THE FOLLOWING HOUSE BILLS WERE AMENDED BY THE SENATE
HB 1122- FN, relative to the filing with a registry of deeds of a fraudulent document purporting to create a lien or claim against real property. AFT-NH supports this bill and asks that the House vote to concur. As public employees just wanting to do our jobs we should not have to worry that someone unhappy with us could go the county’s Register of Deeds and file a million dollar false claim against your property. Unless you go to the Register of Deeds in your county and fill out paperwork to be notified of such actions, you would never know this lien existed until you wanted to sell your home. It could take up to a year to clear this up and could be very costly.
THE FOLLOWING SENATE BILLS WERE AMENDED BY THE HOUSE
SB 193-FN, establishing a commission to study pathways to oral health care in New Hampshire. AFT-NH is in support of this amended bill and asks that the Senate concur.This bill forms a Study Commission that would examine barriers to oral health care for under-served NH residents. We believe this study will help build the case that addressing issues affecting the dental workforce must be part of any long-term strategy to bridge the gaps in our system of oral care access.
This Commission presents an opportunity for partners to educate the Legislature and the public about how a Dental Hygiene Practitioner would help address these needs. To read more click here.
SB 343, relative to the areas of assessment in the statewide education improvement and assessment program. AFT-NH is not in support of this bill as amended and we ask that the Senate non-concur and ask for a Committee of Conference. AFT-NH would like the following to have been added to the duties outlined in SB 343 to ensure that:
If these standards are to work we need to ensure that in each district the following are in place when implementing the Common core and the Smarter Balance State Assessment:
- There needs to be planning time for understanding the Standards and time to put them into practice.
- We need opportunities to observe colleagues implementing Standards in class.
- We must provide teachers with model lesson plans aligned to Standards,
- Ensure textbooks/other curricula materials align with Standards,
- Communicate with parents on the Standards and the expectations of students, AND
- Develop best practices and strategies along with coaching to help teachers teach content more deeply.
- We need to ensure all districts have the equipment and bandwidth to administer computer-based assessments, AND
- Make sure we have fully developed curricula aligned to Standards and available to teachers.
- Assessments need to be aligned to Standards indicating mastery of concepts,
- Professional development and training in the Standards needs to be offered, AND
- We need to develop tools to track individual student progress on key Standards.
- We need to make sure the assessments inform teaching, not impede teaching and learning.
- Assessments need to support teaching and learning, and must align with curriculum rather than narrow it.
- Assessments should be focused on measuring growth and continuous development of students instead of arbitrary targets unconnected to how students learn.
- Assessments should be diverse, authentic, test for multiple indicators of student performance and provide information leading to appropriate interventions that help students, teachers and schools improve, not sanctions that undermine them.
- The development and implementation of assessments must be age appropriate for the students, and teachers need to have appropriate computers to administer such assessments.
- These assessments must contribute to school and classroom environments that nurture growth, collaboration, curiosity and invention—essential elements of a 21st-century education that have too often been sacrificed in favor of test prep and testing.
BELOW ARE SPECIFIC CONCERNS IN MOVING FORWARD WITH COMMON CORE STANDARDS AND SMARTER BALANCE ASSESSMENT THAT NEED TO BE ADDRESSED:
- The students need to be able to type responses, not just read everything off the computer.
- The students may be familiar with technology, but they use it to play games or point and click, not type.
- For many students it will be very difficult and time consuming to sit there and have to type out more than just a few word answers to questions.
- We have been hearing from a lot of teachers that they are moving onto the Common Core standards yet the materials don’t really support the standards.
- They are given inserts to add into the manuals, but that doesn’t fix anything.
- At grade level meetings there has been a lot of discussion among teachers as to what to keep, what to take out, where they should really be focusing time and energy, and what is going to best benefit the students.
- While there are no real clear cut and dry answers to those questions at the moment it leaves many of our teachers feeling like they are playing the guessing game and hoping they are making the right decisions.
BELOW ARE SPECIFIC QUESTIONS IN MOVING FORWARD WITH COMMON CORE STANDARDS AND SMARTER BALANCE ASSESSMENT THAT NEED TO BE ADDRESSED:
- Will districts have enough of the technology required to administer the test to all the students that are required to be tested?
- Will that technology work reliably throughout the entire testing window?
- Does the test accurately measure academic skills in reading or math, or is it measuring student’s ability to use the technology? How can you separate those factors in the results?
- With a 12 week testing window, students who test near the end of the window will have covered more of the curriculum. Won’t later testing schools score higher and appear to be more capable?
- How will students get practice on the particular formats of tasks and questions used in Smarter Balance testing so that their results accurately reflect their academic skills, not their ease or lack of ease with the way the test is presented?
- Are the questions developmentally appropriate for the age of the students taking the test? Some of the sample questions teachers looked at were very confusing to adults.
- How will test accommodations for special education students be accomplished so that they can show what they know?
- Have the Smarter Balance tests been reviewed for cultural and socioeconomic bias? By whom?
- How can we be assessing on the Common Core next year when we are only in the process of implementing new curriculum aligned to it this year?
- Professional school counselors, in collaboration with other educators, also advocate for:
- Appropriate testing condition and administration of standardized test
- pportunities to retake a test or take a comparable test when a student is unsuccessful in one administration
- The use of standardize tests norm referenced with all student populations
- Discontinuation of standardized test that show socioeconomic or cultural bias
- Professional school counselors recognize that standardized tests may create anxiety for students that may be developmentally inappropriate. Through the comprehensive school counselling program, professional school counselors many work with students and staff on issues such as test-taking skills, time-management skills and stress management when appropriate. (www.schoolcounselor.org)
THE FOLLOWING BILLS ARE ON THE SENATE’S CONSENT CALENDAR
HB 1128, establishing a committee to study issues related to students receiving special education services while attending a chartered public school. AFT-NH is in support of the committee’s recommendation of Ought to Pass as Amended and asks that the full Senate supports this recommendation. The duties of this committee include studying issues related to students receiving special education services while attending a Charter school, including responsibility for funding and provision of special education services, and any other issue deemed relevant by the committee.
Around 2011-2012 the state passed a bill which mandated that local districts must pay for support services for special education students enrolled in Charter schools. This means that a district must send someone to the Charter school, contract out the service, or pay the Charter school to provide the services. All of which can add up to tens of thousands of dollars.
We need to have a clear picture on what it is costing districts to educate special education students enrolled in a Charter school in or out of their home district. Because this is a mandate from the State we also need to have the discussion on who should be paying for these services.
HB 1238, relative to access to assessment materials. AFT-NH is in support of the committee’s recommendation of Ought to Pass and asks that the full Senate support this recommendation. Here is what Senator Kelly’s states in support of this bill: “This bill requires the Department of Education to make available portions of a pupil’s assessment on the Department’s website as soon as possible after the statewide assessment results are released. The committee believes that this bill is a positive step in ensuring parental involvement in the educational assessment of New Hampshire’s students.”
THE FOLLOWING ARE ON THE HOUSE’S CONSENT CALENDAR
SB 339-FN, (New Title) relative to instituting a credit card affinity program in which fees received are directed to offset the retirement system’s unfunded liability. AFT-NH has no position on this bill but is monitoring it. This bill allows the Department of Administrative Services to contract with a credit card issuer to establish a credit card affinity program in which the fees received by the state are dedicated to reducing the retirement system’s unfunded liability. This is a “feel good” bill, that will have little impact on the unfunded liability – which we believe is an employer responsibility to begin with.
THE FOLLOWING ARE ON THE SENATE’S REGULAR CALENDAR
HB 1494-FN, relative to administration of the New Hampshire retirement system and authority of the board of trustees.We were originally opposed to this bill but at this time we are in support of the Ought To Pass recommendation. The original bill was a policy overreach by the NHRS, but Rep. Goley’s amended version ensures this is just a housekeeping bill that establishes a procedure for the determination of the costs of purchase of service credits, clarifies the ability to earn service credit while on a salary continuance plan, changes the date for the approval of the comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR), adds a penalty for employers who fail to timely remit data on compensation paid to retired members, and repeals obsolete provisions.
HB 1624-FN, modernizing the juvenile justice system to ensure rehabilitation of juveniles and preservation of juvenile rights. AFT-NH is in support of this bill and asks that the full Senate support this recommendation. This bill updates our current juvenile justice system by:
- Raising the age at which youth are treated as adults in the justice system from 17 years to 18 years,
- Improving procedures to determine competency of youth,
- Clarifying a youth’s right to and waiver of legal counsel,
- Determining the qualifications for legal counsel to defend youth,
- Defining data to assess the effectiveness of current interventions and proposed changes.
To read more on this bill click here.
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UPCOMING COMMITTEE HEARINGS
TUESDAY, MAY 6
Senate HEALTH, EDUCATION AND HUMAN SERVICES, Room 103, LOB
9:00 a.m. EXECUTIVE SESSION ON PENDING LEGISLATION
CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND PUBLIC SAFETY, Room 204, LOB
10:30 a.m. Executive session on
SB 207-FN, relative to paycheck equity,
EDUCATION, Room 207, LOB
10:00 a.m. Full committee work session on House bills amended by the Senate.
ELECTION LAW, Room 308, LOB
11:00 a.m. Continued executive session on SB 120-FN, relative to political contributions and expenditures and relative to reporting by political committees.
WEDNESDAY, MAY 7
10:00 a.m. House in session
THURSDAY, MAY 8
10:00 a.m. Senate in session
EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND ADMINISTRATION, Room 306, LOB
10:00 a.m. Ad Hoc subcommittee on retirement.
FINANCE, Rooms 210-211, LOB
10:00 a.m. Executive session on
SB 395-FN, relative to the retirement classification of the director of the division of forests and lands,
MONDAY, MAY 19
10:00 a.m. 22nd Annual New Hampshire Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Ceremony.