state.nh.us

Regina Birdsell (r)     Hampstead / Windham
(603)271-4151
Regina.Birdsell@.leg.state.nh.us

Lou D'Allesandro (d)   Manchester
(603)271-2117
dalas@leg.state.nh.us

Martha Fuller Clark (d)   Portsmouth
(603)271-3076
martha.fullerclark@leg.state.nh.us

Chuck Morse (r)            Salem
(603)271-8472
chuck.morse@leg.state.nh.us

Russell Prescott (r)       Kingston
(603)271-3074
represcott@represcott.com

Nancy Stiles (r)             Hampton
(603)271-3093
nancy.stiles@leg.state.nh.us

 

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Amend HB 323 to Restore an Authentic "Local Assessment Program" or Kill the Bill !

WIth the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Flexibilty Waiver Renewal being submitted on March 31st, the NH Commissioner of Education is now proposing to replace some of the over-testing with Smarter Balanced and replace it with the Performance Asessment Competency Education (PACE) program. 

Supposedly PACE is a "locally" designed assessment program.  However, districts need the Commissioner's approval to enter the program and the Commissioner's approval on their "locally" designed assessments.  The "locally" designed assessments are actually collaboratively designed and regionally implemented and scored. 

Districts must align their programs with Common Core, Competency Based Education, and the Commissioner's "state graduation competencies" in order to be eligible for the PACE program.

PACE is supposedly "locally" designed but the PACE assessments must be linked to the achievement level descriptors of the Smarter Balanced assessments and need State Department of Education validation.  If PACE is "locally" controlled, why does it need to be included in Waiver?  Why hasn’t the public had a chance to weigh in?  

Supposedly the net result is "less" testing.  Smarter Balanced assessments are given in grades 3-8 and grade 11.  Under PACE, schools will replace 4 Smarter Balanced assessments with weekly PACE assessments.  That's 30 weekly PACE assessment instead of 1 annual Smarter Balanced assessment, moreover, the PACE program will continue every year!!!

Some History on Local Assessment Programs

In 2013 Sen. Nancy Stiles introduced Senate Bill 48 to amend state law, RSA 193-C, relative to school performance and accountability in order to satisfy federal requirements for New Hampshire's first NCLB Flexibility Waiver. 

That bill, SB 48, added definitions for the federally-required "priority" and "focus" schools to bring our state in compliance with federal reforms in order to obtain a Waiver

The bill, also, repealed the "Local Education and Improvement Assessment Plan"  in RSA 193-C. 

263:7 Repeal. The following are repealed:

I. RSA 193-C:1, V, relative to the local education improvement and assessment plan.

II. RSA 193-C:9, relative to the local education improvement fund.

     [State website error; should be "local education improvement plan"]
 

This local improvement and assessment plan was described in state law as a "critical part" of the statewide assessment program. Yet it was eliminated with little discussion or debate.

In 2013 this local assessment plan was repealed upon federal request to obtain a Waiver.

In 2015 a local assessment plan is suddenly being included to obtain a Waiver Renewal.  Rather unusual, is it not?

House Education Committee Chairman Rick Ladd drafted enabling legislation for this federal Waiver.   HB 323 proposes to restore what the Commissioner of Education is describing as a local assessment program under the Common Core aligned Performance Assessment for Competency Education (PACE) pilot program. 

Federal approval has been obtained for this "local" assessment program, which must be designed in collaboration with others outside the district and requires State approval.  Is this a local assessment program, or just another deception to mislead parents?

Proponents argue that the Common Core aligned PACE program eliminates over-testing.  PACE replaces an end of the year summative assessment, Smarter Balanced, with weekly assessments.   Eliminating one annual assessment and replacing it with 30 weekly assessments does not eliminate over-testing. Only under Common Core math could it possibly be considered an improvement.

The real objective of the PACE program is to circumvent the widespread opposition to Smarter Balanced assessments.  Parents can refuse the Smarter Balanced assessements, and are doing so nationwide. However, parents will considerably more difficulty REFUSING  30 weekly Common Core aligned PACE assessments, especially if they are required for graduation and are carefully integrated into the classroom routine. 

This PACE program short circuits parental refusals and will obtain full student participation in Common Core aligned assessments. PACE eliminates local control by requiring regional collaboration, unauthorized by the state Legislature.  Instead of working locally within a district, there will be a federally funded regional governance system controlled exclusively by the Commissioner of Education.

These PACE assessments will measure state graduation competencies which have been established by the NH Commissioner of Education without Legislative authorization.  UNless a student demonstrates these state graduation competencies, he cannot graduate to the next grade level. 

The vast majority of legislators have no understanding of what Competency-Based Education is, or that it's a re-branded concept, formerly known as Outcome-Based Education, which has an unsuccessful track record. 

Enabling legislation, HB 323, authorizes the Commissioner of Education to design and implementation this new PACE program in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Education. 

Floor Amendment to HB 323

Amend the bill by replacing all after the enacting clause with the following:

      ­1  Statewide Education Improvement and Assessment Program; Assessment Required.  Amend RSA 193-C:6 to read as follows:

      193-C:6  Assessment Required.  Each year, a statewide assessment program designed to yield specific data to use in identifying and improving instruction and learning shall be administered in all school districts in the state in grades 3 through 8 and one grade in high school.  If approved through a federal education waiver, the New Hampshire department of education shall further develop criteria for an application and approval process that will allow school districts to meet certain readiness criteria to participate in a local model of assessment and accountability.  This process will allow approved districts to implement the statewide assessment only in selected grades as determined by the department and as identified in the New Hampshire Performance Assessment for Competency Education (PACE) pilot.  All public school students in the designated grades shall participate in the assessment, unless such student is exempted, or provided that the commissioner of the department of education may, through an agreement with another state when such state and New Hampshire are parties to an interstate agreement, allow pupils to participate in that state’s assessment program as an alternative to the assessment required under this chapter.  Home educated students may contact their local school districts if they wish to participate in the statewide assessment.  Private schools may contact the department of education to participate in the statewide assessment.  Nothing in this section shall preclude the use of a well established, curriculum-based college readiness examination of academic achievement, such as the College Board SAT as the high school assessment, where approved for federal accountability purposes.

 

Who controls our local schools?  What is the purpose of electing school board members or state legislators, if only the Commissioner of Education in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Education has any voice in the instruction of our children?

This is unacceptable, federal funding or no funding. Our children's future is at stake.

Parents must have a voice in the education of their children.

HB 323 must be killed (voted Inexpedient to Legislate), or amended to include an AUTHENTIC LOCAL ASSESSMENT PLAN, which restores the voice of school board members, legislators,  teachers and parents.  This is not negotiable.

Then, if the Commissioner of Education can encourage or persuade districts to adopt her federally-approved PACE program, without legislative mandates or restrictive approvals by the Commissioner, so be it. 

This PACE program is being marketed as a locally designed interim assessment program.  Clearly, there should be no objection to the inclusion of just such a program.

Keep in mind that PACE program requires a district to adopt Common Core Math and English Language Arts even though the State may NOT require that districts adopt Common Core.  This is troubling.

Thus, districts may only voluntarily adopt the PACE program.  Since PACE is only an untested pilot program, it should not be explicitly placed in state law.

Federal reforms change quickly from year to year.  There is no reason to include a specific program in state law, especially one that has not yet been fully tested and shown to be effective.



The following Amendment for HB 323 would restore the "Local Education Improvement and Assessment Plan" which was repealed in 2013 by SB 48. 

NOTE:

Language that was previously adopted by the legislature to establish a "Local Education Improvement and Assessment Plan" has been included in full and is highlighted in yellow.

Chairman Ladd's language is included and highlighted in green.

New langauge is marked in red.
 

1  Statewide Education Improvement and Assessment Program; Assessment Required.  Amend RSA 193-C:1 to read as follows:

RSA 193-C:1 V. A critical part of this program is the local education improvement and assessment plan. In order for an assessment program to give an accurate picture of student performance, it must include more than a one-time measure. Local school districts should devise and implement measures, which focus on the continuing growth of individual students, and report the results to parents along with those obtained from the state-developed tool.

­2  Statewide Education Improvement and Assessment Program; Assessment Required.  Amend RSA 193-C:6 to read as follows:

            193-C:6  Assessment Required.  Each year, a statewide assessment program designed to yield specific data to use in identifying and improving instruction and learning shall be administered in all school districts in the state in grades 3 through 8 selected grades between grades 3 and 8 and one grade in high school. If approved through a federal education waiver,  The New Hampshire department of education shall further develop criteria for an application and approval process that will allow school districts to meet certain readiness criteria to participate in a local model of assessment and accountability.  This process will allow approved districts to implement the statewide assessment only in selected grades as determined by the department and as identified in the New Hampshire Performance Assessment for Competency Education (PACE) pilot. 

All public school students in the designated grades shall participate in the assessment, unless such student is exempted, excused based upon the written request of the student's parent or legal guardian, or provided that the commissioner of the department of education may, through an agreement with another state when such state and New Hampshire are parties to an interstate agreement, allow pupils to participate in that state’s assessment program as an alternative to the assessment required under this chapter.  Home educated students may contact their local school districts if they wish to participate in the statewide assessment.  Private schools may contact the department of education to participate in the statewide assessment. Any student who is in school but not participating in the assessment shall be provided meaningful educational activity.  A school district shall not penalize any student for being excused from the assessment, nor shall the department of education or the state board of education penalize any school district for a lower participation rate.  Nothing in this section shall preclude the use of a well established curriculum-based college readiness examiniation of academic achievement test, such as the College Board SAT, or a locally designed  assessment program, in lieu of the statewide assessment. as the high school assessment, where approved for federal accountability purposes.

3  Statewide Education Improvement and Assessment Program; Assessment Required.  Amend RSA 193-C:9 to read as follows:

193-C:9 Local Education Improvement and Assessment Plan.

I. Each school district in New Hampshire is encouraged to develop a local education improvement and assessment plan which builds upon and complements the goals established for the program, including:

(a) Local assessment measures which focus on individual student performance.

(b) Participation in the program.

(c) The use of local and statewide assessment results to improve instruction and enhance student learning.

(d) Methods for reporting the results of all assessment measures.

II. This plan may be submitted to the department of education for review. The department shall provide technical assistance at the request of the school districts in developing and implementing these assessment plans.

III. In addition, local school districts are encouraged to submit to the department of education information relating to:

(a) Methods of instruction which have proven to be effective in helping students reach the state-developed standards.

(b) Methods of assessment which have proven to be effective in assessing what students know and are able to do.

IV. In accordance with RSA 21-N:6, VII, the department shall develop a system whereby such information can be collected, compiled, and disseminated to local school districts.

Let the further clarification of this section be established by rules, which must be approved by the Legislature (through JLCAR) rather than grant this authority exclusively to the Commissioner of Education without any review or opportunity for public comment.

 

Please warn the Senate Education Committee members that the floor amendment to HB 323 proposes a dramatic transformation in how our public schools are governed.

Regional implementation of assessment programs under the exclusive control of the Commissioner of Education is not "local" control, nor is it authorized by the state Legislature.  Our schools are authorized to be governed within the district system.

The House floor amendment was completely unvetted.  The public had no opportunity to provide testimony on this issue. 

Tell the Senate Education Committee to adopt an AUTHENTIC local assessement program, not an untested, Common Core aligned PACE program which requires State approval.

Please protect REPRESENTATIVE governance of public education !

Please protect the voice of parents, teachers, school board members and legislators.

 

Senate Education Committee members:

John Reagan Chairman (R)

john.reagan111@gmail.com

(603)271-4063

Nancy Stiles V Chairman (R)

nancy.stiles@leg.state.nh.us

(603)271-3093

Kevin Avard  (R)

Kevin.Avard@leg.state.nh.us

(603)271-4151

Molly Kelly  (D)

molly.kelly@leg.state.nh.us

(603)271-3207

David Watters(D)

david.watters@leg.state.nh.us

(603)271-8631

 

 

The public was only able to testify on HB 323  AS INTRODUCED  which was far less intrusive.  The sponsors of HB 323 are Ladd(r), Myler(d), Grenier(r) and Gile (d) indicated that it had bipartisan support.

193-C:6 Assessment Required. Each year, a statewide assessment program supported by the local school district or a performance-based assessment designed to yield specific data to use in identifying and improving instruction shall be administered in all school districts in the state in grades 3 through 8 and one grade in high school, or alternatively, in selected grades from 3 through 12. All public school students in the designated grades shall participate in the assessment, unless such student is exempted, or provided that the commissioner of the department of education may, through an agreement with another state when such state and New Hampshire are parties to an interstate agreement, allow pupils to participate in that state’s assessment program as an alternative to the assessment required under this chapter. Home educated students may contact their local school districts if they wish to participate in the statewide assessment. Private schools may contact the department of education to participate in the statewide assessment.

Next was Ladd's COMMITTEE AMENDMENT which included language from HB 218 which had been RETAINED in commitee.  Just a tad bit deceptive!

However, this amendment did not empower the Commissioner of Education nor did it create a Regional Assessment Program.

­1  Statewide Education Improvement and Assessment Program; Assessment Required.  Amend RSA 193-C:6 to read as follows:

      193-C:6  Assessment Required.  Each year, a statewide assessment shall be administered in all school districts in the state in [grades 3 through 8 and one grade in high school] grade spans 3-4, 5-6, 7-8, and 9-12.  Evidence of student achievement submitted to the United States Department of Education and assessment data required in support of the performance base accountability system as provided in RSA 193-E:3-c and RSA 193-E:3-d in conformity with competency-based strategies identified in RSA 193-H:1 shall be collected in grades 4, 6, 8, and 11.  All public school students in the designated [grades] grade within each grade span shall participate in the assessment, unless such student is exempted, or provided that the commissioner of the department of education may, through an agreement with another state when such state and New Hampshire are parties to an interstate agreement, allow pupils to participate in that state’s assessment program as an alternative to the assessment required under this chapter.  Home educated students may contact their local school districts if they wish to participate in the statewide assessment.  Private schools may contact the department of education to participate in the statewide assessment.

      ­2  Statewide Education Improvement and Assessment Program.  Amend RSA 193-C:3, IV(i) to read as follows: [This is language is from HB 218 (sponsors: Ladd(r), Myler(d), Grenier(r)) and that bill was RETAINED in committee]

                  (i)  At the end of grade [3] 4, to determine if pupils are reading at grade level on a standardized reading test to be developed by the department as part of a statewide assessment system.

      ­3  Cost of an Opportunity for an Adequate Education.  Amend RSA 198:40-a, II-a to read as follows:

            II-a.  An additional $675 for each [third]fourth grade pupil in the public school’s ADMA in the determination year who has not tested at the proficient level or above in the reading component of the state assessment and who is not eligible to receive special education, English as a second language, or free or reduced-price meal program funds in the determination year.

 

Finally, Ladd's the FLOOR AMENDMENT which passed the House on a voice vote.  No one had time to vet this bill.  No one realized it was controversial. 

No one knew that it empowered the NH Commissioner of Education to establish a REGIONALLY implemented Common Core aligned PACE program which would to be under the Commissioner's exclusive design and control.

Ladd sold this amendment on the basis that it would reduce the over-testing that our children are currently facing.   Ladd never once said that this would undermine local control by establishing a Regionally implemented Common Core Assessment Program under the control of the Commissioner of Education.

  ­1  Statewide Education Improvement and Assessment Program; Assessment Required.  Amend RSA 193-C:6 to read as follows:

      193-C:6  Assessment Required.  Each year, a statewide assessment program designed to yield specific data to use in identifying and improving instruction and learning shall be administered in all school districts in the state in grades 3 through 8 and one grade in high school.  If approved through a federal education waiver, the New Hampshire department of education shall further develop criteria for an application and approval process that will allow school districts to meet certain readiness criteria to participate in a local model of assessment and accountability.  This process will allow approved districts to implement the statewide assessment only in selected grades as determined by the department and as identified in the New Hampshire Performance Assessment for Competency Education (PACE) pilot.  All public school students in the designated grades shall participate in the assessment, unless such student is exempted, or provided that the commissioner of the department of education may, through an agreement with another state when such state and New Hampshire are parties to an interstate agreement, allow pupils to participate in that state’s assessment program as an alternative to the assessment required under this chapter.  Home educated students may contact their local school districts if they wish to participate in the statewide assessment.  Private schools may contact the department of education to participate in the statewide assessment.  Nothing in this section shall preclude the use of a well established, curriculum-based college readiness examination of academic achievement, such as the College Board SAT as the high school assessment, where approved for federal accountability purposes.

Senate Education Committee Hearing on HB 276, providing that school districts shall not be required to adopt the common core standards

March 31, 2015

Senate Education Committee

HB 276 - An Act providing that school districts shall not be required to adopt the common core standards.

Districts need clarity on Common Core. There is still a lot of confusion whether districts will lose funding if Common Core is not adopted.  Parents had to literally bring a video tape from Alton to Manchester to refute the superintendent’s claim that Manchester would lose $21 million dollars if it didn’t adopt Common Core.  There are many other districts where misconceptions prevails.

State law suggests that districts do not have to adopt state standards, but this needs clarification.

RSA 193-C:1 VI. The purpose of the statewide education improvement and assessment program is not to establish a statewide curriculum. It is, rather, to establish what New Hampshire students should know and be able to do and to develop and implement effective methods for assessing that learning and its application so that local decisions about curriculum development and delivery can be made.

However, HB 276 only confuses the issue, suggesting that the state Board of Education may “formally or informally adopt” standards through rulemaking, yet shall not impose those standards upon districts. 

Amend RSA 186:8, I as inserted by section 1 of the bill by replacing it with the following:

                        I.  Minimum curriculum and educational standards for all grades of the public schools; provided that the state board shall adopt no rule pursuant to RSA 541-A nor shall the state board formally or informally adopt a policy or guideline that requires a school district or any public school to implement or participate in the common core state standards.  If a school board elects not to implement or participate in the common core state standards or any other minimum educational standards adopted by the state board pursuant to RSA 541-A or as adopted through state board policy or guidelines for all grades in public schools, the school board shall adopt and implement standards that meet or exceed those standards.

State law, RSA 193-E:2-a IV, currently requires state standards to be approved by the Legislature

“The general court shall periodically, but not less frequently than every 10 years, review, revise, and update, as necessary, the standards identified in paragraph I and shall ensure that the high quality of the standards is maintained.

“Changes made by the board of education to the school approval standards through rulemaking after the effective date of this section shall not be included within the standards that constitute the opportunity for the delivery of an adequate education without prior adoption by the general court.

“The board of education shall provide written notice to the speaker of the house of representatives, the president of the senate, and the chairs of the house and senate education committees of any changes to the school approval standards adopted pursuant to RSA 541-A.”

Chairman Raffio favors HB 276 because it empowers the state Board of Education.

The state Board claimed to have “adopted” Common Core in 2010 and the Department provided assurances to the US Department of Education that every NH district would adopt Common Core by 2014.  However, neither the Board nor the Department has the authority to take those actions.

The Board of Education proposed Ed 306, “Minimum Standards for Public School Approval,” which uses Common Core but calls it “College and Career Ready” standards.  Ed 306 also includes workforce training and Competency Based Education, which are also part of Common Core.

Unfortunately, Joint Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules (JLCAR) approved the Common Core standards in Ed 306-- over the objections of many parents.

The Legislature twice rejected bills to establish a Commission to develop strategies to implement Competency-Based Education, yet JLCAR approved this same program without investigation or review.

SB 192,  establishing a commission to identify strategies needed for delivering a 21st century education
----5/25/2011                   H               Inexpedient to Legislate: MA RC 273-105

SB 82, establishing a commission to identify strategies needed for developing and implementing a competency-based public education system.

-----5/21/2013                  H               Inexpedient to Legislate: MA VV

The sponsor of the defeated legislation, Sen. Stiles, asked the state Board at its June 2013 meeting to go ahead and implement Competency Based Education, asking the state Board to essentially bypass the will of her colleagues in the House.  That may be how politics works, but this stunt is adversely affecting our children.  Competency Based Education causes anxiety in conscientious students because there is little predictability in subjective evaluations.

The state Board was wrong to propose Competency Based Education standards after it was rejected by the Legislature.  Ed 306 requires districts to implement Competency-Based Education by July 1, 2017.

The proposed NCLB Waiver Renewal includes a Performance Assessment Competency Education or PACE program, which also requires districts to adopt Common Core and Competency Based Education.

PACE is being touted as a program that reduces testing and restores local control. It’s actually afederally funded REGIONAL program underState control, which undermines local control and increases testing.

So while the Legislature is prohibiting the State from requiring Common Core, the Department of Education is focusing on a PACE program to once again require Common Core.

If a local assessment program is genuinely desired, why not re-instate the “local improvement and assessment plan” that was repealed in 2013 in order to gain approval for the first NCLB Flexibility Waiver? SB 48 repealed RSA 193-C:9.

Parents want a voice in their schools.  They want teachersto focus on academics, not workforce training or Common Core programs.  Parents do not want a PACE program that is REGIONALLY implemented without public or legislative reviewMost parents and legislators do not even understand what Competency Based Education let alone how it is being REGIONALLY implemented in our schools. 

Can districts avoid being forced to adopt Common Core and Competency Based Education under the new Waiver? Parents need broad protection. 

There is an early amendment to SB 101, which made certain that both Common Core and Competency Based Education were not required by the State.

Also keep in mind that the preliminary Waiver should not bind the legislature.  Last time it took 9 months to iron out the details for this Waiver. The Department agreed to remove the Next Generation Science Standards from the proposal because it was inappropriate to require standards that had not been adopted by the legislature.  Other changes will be needed.

The legislature must be careful to demand changes that protect local control.

I ask you to oppose HB 276. Help parents and teacher regain their local voice in education. Education works best when teachers are allowed to think in terms of individuals, not federal one-size-fits-all programs.

SB 101 deals with this same issue but clearly states its prohibition: Common Core shall not be required in any school or school district.  It’s simple and direct. 

Parents favor this bill.  There was standing room only for both hearings on SB 101.

RSA 193-E:2-a, IV.(b) The common core state standards developed jointly by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers shall not be required by the department of education or the state board of education to be implemented in any school or in any school district in this state.

RIGHT TO KNOW REQUEST regarding "non-public meetings" of the NH Board of Education

Office of the Deputy Commissioner of Education
Department of Education
101 Pleasant St.
Concord, NH 03301

Dear Attorney McIntyre,

I’m writing to follow up with our conversation yesterday during the March 25, 2015 NH Board of Education meeting.  I do not understand how a meeting of the NH Board of Education, with all members present, even with the presence of Counsel constitutes a “non-meeting” as you claim.

My understanding is that non-public meetings, as such, must still comport with the Right to Know law, RSA 91-A, and be included in the written minutes.

During the March 4, 2015 meeting of the NH Board of Education, Chairman Raffio asked the public to leave the meeting room in order for the Board to go into non-public session.  All members of the Board were present.  Two attorneys were also present and remained in the room with the Board at that time.

The explanation given to the public by Chairman Raffio was that the Board needed to discuss three items which he decided to remove from the Agenda: the No Child Left Behind Flexibility Waiver, the Board’s Legislative Engagement, and the Next Generation Science Standards.

 The justification given to the public was that there were two attorneys present, so therefore it was some how legal.

Why was no motion made to provide the public with the specific reason needed to go into non-public session?

Why did the Chair speak for the entire Board on this matter, without a vote or discussion of any of the members?  

Why wasn’t this non-public session listed in the official Board approved minutes of the March 4, 2015 NH Board of Education meeting?


The Board of Education failed to release its "non-public meeting" minutes from March 4, 2015. This is not lawful.  

Pursuant to N.H. RSA § 91-A:3, III, unless the minutes are sealed for specific reasons as stated in the RSA by a recorded vote of 2/3 of the members, the minutes of non­public sessions "shall be publicly disclosed within 72 hours of the meeting..." .  

These non-public minutes should have been released in their entirety.  There is no basis for redacting or withholding them.

Additionally, it is my understanding that many, if not all, of the "non-public meetings" of the NH Board of Education have not been properly sealed by a 2/3 vote, including the closed door “non-public meeting” that occurred for one-half hour prior to the 9:00 am meeting of March 25, 2015 NH Board of Education.  Holding closed door meetings of the Board prior to its regular monthly meeting has become routine.

Copies of these "non-public meetings" were not properly sealed and noted in the minutes and should be released to the public and properly posted in accordance with the statute.

Therefore, pursuant to the Right-to-Know Law, please provide me with the following:

1.  Please forward a full un-redacted copy of the minutes and any decisions made at the non-public session of March 4, 2015, or, if you claim the minutes were properly sealed, forward  a copy of the recorded vote sealing the minutes made within the 72 hour period allowed by the statute; and

2.  For all "non-public meetings" from June  2010 to present, please forward full un-redacted copies of the minutes and any decisions made each such meeting, or, if you claim the minutes of any such meeting were properly sealed, forward a copy of the recorded vote sealing the minutes made within the 72 hour period allowed by the statute; and

3.  For all "non-public meetings" mentioned in #2 above which were not properly sealed, please immediately comply with your statutory obligation to post the meeting minutes so that they are visible to the public.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.



Best Regards,

Doris Hohensee

NH Families for Education, Chair

 

HB 206 - Requiring Parental Consent for EVERY non-Academic Survey and Questionnaire

HB 206, relative to non-academic surveys or questionnaires given to students, will be voted on by the Senate Education Committee very shortly.

This is the "Parental Consent" amendment that many parents are supporting:

"PARENTAL CONSENT" Amendment to HB 206

Amend RSA 186:11, IX-d as inserted by section 1 of the bill by replacing it with the following:

                        IX-d.  Require school districts to adopt a policy governing the administration of non-academic surveys or questionnaires to students.  The policy shall require school districts to notify a parent or legal guardian of a non-academic survey or questionnaire and its purpose.  The school district shall make such surveys or questionnaires available, at the school and on the school or school district's website, for review by a student's parent or legal guardian at least 10 days prior to distribution to students.  The policy shall also require a parent or legal guardian to provide consent prior to the student’s participation in the non-academic survey or questionnaire either in writing or electronically.  In this paragraph, “non-academic survey or questionnaire” means surveys, questionnaires, or other documents designed to elicit information about a student's social behavior, family life, religion, politics, sexual orientation, sexual activity, drug use, or any other information not related to a student's academics.

 

ACTION NEEDED: Please remind the Senate Education Committee that HB 206 must protect the rights of parents by requiring CONSENT in the same manner that CONSENT is required for each and every school field trip.  There can be no EXCEPTIONS!

It was reported that the non-registered lobbyist from the Department of Health and Human Services, who testified at the public hearing on Tuesday, has been talking to the Senate Education Committee about adding an amendment to HB 206 in order to EXEMPT his department's "NH Youth Risk Behavior Survey" from the restrictions of this bill.

 

There can be NO EXCEPTION for "NH Youth Risk Behavior Survey" any more than there can be an EXCEPTION for "special" field trips, for instance, to the NH Statehouse. 

The same liability is involved in each and every instance and, as such, requires Parental CONSENT for each and every NON-ACADEMIC SURVEY or QUESTIONNAIRE.

REMEMBER: There is NO loss of funds to the district should parents opt out their child from these surveys or questionnaires. There is only a loss of funds if the district decides against taking the grant money and against administering the survey or questionnaire.

Parents have the right to protect their children while attending public schools. 

Be respectful, but politely tell your state Senator that HB 206 must be amended to protect PARENTAL CONSENT.

 

David Watters (d)       Dover
(603)271-8631
david.watters@leg.state.nh.us

Molly Kelly (d)            Keene
(603)271-3207
molly.kelly@leg.state.nh.us

Kevin Avard (r)         Nashua
(603)271-4151
Kevin.Avard@.leg.state.nh.us

John Reagan (r)       Deerfield
(603)271-4063
john.reagan111@gmail.com

Nancy Stiles (r)             Hampton
(603)271-3093
nancy.stiles@leg.state.nh.us

Be sociable, share!

STOP Regionalization of NH Public Education: Kill Senate Bill 190

 

REGIONAL NETWORKS operating under their state Departments of Education is the  governance structure, which the federal government favors to replace the traditional decentralized and independent SCHOOL DISTRICT

See article below on 'Education Innovation Clusters' Aim to Improve Schools REGIONAL NETWORKS emerging across U.S.

Consider this bill to expand vocational tech training into REGIONAL programs under the NH Department of Education:

ACTION NEEDED: CONTACT YOUR STATE SENATORS TODAY !

Please tell them to VOTE AGAINST REGIONALIZATION in Senate Bill 190

The NH Senate VOTES tomorrow, Thursday, March 26th at 10 am on Senate Bill 190:


SB 190 relative to payment of costs for REGIONAL career and technical education center programs and administration by the DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, and establishing a tax credit against business profits taxes for donations to such centers.
 

This bill expands the size and scope of career and technical education programs administered by the Department of Education.

  • Regional education programs operating directly under the Department of Education undermine the well established NH principle that education is better controlled locally by parents and taxpayers.

  • Instead of creating or expanding state level programs, the state should allow local districts to more freely work with each other, with private businesses and organizations, and iwth a range of education providers, to make the choices that best fit the needs of local students and taxpayers.

Please warn your state Senators that SB 190 is a dramatic shift in how our public education system is currently governed.

Please help protect REPRESENTATIVE local governance of public education !

Be respectful, but politely tell your state Senator that Regional governance of public education is unacceptable!

 

Jeff Woodburn (d)      Dalton
(603)271-3207
Jeff.Woodburn@leg.state.nh.us

Jeanie Forrester (r)     Meredith
(603)271-4980
jeanie.forrester@leg.state.nh.us

Jeb Bradley (r)           Wolfeboro
(603)271-2106
jeb.bradley@leg.state.nh.us

David Watters (d)       Dover
(603)271-8631
david.watters@leg.state.nh.us

David Pierce (d)          Etna
(603)271-3067
david.pierce@leg.state.nh.us

Sam Cataldo (r)          Farmington
(603)271-4063
sam.cataldo@leg.state.nh.us

Andrew Hosmer (d)     Laconia
(603)271-8631
andrew.hosmer@leg.state.nh.us

Gerald Little (r)         Weare
(603)271-4151
Jerry.Little@leg.state.nh.us

Andy Sanborn (r)       Bedford
(603)271-2609
andy.sanborn@leg.state.nh.us

Molly Kelly (d)            Keene
(603)271-3207
molly.kelly@leg.state.nh.us

Gary Daniels (r)         Milford
(603)271-2609
Gary.Daniels@leg.state.nh.us

Kevin Avard (r)         Nashua
(603)271-4151
Kevin.Avard@.leg.state.nh.us

Bette Lasky (d)         Nashua
(603)271-3091
bette.lasky@leg.state.nh.us

Sharon Carson (r)    Londonderry
(603)271-1403
sharon.carson@leg.state.nh.us

Dan Feltes (d)           Concord
(603)271-3067
Dan.Feltes@leg.state.nh.us

David Boutin (r)      Hooksett / Manchester
(603)271-3092
dboutin1465@comcast.net

John Reagan (r)       Deerfield
(603)271-4063
john.reagan111@gmail.com

Donna Soucy (d)      Manchester
(603)271-3207
donna.soucy@leg.state.nh.us

Regina Birdsell (r)     Hampstead / Windham
(603)271-4151
Regina.Birdsell@.leg.state.nh.us

Lou D'Allesandro (d)   Manchester
(603)271-2117
dalas@leg.state.nh.us

Martha Fuller Clark (d)   Portsmouth
(603)271-3076
martha.fullerclark@leg.state.nh.us

Chuck Morse (r)            Salem
(603)271-8472
chuck.morse@leg.state.nh.us

Russell Prescott (r)       Kingston
(603)271-3074
represcott@represcott.com

Nancy Stiles (r)             Hampton
(603)271-3093
nancy.stiles@leg.state.nh.us

Be sociable, share!

 

 

'Education Innovation Clusters' Aim to Improve Schools
REGIONAL NETWORKS emerging across U.S.
By Michele Molnar



"Education innovation clusters"—regional partnerships among school districts, research organizations, private companies, and other groups to improve schools—are evolving in cities and regions around the world, but so far their work has been mostly insular, seldom shared beyond a local geography.

But that parochial approach for sharing lessons learned is changing, fueled by a rising demand for knowledge about what is and is not working to improve schools, especially around digital teaching and learning. Although cluster designs vary, they are largely focused on identifying breakthroughs in learning technologies, use of research on learning, and the development and acceleration of new educational tools and approaches, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

To help coordinate and accelerate the growth of education innovation clusters, Washington-based Digital Promise, an ed-tech advocacy group, announced this month that it is designing a network that will share lessons learned in these hubs with schools in the United States and abroad.

Map: Tracking Education Innovation Partnerships

"The idea is to amplify and coordinate the activities of different entities with the eye to come up with better tools, better policies, and better practices," said Steven Hodas, a practitioner-in-residence at the Center on Reinventing Public Education at the University of Washington. He was hired by Digital Promise to lead a study on the impact of education innovation clusters.
 
Pooling Assets

An education innovation cluster, Mr. Hodas said, is an approach that people in a city or region can use to pool talents, perspectives, and assets to tackle challenges that are facing schools, and usually features one organizing entity such as a school district or university working with partners to provide support and services to schools. They often start informally and evolve into more structured efforts over time. In addition to the 14 U.S.-based clusters, five other countries have active educational innovation hubs.

Clusters tend to differ based on the needs of schools in a given area and the organizations that support them. Usually, a cluster includes researchers, ed-tech companies, universities, investors, developers, and foundations or nonprofits. They can originate with a clear ed-tech focus, as has happened in Boston with LearnLaunch and Baltimore with EdTech Maryland. Another place they can start is in universities' graduate schools of education, such as the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Virginia.

Or, school districts can be the organizing force, as occurred in the New York City schools with the iZone, and is now happening in Nashville, Tenn., where the school district is working with Alignment Nashville, which has built a framework for developing community schools.

"It's not necessary for the district to be the convener for teachers, schools, and students to benefit," Mr. Hodas said. But when a district is the convener, he said it adds "political capital," because it signals from top leadership that addressing the district's challenges in innovative ways is a high priority.

"The point of all this is to help school leaders make better decisions about the tools they're bringing into classrooms," said Katrina Stevens, the senior advisor for educational technology at the Education Department, who will be working with Mr. Hodas as he studies the clusters.
Promising Ideas in Pa.

Last August, Digital Promise convened the 14 U.S.-based clusters for a meeting in Pittsburgh, which is considered home to one of the most mature innovation hubs, said Sara A. Schapiro, the director of Digital Promise's League of Innovative Schools, a national coalition of 57 districts. Pittsburgh's cluster includes about 200 organizations coordinated by the Sprout Fund, a nonprofit that has invested about $1.3 million in 100 innovative learning projects and programs since 2009.

"The best clusters we've seen are where all the community partners are working together to support the teaching and learning that's happening in districts," said Ms. Schapiro.

Cathy Lewis Long, the Sprout Fund's founding executive director, said more than 50 Pennsylvania school districts take part in the cluster's activities.

"A lot of people said, 'What's happening? What's in the water there?'" joked Ms. Long. "There's been so much transformation in the area's school systems."

Two of the districts—the rural South Fayette Township schools in McDonald, and the suburban Elizabeth Forward schools in Allegheny County—have become widely known for trying innovations within the cluster and sharing their findings with districts nearby and across the United States and around the world.

For instance, a building for grades 3-5 that recently opened in the 3,000-student South Fayette district has been specifically designed with curriculum innovation in mind—a first floor features an environmental curriculum focus for 3rd graders, a second floor highlights earth and space for 4th graders, and a third floor has a dedicated robotics area for 5th graders, said Bille Pearce Rondinelli, the superintendent of the South Fayette schools. That's just one way this rural community is helping its students develop skills that will prepare them for college and careers.

To Bart Rocco, the superintendent of the 2,700-student Elizabeth Forward schools since 2009, innovation became an imperative when he realized students needed to be engaged in learning in different ways. "We were losing some kids as dropouts, and losing others that enrolled in cyber charters," he said.

A grant to establish a "gaming academy" with help from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh was the beginning of the quest to move the use of technology to a higher level in schools. Elizabeth Forward agreed to pilot programs, such as eSpark's iPad app, which school officials say helped boost scores for kindergartners, and 1st and 2nd grade special education/Title I students, an average of 25 percentile points in reading and math after a semester. The district also redesigned the high school media center to feature recording studios, performance spaces, mobile devices, and a coffee shop.

"We wanted to create an environment to make school 'cool' again," said Mr. Rocco, "and provide a structure where [students] could think about their future."
Speeding Up Development

Richard Culatta, the director of the office of education technology at the federal Education Department, said improving lesson sharing among clusters can help scale "what works" much faster. "If you're building a tool or an app and your whole team is three people, and you're doing this on the side while you're teaching or whatever, the idea of running a three-year randomized controlled study doesn't make sense," he said. "We need to show how that can be accelerated."

Ms. Stevens added that having a connected-cluster structure could be instrumental in developing a methodology so experimental trials could be conducted in different parts of the country, providing "data that has some rigor to it, so the information will be meaningful."

Companies that work with clusters might find it easier to try out their products with participating schools, but Mr. Hodas cautioned that "it would be a mistake for a company to look at this just as an opportunity to pilot.

"For all these participants, the question they need to ask is not just, 'What can I get out of it?,' but also, 'What can I learn?,' " Mr. Hodas said.

Ms. Schapiro said an eventual outcome of Mr. Hodas' research will be the creation of a "playbook" that will explain the workings of clusters, and another convening of all the clusters and interested parties.

"We don't want to be prescriptive, that it has to be this type of community partner that's coordinating a cluster," she said. What is important is that "a school district remains at the center of what they're doing, and that all activities center on driving teaching and learning."

Deciding how to measure outcomes will be one of the goals of Mr. Hodas' research.

"Right now, there's not a lot of systematic ways of thinking about outcomes" in an education innovation cluster, he said. Identifying a cluster's primary goals is a first step in that work, and it will help formalize what gets measured.

Ultimately, the clusters could have widespread impact, though. While the greatest benefits accrue to those who participate in the cluster, when the information is shared through a network of interested parties—like the Education Department or the League of Innovative Schools—"any school can benefit," Ms. Schapiro said.

Coverage of trends in K-12 innovation and efforts to put these new ideas and approaches into practice in schools, districts, and classrooms is supported in part by a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York at www.carnegie.org.

Education Week retains sole editorial control over the content of this coverage.
 

Why Parents Should OPPOSE NH Commissioner of Education's 2015 NCLB Waiver Proposal

The NH Commissioner of Education, Virginia Barry, is proposing a new No Child Left Behind Wavier Renewal.  It will be submitted on March 31st, yet Barry only revealed this Waiver to the Legislature and the public on March 16th.

Why wasn't it released earlier so the Legislature could discuss and debate the details?

Why wasn't a public hearing scheduled so parents could have a voice in what will happen in their public schools?

What is proposed in this Waiver that should concern parents even further than the lack of transparency for the development process?

Parents can refuse to allow their child to participate in the end-of-the-year statewide assessment, Smarter Balanced.  In fact, 54% of Manchester's Memorial High School students scheduled to take the Smarter Balanced assessments .... refused this assessment.

Under the 2015 NCLB Waiver Renewal, parents will no longer be able to refuse these Common Core aligned assessments. 

A new program, called Performance Assessment Competency Education (PACE) will replace some of these statewide assessments with weekly PACE assessments. This program is also aligned to the Common Core.

The Smarter Balanced weren't even fully implemented and the State no longer believes it will be an effective assessment tool?   Why does the Commissioner favor this new PACE program as opposed to the old Smarter Balanced assessments that districts spent millions of dollars preparing for this year? 

Parents won't be able to refuse 30 weekly PACE assessments that are interwoven into the classroom routine.  Parents can refuse a single end-of-the-year Smarter Balanced assessment, but they won't be able to refuse the PACE assessments because a student can't graduate without "demonstrating proficiency" on each and every "State GRADUATION Competency" in the PACE program.

Why is this provision, regarding State Graduation Competencies, included without Legislative approval? 

How much will this program downshift to our districts when students don't graduate from one grade to the next based upon "competencies"?

How much will this program downshift to our districts in terms of professional development and new classroom materials?

Included in this program are the Next Generation Science Standards, which are essentially Common Core standards with a less controversial title.  There was no public hearing or debate on these Next Generation Science Standards.  Why was that?  Who is the Department hiding from?  Parents?

How can the State adopt these Science standards into the PACE program without Legislative Approval?

The previous No Child Left Behind Waiver ushered in Common Core, Smarter Balanced, and many other untested reforms. But it only lasted for two years

This Waiver Renewal will last for four years, locking our students into new unproven assessment programs.

This Common Core aligned PACE program is being promoted by the Department of Education as a way to"restore Local Control."

Local Control?  How is it Local Control when the Department must "approve" which district is allowed into the PACE program and the Department must "approve" the "locally" designed  assessments which are created under this program with "Regional" assistance?  Even the scoring of the assessments requires Regional scoring.

And what is Competency Based Education? Why hasn't the NH Legislature ever debated and voted on Competency Based Education?

Does the Department rule over the people and their elected representatives in the Legislature as well as our locally elected School Boards?

 

 

 

House Education Committee Votes on SB 101 --> Bill to Prohibit the State from Requiring Districts to Adopt Common Core

On Tuesday, March 31st at 1:00 pm the House Education Committee votes on Senate Bill 101, prohibiting the state from requiring districts to adopt Common Core.

ACTION NEEDED: Parents need to email or call Committee members asking for their SUPPORT of this bill.  (Contact information below.)

 

SB 101 -- An Act prohibiting the state from requiring implementation of common core standards. 

SB 101 – AS INTRODUCED

 

RSA 193-E:2-a, IV.(b) The common core state standards developed jointly by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers shall not be required by the department of education or the state board of education to be implemented in any school or school district in this state.

 

The bill is places a clear prohibition against the State requiring school districts to adopt Common Core. 

There have been two public hearings on this bill which have been packed, standing room only, with parents in support of the bill.  At the most recent House hearing, 13  people spoke in favor of SB 101, while 9 spoke against the bill.

 

The problem is the House Education Committee Chairman Rick Ladd wants the legislature to focus on a single Common Core bill, and there are currently two bills before the legislature.

The second bill also prohibits the State from requiring that districts adopt Common Core.  And this bill, HB 276, was introduced by Chairman Ladd.

One public hearing has been held which brought very little public support.  The hearing on HB 276 was moved to a larger room with the expectation that many parents would testify given the overwhelming support for SB 101 two weeks earlier.  Only 4 people testified in favor of the concept but in opposition to the language in the bill.  3 people spoke in opposition to HB 276.

Tom Raffio and Bill Duncan, members of the State Board of Education, spoke in opposition to HB 276, but later changed their minds realizing  HB 276 actually empowers the Board of Education.

HB 276 -- An Act providing that school districts shall not be required to adopt common core standards.

HB 276 -- AS AMENDED

RSA 186:8, I as inserted by section 1 of the bill by replacing it with the following:

            I.  Minimum curriculum and educational standards for all grades of the public schools; provided that the state board shall adopt no rule pursuant to RSA 541-A nor shall the state board formally or informally adopt a policy or guideline that requires a school district or any public school to implement or participate in the common core state standards.  If a school board elects not to implement or participate in the common core state standards or any other minimum educational standards adopted by the state board pursuant to RSA 541-A or as adopted through state board policy or guidelines for all grades in public schools, the school board shall adopt and implement standards that meet or exceed those standards.

 

HB 276 is dangerous.   It grants the State Board of Education authority to "adopt" State standards.  

Currently only the State Legislature may adopt standards throught its adoption of rules approved by the Joint Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules. Ed 306 "Minimum Standards for Public School Approval" contain the NH State standards.

State Board of Education Chairman Raffo understands this difference between these two bills.   He now favors HB 276 and opposes SB 101.

Raffio favors a grant of power to the State Board of Education to "adopt" State standards.  The NH School Boards Association lobbyists also supported HB 276 over SB 101.  

Senate Bill 101 places into state law a prohibition that the State may not require districts to implement Common Core.  It's clear and concise.

House Bill 276 grants the State Board of Education the authority to "adopt"  standards so long as they don't mandate those standards directly upon districts. 

If parents want to protect local control, they need to support SB 101, not HB 276 which expands the authority of the State Board of Education. 

Please make sure that every member of the House Education Committee votes in favor of SB 101.

 

Email the entire House Education Committee members with this single email address:

HouseEducationCommittee@leg.state.nh.us

Or contact House Education Members individually with your support for this bill:

House Education Committee Members: Email Committee Members
Chairman: Rick Ladd(r) Bills Currently in Committee
V. Chairman: John Balcom(r) Bills Originally Referred to Committee
Clerk: Barbara Shaw(d) Mailing list of Committee Members
 
 
 
Ralph Boehm (r) Glenn Cordelli (r) James Grenier (r)
Robert Elliott (r) Christopher Adams (r) Allen Cook (r)
Josh Moore (r) Jason Osborne (r) Victoria Sullivan (r)
Terry Wolf (r) Mary Gile (d) Mary Gorman (d)
June Frazer (d) Andrew Schmidt (d) Mel Myler (d)
Deanna Rollo (d) Mary Heath (d) James Verschueren (d)

 

 

HB 276 - AS AMENDED

Amend RSA 186:8, I as inserted by section 1 of the bill by replacing it with the following:

            I.  Minimum curriculum and educational standards for all grades of the public schools; provided that the state board shall adopt no rule pursuant to RSA 541-A nor shall the state board formally or informally adopt a policy or guideline that requires a school district or any public school to implement or participate in the common core state standards.  If a school board elects not to implement or participate in the common core state standards or any other minimum educational standards adopted by the state board pursuant to RSA 541-A or as adopted through state board policy or guidelines for all grades in public schools, the school board shall adopt and implement standards that meet or exceed those standards.

 

SB 101 – AS INTRODUCED

1 Substantive Educational Content of an Adequate Education. Amend RSA 193-E:2-a, IV to read as follows:

IV.(b) The common core state standards developed jointly by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers shall not be required by the department of education or the state board of education to be implemented in any school or school district in this state.

This Week's Education Bills

On Tuesday, April 14th the following bills will have public hearings in the Legislative Office Building (LOB), Room 103 in Concord, NH.

If you can't attend and testify in person, you can call or email the committee members listed below.  

Please support these two important bills:

Ask the SENATE EDUCATION COMMITTEE  to Support the following bill:

HB 323 - relative to the administration of the statewide assessment program. SUPPORT only if amended to recognize LOCAL assessment programs; OPPOSE the bill as written.

HB 603 - relative to student exemptions from the statewide assessment. SUPPORT the Right of Parents to REFUSE statewide assessments that are problematic.

 


 

Senate Education Committee members:

 

John Reagan Chairman (R)

john.reagan111@gmail.com

(603)271-4063

Nancy Stiles V Chairman (R)

nancy.stiles@leg.state.nh.us

(603)271-3093

Kevin Avard  (R)

Kevin.Avard@leg.state.nh.us

(603)271-4151

Molly Kelly  (D)

molly.kelly@leg.state.nh.us

(603)271-3207

David Watters(D)

david.watters@leg.state.nh.us

(603)271-8631

LETTER: Teachers Forced into Implementing Common Core "by simply changing the name" and Collecting Student Data

To: Oklahoma City Public Schools Board of Education

From: Juli Sylvan, Math Teacher, Classen SAS

Date: March 5, 2015

 

Dear Board Member,

I am writing to make you aware of my concerns about issues that I, other teachers, and a growing number of parents have. Those issues are Common Core and its’ various components, the Teacher Leadership Effectiveness (TLE ), and data mining through testing and other instruments.

As you know, the Oklahoma Legislature passed HB 3399 in 2014 which repealed the use of Common Core components. In spite of this there are some who are blatantly defying this directive. I have been in meetings, as have many other teachers, in which it has been stated that Common Core will be implemented even if by simply changing the name.

Common Core is based on the false assumption that schools are failing. This is simply not true. Evidence continues to mount that testing has been manipulated resulting in a false picture and perception. Common Core is not simply a new method of teaching. It is a complete takeover of WHAT is taught in the public school system. It takes away the individuals freedom and joy of learning because of the one size fits all approach. All students don’t learn or express themselves in the same way. Common Core tends to do away with individualism – which is one of the attributes that makes America great. Diversity is one of our greatest resources, but Common Core erodes this great strength by taking parents, teachers, and elected officials out of the decision making process.

Teacher Leadership Effectiveness (TLE) is the instrument to force compliance and implementation of Common Core and its components. The Aspen Institute and CCSSO official document "Teaching To The Core: Integrating Implementation of Common Core and Teacher Effectiveness Policies", is a manifesto describing how TLE will be used to force implementation of Common Core. Professional Learning Communities (PLC), Professional Development (PD) are used to implement Common Core. Clearly, documents indicate, such as IES (research arm of the U.S. Department of Education), "State Requirements For Teacher Evaluation Policies Promoted By Race To The Top", April 2014 indicates, the new teacher evaluations are not about getting rid of ineffective teachers but to force all teachers and educational personnel to accept Common Core or be fired.

It would be reasonable to expect testing to include students' test scores and perhaps other measures of academic proficiency. Testing has its place but it must be developmentally appropriate and secure. It can be a useful tool to gage a student’s skills, growth and weaknesses. It should be confidential and for the benefit of parents, teachers, and students.

Unfortunately, testing is now being used to gather personal data about the student and/or the student’s family. Tests are collecting information far more extensive and invasive than merely tracking academic performance. The Department of Education’s February 2013 report.  Promoting Grit, Tenacity, and Perseverance: Critical Factors for Success in the 21st Century , and the National Center for Education Statistics technical brief entitled, "Guidance for Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDS), are two of many documents that show the implementation of data collection of "Personally Identifiable Information" and "Sensitive Information".  Surprisingly the "Sensitive Information" being extracted is information such as:

1. Political affiliations or beliefs of the student or parent;

2. Mental and psychological problems of the student or the student’s family;

3. Sex behavior or attitudes;

4. Illegal, anti-social, self-incriminating, and demeaning behavior;

5. Critical appraisals of other individuals with whom respondents have close family relationships;

6. Legally recognized privileged or analogous relationships, such as those of lawyers, physicians, and ministers;

7. Religious practices, affiliations, or beliefs of the student or the student’s parent; or

8. Income (other than that required by law to determine eligibility for participation in a program or for receiving financial assistance under such program). 

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act requires that the data systems have the capacity to link preschool, K-12, postsecondary education, workforce, and other state agencies and community partners (e.g., child welfare, juvenile justice, and criminal justice agencies).  This data is being used to track and put students on a path that may be detrimental to what they and their parents desire.

The fact that past federal government acts such as No Child Left Behind and Race To The Top, require children’s and parent’s personal and sensitive information be collected, stored, and then will be sold and shared to unspecified companies and entities is of great concern to parents and teachers.

Oklahoma state law requires that parents be notified and given the opportunity to Opt Out of data collection instruments. HB 1384, effective November 1, 2014, provides "The Parents’ Bill of Rights" and requirements of school boards to inform and notify parents of their rights. Section 2003 of Title 25 reads in part;

HB 1384: Oklahoma Parents’ Bill of Rights

The ACT says...... Section 3 A7q

A. The board of education of a school district, in consultation with parents, teachers and administrators, shall develop and adopt a policy to promote the involvement of parents and guardians of children enrolled in the schools within the school district, including:

7. Procedures by which parents may learn about parental rights and responsibilities under the laws of this state, including the following:

q. the right to opt out of any data collection instrument at the district level that would capture data for inclusion in the state longitudinal student data system except what is necessary and essential for establishing a student's public school record.

Furthermore, Title 25 & 70 of the Oklahoma Statutes further enumerates parent’s rights.

I have been teaching for over 22 years. I also have a BS in Civil Engineering. I have been evaluated many times over the years and have always been given the highest assessments. All of my evaluations clearly indicate that I am instructionally effective. But now, I am being singled out for refusing to do what Oklahoma Law prohibits.

I believe the problems we have in education stem from the takeover of education by the federal government. We in Oklahoma do not need to be told how to educate our children. We are capable of determining that for ourselves. I cannot promote a system that violates the law and the rights of students and their parents. Children’s and parent’s personal information is being mined through testing and surveys preparing them as human capital for the 21st century workforce for stockholders and "stakeholders".

Lily Williams, a Chinese immigrant grew up in communist China’s Cultural Revolution. She was an assistant law professor in China and came to America to pursue freedom. She states – "The first step of Communism is to take away your parental control of your children and indoctrinate them. If they control education and your children, they control the country’s future." "I am worried that Common Core will be used by government and corporations for data mining of our children."

She says there are things about Common Core that remind her of growing up in China. "That’s what we had in China…every child will have a file, actually every citizen in China has a so-called ‘personnel file.’ And this ‘personnel file’ will document everything. When you are in school, they document your family political class, your gender, your age, your home address, your grades, you behaviors, political correctness. So everything is in that file."

Williams speaks to one of the criticisms that teachers, students, and parents have about the high stakes testing. She says that "high school kids are even more miserable because of the pressure to perform — the pressure to pass college exams, which is the once a year nationalized exam for three days. And if you screw up one time, it’s like your life is done. You have to come back next year to retake the exam. That’s the only way you can go to college. "Some kids even commit suicide either before the test or after the test because the pressure is so big," Williams says. "So why do we want to become like China? Those kids have a low life. Those kids are miserable. It’s all about training them to be test-takers, test machines, not critical thinkers."

"Even though politics is a part of Chinese education, it eliminates its own history, like Mao’s mass starvation or Tiananmen Square, so the children don’t know what really happened in history."

"So, why do we want to be like China?" Williams asks. "Do not think test scores matter [like] it’s everything," she adds, "That kind of system actually suppresses free minds. It kills innovation, it kills the joys of learning." Williams goes on to say teachers become test-givers and children become robots.

"They are taught to conform, to follow," Williams says of students. "They are not going to challenge authority when they grow up." She concludes with this question: "Is that what we want for America? If we really want this country to remain to be land of the free, home of the brave," Williams says, "then we need to stop Common Core."

I am very sad we are allowing this to happen to our schools and our country. I pray that we will end this nonsense and return to the principle that made American great. Because of this I feel I must resign from a job that I have passionately pursued and must leave students that have been my life’s work.

Juli Sylvan

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Juli Sylvan has emailed me a pdf of her letter if you would like a copy send me an email: lindalearn1@yahoo.com

Juli is willing to talk to the media or groups of parents and teachers.  She has documents to back up what she is saying and her experience in Oklahoma City Public Schools.  Contact me by the email above to schedule time with Juli. -Linda Murphy Oklahoma Educator

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