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Granite State Rumblings: Budget Agreement Ups And Down – We Must End The Sequester

Congress West Front Last week Congress passed a budget proposal that locks in funding for the next two years.

It also did several other important things:

In addition to providing more funding that can be used for children’s programs by significantly curtailing for the next two years the “sequester” cuts, that were enacted in 2013, the agreement prevents a 20% cut in disability benefits that some children receive, and it protects the program for the next several years.

Additionally, this agreement ends the threat of government shutdowns and defaulting on the federal government’s debt for the next two years.

These events would have damaged the American economy and threatened jobs.

To see what else the deal entails click here.

On Monday morning President Obama signed the agreement. Here are his remarks:

Remarks by the President at Signing of the Budget Act of 2015

Oval Office

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, last week, Democrats and Republicans came together to set up a responsible, long-term budget process, and what we now see is a budget that reflects our values, that grows our economy, creates jobs, keeps America safe.

It’s going to strengthen the middle class by investing in critical areas like education and job training and basic research.  It keeps us safe by investing in our national security and making sure that our troops get what they need in order to keep us safe and perform all the outstanding duties that they do around the world.  It protects our seniors by avoiding harmful cuts to Medicare and Social Security.  And it’s paid for in a responsible, balanced way — in part, for example, by making sure that large hedge funds and private equity firms pay what they owe in taxes just like everybody else.

And by locking in two years of funding, it should finally free us from the cycle of shutdown threats and last-minute fixes. It allows us to, therefore, plan for the future.

So I very much appreciate the work that the Democratic and Republican leaders did to get this to my desk.  I think it is a signal of how Washington should work.  And my hope is now that they build on this agreement with spending bills that also invest in America’s priorities without getting sidetracked by a whole bunch of ideological issues that have nothing to do with our budget.

So this is just the first step between now and the middle of December, before the Christmas break.  The appropriators are going to have to do their job; they’re going to have to come up with spending bills.  But this provides them the guidepost and the baseline with which to do that.  And I’m confident that they can get it done on time.  And there’s no better Christmas present for the American people because this will allow the kind of stability and will allow the economy to grow.  At a time when you’ve got great weakness in economies around the world, this puts us on a responsible path and it makes sure that the American people are the beneficiaries.

So I very much appreciate the work.  Let’s keep it going.  With that I’m going to sign it.

(The bill is signed.)

And I want to thank, in particular, the staffs of both Democratic and Republican leaders in both the House and the Senate because they worked overtime to get this done.  I want to thank my own staff — in particular, Katie Fallon and Brian Deese, who are standing in the back.  They gave up a bunch of lost weekends to make this happen, but they did an outstanding job.  And we’re very proud of them.

Thank you very much, everybody.

While the Every Child Matters Education Fund believes that the federal government needs a comprehensive approach, with significant new resources, to address the 16 million children and youth living in poverty who lack a fair shot at success in life, we support this budget agreement and are pleased that the President has signed it.

This agreement is good step in the right direction toward limiting the harmful effects of the sequester cuts. In recent years budget cuts have put enormous pressure on programs that support children and families. According to experts, overall domestic funding is set to force investments in domestic programs to historic lows over the next few years as a percentage of the economy. Yet while this budget deal will not undo these cuts, the deal eliminates 90 percent of the harmful sequester cuts that would have taken effect in fiscal year 2016 and 60 percent of the cuts that would have taken effect in fiscal year 2017 without action.

We asked you to write, e-mail, and call your Members of Congress with the message that the harmful sequester cuts must end. Your actions helped to convince them to vote for this budget agreement.

Budget Act of 2015 votes:

NH – Senator Ayotte, Senator Shaheen, Congresswoman Kuster – AYE

NH — Congressman Guinta – NAY

ME – Senator Collins, Senator King, Congresswoman Pingree,

ME — Congressman Poliquin – AYE

Thank you for taking action!

But our work is not finished.

As our friends at the Coalition on Human Needs point out:

Appropriators in Congress will now begin to divvy up these new top-line dollar figures for the different departments in the federal government and draft legislation that must pass by December 11 when the current government funding runs out. There will be many challenges along the way – both in terms of making sure the money we’ve all fought so hard for goes to the programs that need it, and that no ideological policy changes (known as riders) harm human needs programs or stop the legislation in its tracks and cause a government shutdown.

Advocates across the country need to continue to weigh in with their members of Congress to ensure that we cross the finish line with a funding package that does the most it can to meet the needs of human needs programs and our neighbors they serve.

We will keep you updated as the appropriations process moves forward.


The excerpt below is from the Introduction of a new report from the Center for American Progress by Danielle Ewen and LeighAnn M. Smith.

Fostering School Success with Standards for Nonacademic Skills

When we look at a newborn, we rarely think about the child’s potential for success and skills development for college and career readiness. Instead, we are awed by the baby’s mere existence: her strong grip; her smile; how her eyes track loved ones; how each cry communicates a need to be met. We now know that each of these moments is also an opportunity for the child’s brain to grow; to make new social, emotional, and cognitive connections; and to form important neurological pathways.

As children move from infancy to toddlerhood and into preschool, their brains continue to grow and change. Parents, caregivers, and other trusted adults provide input that helps children master the basic skills they will need in order to climb slide ladders, hold pencils to spell their names, excitedly tell the story of their day, and understand when they are asked to put their toys away.

As children move into kindergarten and first and second grades, they begin to build on these earliest social, emotional, physical, and academic skills. They learn to read and do math; to play with their friends; and to follow rules in the classroom and on the playground. Each new milestone sets these children on the path to college and career readiness.

New evidence highlights the importance of social and emotional skills alongside academic skills for success in school and beyond. Academic skills—including basic literacy and math skills—are well defined and include skills such as learning the alphabet and counting. Social and emotional skills, meanwhile, include sharing, self-control, and building relationships with peers and adults. Yet, when states look to align early learning standards with those for K-12, social and emotional skills are often left out of the standards for children in elementary, middle, and high school—even as new research highlights the importance of these skills throughout elementary school and beyond.

This report explores the reasons for including social and emotional learning in early education standards, as well as detail about the five domains of learning—cognition, approaches to learning, social and emotional development, physical development, and language development—and how several states have incorporated them into their learning standards. By using these examples as guidelines for their own educational standards, other states can align early learning guidelines with standards for K-12 in order to support academic and social-emotional skills for all children.

The Campaign for a Family Friendly Economy is hosting viewing parties for the broadcast premier of Raising NH this Thursday, November 5th.

Can you come?

WHAT: “Raising New Hampshire” watch parties
WHEN: This coming Thursday night, Nov 5th at 8pm
WHERE: Concord, Manchester, Wolfeboro, Salem, and more.

This fascinating new special produced by NH Public Television and the Endowment for Health delves into the ways New Hampshire’s kids and parents are impacted by the early education system – what’s working, what’s not, and how it can be fixed.

It’s a must-see for anyone who cares about the next generation of Granite Staters.  And the discussion is going to be great.

RSVP to join us for a free screening near you right now.

There are watch parties confirmed in Concord, Manchester, Salem and Wolfeboro– and we’re adding more every day. Be sure to invite your friends and family to come along.

See the screening locations and sign up for a watch party today.

Granite State Rumblings: Strong Bi-Partisan Support For Early Childhood Education Programs

The Presidential candidates are roaming the hills, to the valleys, to the seacoast of New Hampshire. They are being asked a lot of questions on their stances on everything from Social Security and Medicare to climate change. But the one issue that I seldom hear asked of them on the campaign trail is their stance on early childhood education.

And yet, a new bipartisan poll released last week by the First Five Years Fund finds that 76 percent of voters express support for a proposal that would provide 10 billion federal dollars per year for 10 years in state grants to provide low- and middle-income four-year-olds with access to high quality pre-K programs.

As Aaron Lowenberg writes for New America EdCentral, “At a time when partisan polarization seems to have reached a fever pitch, what’s surprising about the poll results is just how bipartisan the support for investment in early education seems to be. The 76 percent of poll respondents who express support for increased federal investment in early childhood education include 59 percent of Republicans, 69 percent of Independents, and 94 percent of Democrats. Majorities of every partisan persuasion also express support for making early education and child care more affordable, helping states and local communities build better pre-K services, improving early learning programs for infants and toddlers, and providing home visiting and parent education programs to first-time parents.”

He goes on to write:

More than two-thirds of voters express the belief that children currently enter kindergarten lacking the skills and knowledge needed for success. And despite the current climate of fiscal austerity, 74 percent of poll respondents express support for increased early childhood investment even if it increases the deficit in the short-term but pays for itself in the long-term. Multiple studies have shown that this is completely plausible because the return on investment for early childhood education is so high: the programs pay for themselves in the long run by improving children’s education, health, and economic situations so that less government spending is needed later.

A few other findings stand out from the poll results that should grab the attention of candidates running for public office. Fifty-four percent of voters report that they would feel more favorable towards a candidate who supports increased federal investment in early childhood education as opposed to only six percent of voters who would think less favorably of a candidate who supports such investment. Finally, a majority of the most critical swing voter groups report feeling more favorable towards candidates who back increased investment in early education, including Hispanics, Millennials, moderates, and Independent women.

This new poll makes clear there is widespread, bipartisan support for increased investment in high-quality early childhood programs.  At a time when many presidential candidates are struggling to build a winning coalition, candidates would be wise to start talking more about one issue that Americans can agree on regardless of party: the importance of early childhood education.

gsroctober15Here are the key points from the poll:

  • Voters say children getting a strong start in school and education are the best ways to strengthen the middle class.
  • There is continued support for investments in enabling states and communities to provide early childhood education opportunities. Support is evident across the partisan spectrum.
  • In fact, voters would prioritize early childhood education over college.
  • Majority is favorably impressed by a presidential candidate who supports such an approach on early childhood education.

It is clear that voters understand the value of early childhood education and want to see the federal government invest in programs at the state and local levels. Will you help us deliver this message to the Presidential candidates?

We’ll tell you how below.

Growing Up Granite

We Know You Support Kids –
Help Us Hear How the Presidential Candidates will Support Kids

Each Presidential Candidate has been invited to a Candidate Forum at UNH to answer questions related to children, youth and families.

What:  Single Candidate Forums on Children, Youth and Families

Hosts:  Every Child Matters in New Hampshire, MomsRising, and The Department of Social Work at the University of New Hampshire

When:  November and December – dates to be determined

Where:  University of NH, Durham, NH

Each candidate will be encouraged to spend time talking about their plans to ensure every child has the opportunity to grow up healthy, safe, and well educated; and their policies that will support a family friendly workplace and economy.

Here’s What We Need You to Do!!

Tweet the candidates and ask them to participate in an ECMNH/MomsRising/UNH Candidate Forum.

Sample Tweets:

.@marcorubio We want you at an @ECMNH @MomsRising forum on child & family issues in NH http://bit.ly/1GpPaf5 #VoteKids #MomsVote                 (CLICK HERE TO TWEET)

.@hillaryclinton We need your voice on kids & families in an @ECMNH @MomsRising forum in NH http://bit.ly/1GpPaf5 #VoteKids #MomsVote                 (CLICK HERE TO TWEET)

.@martinomalley NH wants to hear your policies on kids & families at an @ECMNH @MomsRising forum http://bit.ly/1GpPaf5 #VoteKids #MomsVote                (CLICK HERE TO TWEET)

.@jebbush Granite Staters want you at an @ECMNH @MomsRising forum on kids & families in NH http://bit.ly/1GpPaf5 #VoteKids #MomsVote                (CLICK HERE TO TWEET)

Candidate Twitter handles:

Hillary Clinton — @hillaryclinton
Martin OMalley — @martinomalley
Bernie Sanders — @berniesanders
Jeb Bush — @jebbush
Ben Carson — @realbencarson
Chris Christie — @chrischristie
Ted Cruz — @tedcruz
Carly Fiorina — @carlyfiorina
Lindsey Graham — @grahamblog
Mike Huckabee — @govmikehuckabee
Bobby Jindal — @bobbyjindal
John Kasich — @johnkasich
George Pataki — @governorpataki
Rand Paul — @randpaul
Marco Rubio — @marcorubio
Rick Santorum — @ricksantorum
Donald Trump — @realdonaldtrump

Please help us to get the candidates talking about the issues that affect children, youth, and families by inviting them to participate in a forum. We’ll be sure to let you know the minute we get a response.

Teachers Deserve Thanks, Not Blame

by Dr. Tom Staszewski,

Dr. Tom Staszewski

Dr. Tom Staszewski

As our public schools begin another school year, it’s time to stop blaming and criticizing teachers and start thanking and acknowledging them.

Our schools reflect society, and society has undergone a dramatic shift from previous generations. A typical classroom today consists of many students with severe behavioral problems, limited knowledge of English usage, emotional and psychological difficulties, learning disabilities and attention-deficit disorders. And many suffer from abuse and other adverse home and socioeconomic conditions.

Unlike previous generations, many parents today send their kids to school unfed, unprepared and with little or no basic skills nor social skills. In many neighborhoods, it’s the school building, not the child’s home, that provides a safe, secure and predictable haven. Despite these societal problems, we need to focus on the success stories of what’s right with our schools rather than what’s wrong with our schools.

In my previous work as a motivational speaker and professional development trainer, I have personally worked with thousands of teachers nationwide. I have found them to be caring, hardworking, dedicated, industrious and sincerely committed to the success of their students.

Teachers’ duties have now grown to the added dimensions of counselor, mentor, coach, resource person, mediator, motivator, enforcer and adviser.

Instead of acknowledging that teaching is a demanding profession, critics will often focus on the supposedly shortened workday of teachers. Still others claim, “Yes, teachers are busy, but at least they get a planning period each day to help get things done.” In reality, the so-called planning period is really a misnomer. A typical teacher is so involved with the day’s activities that usually there is no time to stop and plan. Those minutes that are supposed to be devoted to planning are often filled with endless amounts of paperwork, meetings, interruptions, schedule changes, extra assigned duties, phone calls, conferences, gathering missed work for absent students, completing forms, submitting required data and on and on.

Most teachers leave the building long after the students’ dismissal time and usually with plenty of paperwork and tests to correct. Evenings are spent reviewing homework assignments and planning for the next day of teaching.

In addition to earning a bachelor’s degree and teaching certificate/license, once teachers begin to work in the classroom, they need to immediately continue their own education. During summertime, they are constantly updating their education, earning a graduate degree or two and making sure their teaching certificates are active and valid.

Too many people have the mistaken notion that anyone can teach. They think that they could teach because they have seen other people teach.

Yet, when looking at other professions and occupations, these same people understand that they can’t perform those jobs. They may have briefly seen the cockpit of an airplane, but they don’t assume they can fly it. They may have spent an hour in a courtroom but don’t believe that they can practice law. They certainly don’t think they are able to perform surgery.

Every day, teachers are making a significant difference. At any given moment, teachers are influencing children in positive and meaningful ways. Many societal problems exist, such as violence, drugs, broken homes, poverty, economic crises and a variety of other woes. Teachers struggle with the turmoil of society while trying to offset the negative influences outside of school. As they roll up their sleeves and take strides to improve the lives of their students, teachers are the real heroes.

Today’s teacher is more than a transmitter of knowledge; the demands of the profession are ever-increasing. Many parents and taxpayers have an expectation that a school system should be the do all and be all in their children’s lives. Some parents have a notion that they can drop off their child at the schoolhouse door, and behold, 12 years later, they will be able to pick up a perfect specimen of a human being — well-rounded, academically proficient, emotionally sound, physically fit and ready to meet the next phase of life.

But we know that teachers cannot do it alone. A sound, safe and secure home life is essential. An effort on the parent’s part to prepare the child for school is vital. And parental involvement that results in a partnership in the child’s development is necessary. When that doesn’t occur, then it’s easy to scapegoat the classroom teacher.

Instead of bashing our teachers, we should be conveying recognition, accolades, tributes and positive acknowledgments. Teachers deserve a sincere thank-you for the tremendous benefits they provide society. And that’s why my all-time favorite bumper sticker offers a profound and important declaration: “If you can read this … thank a teacher!”

In our schools today, there are thousands of success stories waiting to be told and there’s a need to proclaim those successes proudly and boldly. Teachers should stand tall and be proud of their chosen profession. Critics should not judge them unfairly. Together, let’s become teacher advocates and show admiration for the inspiring and important life-changing work they do.

DR. TOM STASZEWSKI, a former middle school teacher, lives in Erie with his wife, Linda. He recently retired after a 35-year career in higher education administration. A 1970 graduate of Academy High School, he is the author of “Total Teaching: Your Passion Makes it Happen” (tomstasz@neo.rr.com).

Joyce Craig Statement on Vote for Teachers Contract

MANCHESTER – This morning, Alderman Joyce Craig released the following statement on her vote for the teachers contract last night.

“Last night, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen again passed the fiscally responsible, bipartisan teachers contract and was again forced to override the Mayor’s misguided veto,” said Craig.  “I voted for this contract, again, because it contains significant healthcare concessions and has creative provisions to improve education in our schools.  Our school year begins today and this contract is good for parents, teachers, students, and taxpayers.  

“Mayor Gatsas attempted to rationalize his second veto by questioning the professional financial assessments of both our city finance director and school district finance director who validated this contract. 

“Our public education is vital to Manchester’s future in so many ways and great schools will spur development and investment.  We have 15,000 students in the Manchester public school system, and we need to ensure they have the resources and support they need to succeed.  During the Mayor’s six-year tenure, the number of teachers in our school district has decreased and many of our classrooms remain too large for our students to receive an adequate education.

“We need to change course and we need a mayor who will protect tax dollars and act in the best interests of our students, parents, and taxpayers. It is easy to vote no, but a true leader must come up with a solution, a compromise, to move our city forward.  This contract was a unique opportunity for our city to save money on rising healthcare costs, and I am proud to vote for it in the best interests of our city.”

Joyce Craig currently serves as the Ward 1 Alderman and is a candidate for mayor of Manchester. 

Granite State Rumblings: New Report Shows Principals Need More Training For Early Grade Students

As the kids head back to school and many transition from child care or Head Start programs to the public school system, it is important to ensure that the administration of the schools have an understanding of developmentally appropriate practice and the skills that these young learners bring with them to the new system. A report from the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) called for more training and professional development for principals to ensure that they’re knowledgeable about the learning needs of their students in these early grades.

The report begins by saying, “Leading Pre-K-3 Learning Communities embraces a vibrant vision that imagines a quality early childhood education for each and every child that is filled with play, creativity, early literacy and numeracy, music and art, physical activity and time to nurture, support and enhance each child’s social and emotional growth. This approach is critical to lay the foundation that fosters intellectual curiosity, personal responsibility and critical life skills.”

But not all principals feel that they were well trained in instructional methods for early learners, as Aaron Loewenberg writes in this EdCentral blog:

Of all the various hats that a principal wears, perhaps none is more important than that of instructional leader. As emphasis on school accountability has grown, expectations for principals have shifted from management functions, such as making sure the buses run on time, toward visiting classrooms and providing real-time feedback on teacher instruction.

Along with this emphasis on principals as instructional leader, comes a concern from many in the early education field about whether principals have the knowledge and skills they need to provide quality feedback to teachers of students in pre-K, kindergarten, and the first, second, and third grade. A 2014 report from the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) called for more training and professional development for principals to ensure that they’re knowledgeable about the learning needs of their students in these early grades. The report identified eight areas for policy action, including the need for increased state investment in principal preparation programs to help new principals understand how to create a learning continuum from PreK-3rd grade.

And just this month, new evidence emerged from NAESP that shows many new elementary school principals don’t feel confident in their knowledge of early education. Last year, the NAESP polled a group of about 1,100 first and second-year principals from across the country on a variety of topics. Some of the poll results were unsurprising: 85 percent of the principals, for instance, reported high stress associated with their job. But consider this: despite the fact that 53 percent of the principals who responded to the survey said they had pre-K programs in their schools, only one in five felt well-trained in instructional methods for early education. In other words, many principals may not feel equipped to give specific feedback to help PreK-3rd grade teachers improve their instruction. This finding reflects comments made by elementary school principals in a series of focus groups that New America held in five cities earlier this year.

As someone who taught kindergarten for four years, I know that this lack of principal knowledge can be a major problem.  While I was lucky enough to teach in a school that had a strong early education focus and administrators well-versed in the learning needs of young children, many of my teaching colleagues were not so fortunate.  A fellow teacher shared with me the frustration she felt when her principal walked into her classroom without a sophisticated understanding of what a well-run early childhood classroom looks and sounds like.  This teacher worked long hours to create developmentally-appropriate learning centers for her students, only to be asked by her principal why students were “playing” instead of receiving the traditional whole-group academic instruction more commonly associated with 1st-5th grade. PreK-3rd grade teachers need knowledgeable principals who not only get the logic behind why students are spending time building with blocks or playing dress-up in a dramatic play area, but who also encourage teachers to teach in the ways that young children learn best.

“More than 60 percent of practicing elementary principals today report that their schools include prekindergarten, or that they are currently leading programs serving three and four year olds. Principals have also shared that little has been developed in the Pre-K-3 leadership space specifically for principals, and that they need additional resources and practical knowledge to improve their leadership practice. Similarly, over half of all elementary principals report they would like to receive additional professional development and resources to address K-3 developmentally-appropriate practice specifically for principals in elementary schools.”

Do the principals in your local elementary schools feel that they have the skills needed for the early years?


Save the Date for ECM-NH’s 8th Annual Step Up for Kids Day!


Republicans Are The Reason Our Public Schools Are Hurting

Jeb Bush on Education

The Republican Primary is always fun to watch as the candidates try to outdo each other the issues. Recently it was what to do about the problems facing our public school systems.

Our public education system is in rough shape and the majority of the blame falls squarely on the shoulders of Republican politicians who are starving our schools for money, forcing more and more standardized testing, and funneling our tax dollars to for-profit private and religious schools.

When you add all of these programs together it creates a disastrous ticking time bomb of epic failure.

The problems continue to feed themselves. It begins with cuts to the budget that lead to cuts teacher pay. This results in good teachers leaving the district and then bringing in new inexperienced teachers to replace them.

Then they test every student over and over, and reward high performing schools and make more cuts to low performing schools. (Can you see the problem yet?)

Then they give our tax dollars to traveling medicine men, selling snake oil to fix all of our problems by opening charter schools, stealing more money from struggling schools. Some of these schools take millions in federal, state, and local budgets to build new schools and then file for bankruptcy before they even open their doors.

Then they have to make more cuts to teachers and para-professionals starting the austerity cycle all over again.

The American Federation of Teachers thought it would be good to inform all of you of what a few of the Presidential candidates are saying our teachers and our schools.


Our children deserve better than a schools system that is all test and drill. We need more arts, more music, more science, and more teachers. We need pay our teachers better so that we can retain the best teachers with the pay they deserve. We need to fund our schools properly and stop forcing cuts to staff and services. We need to stop this cycle of austerity that is strangling our public schools.  Our children deserve better!


Avard and Groh endorse Arnold for Mayor of Manchester



patrick-arnold-3Manchester, New Hampshire – Today, the Patrick Arnold for Mayor campaign picked up two additional endorsements from the Manchester School Board – Dr. John Avard, a Republican from ward 10, and Theo Groh, a Democrat, from ward 3.

“Our city has suffered long enough under failed leadership,” says Avard. “We’re in a downward spiral and we can either continue into the abyss, or stop it and turn things around. That’s why I’m supporting Patrick Arnold to be our new leader in the corner office at City Hall,” Avard continued.

“I’m proud of the support our campaign has earned across party lines. The challenges we face as a city are not Democratic or Republican problems, and there’s more that unites us than divides us in Manchester,” says Arnold. “It’s one thing to work together, yet another thing to get the results our city needs. As mayor, I look forward to doing both,” Arnold continued.

The endorsements come less than twelve hours after Avard led the Manchester School Board in a vote of no confidence in Mayor Ted Gatsas.

Avard and Groh join several of their colleagues in supporting Arnold’s call for authentic change at City Hall. At-large School Board member Kathy Staub, and School Board members Amy Bradley of ward 4, Katie Desrochers of ward 11, and Connie Van Houten of ward 12 have all previously endorsed Arnold’s 2015 mayoral bid.


Patrick Arnold is a candidate for mayor of Manchester, New Hampshire. Arnold served as a Manchester Alderman from 2009 until 2014. In 2013, he was the Democratic candidate for mayor against Mayor Ted Gatsas, the Republican incumbent. Less than 500 voters separated Manchester from new executive leadership in 2013. In March 2014, the Manchester Board of Aldermen unanimously confirmed Arnold’s appointment to the city’s Conduct Committee. An attorney by trade, Arnold earned his law degree at the University of New Hampshire School of Law. He and his wife, Kathy, have a daughter, Abigail.

Joyce Craig Statement on ‘No Confidence’ Vote by Manchester School Committee

Joyce Craig MayorMANCHESTER – Alderman Joyce Craig has released the following statement on the Manchester Board of School Committee’s vote of ‘no confidence’ in Mayor Gatsas:

“Last night, the Board of School Committee overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan vote of ‘no confidence’ in the Mayor’s ability to improve our schools,” said Craig. “For six years the Mayor has bullied his way through these School Board meetings to the detriment of our students, teachers, and taxpayers.  During his tenure, we have lost teachers, our class sizes are still high, we lost the sending towns of Auburn, Hooksett, and Candia, and now our school year begins in a few weeks and teachers will return to their classrooms without a contract in place for the third year in a row.  As the mother of three children in the Manchester public school system, I am nervous about what to expect in the fall. Because of Mayor Gatsas’s veto, I fear class sizes will again be higher than state standards and that our students will suffer as a result.

“Our city deserves better, and as Mayor I look forward to working collaboratively with the School Board to explore options to improve our city’s education while saving taxpayer dollars.  We have great colleges and universities in Manchester, and I will work to form public/private partnerships and develop programs that can benefit all Manchester students.  We also must rebuild our broken relationships, and I will actively work to reopen the dialogue with our sending towns of Hooksett and Candia and bring these students back to our schools.  And finally, we must be open to opportunities to improve our schools, and I will always put the needs of our students and taxpayers first and will approve this fiscally responsible compromise.

“We have many opportunities to improve our schools, and I will be the leader who will build consensus to move our district forward.  The School Board has lost faith in the Mayor’s ability to advance our city’s education.  The Mayor’s confrontational attitude has also alienated many state officials and our city continually loses out on new opportunities to advance and grow.  We need a problem solver and consensus builder to truly move our city forward, and that is why I am running for mayor of Manchester.”

Joyce Craig currently serves as the Ward 1 Alderman and is a candidate for mayor of Manchester.

Arnold Calls for Gatsas to Step Aside, School Board Votes No Confidence in Gatsas

patrick-arnold-3Manchester, New Hampshire –  Last night, in public comments to the Manchester School Board, mayoral candidate and former Alderman Patrick Arnold called Mayor Gatsas’ recent veto of a proposed teachers’ contract “absurd” and urged Gatsas to step aside.

“Mayor Gatsas, work with those elected by the voters, or step aside for someone who will,” Arnold said before a city hall chamber packed with concerned parents and educators broke into applause.

Later in the evening, the Manchester School Board took a vote of no confidence in Mayor Ted Gatsas. “Tonight’s vote of no confidence further demonstrates that Ted Gatsas has lost a mandate to lead this city,” says Arnold in response to the vote. “People of this city deserve strong leadership to move beyond business as usual, and the clock has run out on Ted Gatsas’ failed leadership.”


Patrick Arnold is a candidate for mayor of Manchester, New Hampshire. Arnold served as a Manchester Alderman from 2009 until 2014. In 2013, he was the Democratic candidate for mayor against Mayor Ted Gatsas, the Republican incumbent. Less than 500 voters separated Manchester from a new mayor in 2013. In March 2014, the Manchester Board of Mayor and Aldermen unanimously confirmed Arnold’s appointment to the city’s Conduct Committee. An attorney by trade, Arnold earned his law degree at the University of New Hampshire School of Law. He and his wife, Kathy, have a daughter, Abigail.

PCCC, Demos Applaud Hillary Clinton’s New College Compact

 (image Keith Kissel FLIKR)

(image Keith Kissel FLIKR)

“Hillary Clinton’s plan is very big and ambitious — leading to debt-free college and increased economic opportunity for millions of Americans. The center of gravity on higher education has shifted from tinkering with interest rates to making college debt free — and Clinton’s bold proposal is emblematic of the rising economic populist tide in American politics.”

— Adam Green, co-founder, Progressive Change Campaign Committee

“With the plan, millions of America’s working families will have access to debt-free public college at both two- and four-year institutions.”

— Tamara Draut, Senior Vice President of Policy and Research, Demos

MSNBC: Clinton’s sweeping new debt-free college plan

by Alexander Seitz-Wald

It’s one of the issues Clinton hears about most on the campaign trail. And at a campaign event in New Hampshire Monday, the former secretary of state will unveil sweeping proposed reforms.

Clinton’s so-called “New College Compact,” detailed in three fact sheets shared with reporters, is the most detailed and expensive plan she has unveiled so far on her 2016 presidential campaign. “Students will be able to attend an in-state public university to get a 4-year degree without ever having to take out a loan for tuition,” one fact sheet claims.

While the tax hike and other issues would likely run into opposition in Congress, Clinton’s campaign wants to cast a marker with the plan. Politically, the effort could energize young voters, who were critical to President Obama’s victory over Clinton in the 2008 primary and then to both his general election wins.

Adam Green, the co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which has been one of the groups leading the effort for debt-free college, praised the plan. “Hillary Clinton’s plan is very big and ambitious – leading to debt-free college and increased economic opportunity for millions of Americans,” said Green, who has sometimes been critical of Clinton in the past.”

“The center of gravity on higher education has shifted from tinkering with interest rates to making college debt free – and Clinton’s bold proposal is emblematic of the rising economic populist tide in American politics,” he added. …

Politicians have to deal with the issue, said Mark Huelsman, a senior policy fellow at Demos, the New York-based liberal think tank that has been the intellectual driving force behind the idea of debt-free college.

“The benchmark for us has always been that any plan provides a pathway to debt free college or a pathway for a majority of students to graduate without taking on debt. That’s been a galvanizing issue for progressives,” he said. “Unfortunately, voters are responding to their pocketbooks. We like to point out that student debt was not the norm for most students until the 1990s, really. If you wanted a bachelor’s degree for most of our history, you didn’t have to take on debt to do so. Now it’s basically a requirement. And with college becoming more important in the labor market, not less, there’s a lot of anxiety about it.”

WALL STREET JOURNAL: Hillary Clinton Proposes Debt-Free Tuition at Public Colleges

by Laura Meckler and Josh Mitchell

Hillary Clinton is proposing an expansive program aimed at enabling students to attend public colleges and universities without taking on loans for tuition, her attempt to address a source of anxiety for American families while advancing one of the left’s most sweeping new ideas.

The plan—dubbed the “New College Compact” and estimated to cost $350 billion over 10 years—would fundamentally reshape the federal government’s role in higher education by offering new federal money, but with strings attached. …

The Clinton campaign views this proposal as a centerpiece of its domestic agenda, akin in importance to health care in 2008, and it is her most expensive proposal so far. The campaign said it would pay for it by limiting deductions for upper-income tax filers, which President Barack Obama has repeatedly proposed without success. …

Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which has worked to make college affordability a top issue, said he was excited by the plan and sees it as helping to shift the debate over higher education from adjusting interest rates to trying to make college debt free. “Hillary Clinton’s plan is very big and ambitious, leading to debt-free college and increased economic opportunity for millions of Americans,” he said.

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