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Kuster Introduces Bill to Encourage STEM Education, Prepare Students for Jobs of Tomorrow

 (Washington, DC)Today, Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) introduced legislation to provide new resources for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) subjects in early childhood education. The Early STEM Achievement Act would create a competitive grant program within the Department of Education to assist early childhood STEM programs and train educators to teach STEM subjects, helping prepare children for the workforce of tomorrow.  

“We need to prepare young people for the jobs of the future that will drive economic growth in New Hampshire and nationwide,” said Congresswoman Kuster. “Unfortunately, we are not doing enough to train students in the skills they need. We must ensure all students have access to STEM programs so they are prepared to compete in the 21st century economy. I will continue to work to provide students in the Granite State with STEM education opportunities that will inspire and prepare them for success.

Numerous studies have highlighted the benefits of quality early childhood education. For example, research has shown there are lower high-school dropout rates among children who participate in early childhood education programs, demonstrating that the positive results continue for many years. Additionally, STEM lessons support skills like resourcefulness, persistence, and problem-solving ability—all crucial to the 21st century workforce. Kuster is committed to increasing funding for STEM education and other efforts to help students gain the 21stcentury skills they need.

AFT-NH: Maggie Hassan Is Deeply Committed To Students, Teachers And Their Families

Hassan’s commitment to students, teachers and their families has earned the American Federation of Teachers-New Hampshire

aft sqaureCONCORD – Today, the American Federation of Teachers-New Hampshire (AFT-NH) announced its endorsement of Governor Maggie Hassan for United States Senate. AFT-NH represents over 3,600 Granite Staters, including teachers, school support staff, police, higher education faculty, and town employees.

“I’m honored to have earned the endorsement of the American Federation of Teachers-New Hampshire as we work to ensure that students have a strong education at all levels. Coming from a family of educators where a commitment to students runs deep, I understand how important it is to support students, teachers, and their families,”  said Governor Maggie Hassan. “Unfortunately, Senator Kelly Ayotte has stood with her party leaders and special interest backers like the Koch Brothers in supporting reckless policies that would cut funding for K-12 education and make college more expensive for Granite State students. Education is essential to expanding economic opportunity and ensuring that all of our young people are equipped to compete in our changing global economy, and in the United States Senate I will fight to ensure that all students have access to a high quality education.” 

“Throughout her time in office, Governor Maggie Hassan has demonstrated a deep commitment to fighting for students, teachers, and their families. Time and again, Governor Hassan has shown she can bring people together to get results for Granite State students, from K-12 all the way through higher education, and that is exactly the approach that she will take in the Senate,” said AFT-NH President Doug Ley. “Governor Hassan’s strong record in supporting our students stands in sharp contrast with Senator Kelly Ayotte, who has voted for policies that would slash school funding and make college more expensive. AFT-NH is proud to stand with Maggie, because we know that she will always stand with students and teachers in the Senate.”

At the K-12 level, Governor Maggie Hassan has fought to protect funding levels for New Hampshire’s public schools, launched a Science Technology Engineering and Math Task Force to modernize STEM education, developed a new program to partner manufacturing companies with local schools and led efforts to reduce standardized testing in favor of more locally managed assessments – a model that is expanding nationally based on New Hampshire’s success. Governor Hassan has also fought to make college more affordable for students and families while building a 21st century workforce pipeline for our businesses. Under Maggie’s leadership, New Hampshire froze in-state tuition at our universities for the first time in 25 years and reduced tuition at community colleges.

In the Senate, Governor Hassan will fight to expand early childhood education, focus on STEM and encourage more participation by girls and young women, give New Hampshire schools the flexibility to put federal dollars to the best possible use and continue the Granite State’s leadership in empowering local school districts, students and teachers. Maggie will also fight to expand Pell Grants, lower interest rates on student loans, allow borrowers to refinance at today’s lower rates and work toward the goal of debt-free public college for all. She will also work to expand apprenticeship opportunities and make federal higher education grants and loans more flexible to support adult workers who are learning new skills. 

Meanwhile, Senator Kelly Ayotte has put her party leaders and special interests backers ahead of Granite State students. Senator Ayotte has said she would eliminate or drastically cut the Department of Education, and has sided with the Koch Brothers in supporting reckless budgets that included steep cuts to K-12 education and slashed funding for Pell Grants. Ayotte is also pushing a student loan bill that has been called a “sweetheart deal” for Wall Street.

Mark Connolly Releases Education Policy Plan

CONCORD — Today, Mark Connolly, Democratic candidate for Governor, released his education policy plan, which prioritizes equality of opportunity and access, sensible funding mechanisms, and collaborative engagement with the private sector. 

The plan includes four policy areas: providing students with a world-class education, building a funding system that works, promoting collaborative engagement, and ensuring college affordability. Connolly will lead a conference call to discuss his vision for education in the Granite State, with special guest Dana Hilliard, Mayor of Somersworth and Principal of Somersworth Middle School.

I know firsthand that education makes a difference in every child’s life. As Governor, giving every New Hampshire student the same opportunities I had in the classroom will be my top priority. 

Access to quality public education, with strong teachers and caring mentors, made all the difference in my life. Without a public school teacher who stood up for me and encouraged me to realize my full potential, I would never have been driven to excel in high school, attend and graduate college and business school, and build a successful career in the public and private sectors. 

Studies estimate 68 percent of New Hampshire jobs will require education beyond high school by 2020; based on current trends, it’s unlikely New Hampshire will be able to keep up. To grow our economy and create the opportunity every Granite Stater deserves—the ability to live, work, and raise a family of their own right here in New Hampshire—we must address this disparity now.

The Community College System of New Hampshire has created the “65×25” initiative to help ensure that, by 2025, 65 percent of Granite Staters in the workforce have some form of post-secondary education.

As Governor, I will work to give every Granite Stater a world-class education—starting with our youngest students and continuing through graduation—to make sure that every student has career-ready skills to fill the innovation-economy jobs being created all across New Hampshire.

Connolly’s education plan is available below and online at MarkConnollyNH.com/Education

Provide Students with a World-Class Education

Our children deserve a world-class education, starting in early childhood and continuing through graduation, complete with career-ready skills. They’re not just competing with students from Massachusetts, North Carolina, and California for jobs anymore—they’re competing with students in Singapore, Shanghai, and Taipei, too. That means we need to innovate when it comes to how we approach education. 

  1. Reaching young people early in life is critical to ensuring their future success. We need to further implement early-childhood education programs across New Hampshire and fully fund universal kindergarten in every community in our state.
  2. Our focus on education must evolve to provide a workforce for our business community. As New Hampshire’s innovation economy grows, we need to prioritize Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Design, and Math (STEAM) programs in our schools to give our young people the opportunity to pursue the careers of the future right here in New Hampshire. 
  3. Students succeed when they have great teachers. We must do more to attract and retain top-tier educators in our public schools, including paying them a quality salary, offer the training they need to succeed and the resources they need in the classroom, and guaranteeing them a safe and secure retirement.

Build a Funding System That Works

For decades, our government has failed to properly fund public education. The current stabilization-and-cap formula just doesn’t work. That’s why, as Governor, I will focus on reworking the state’s contribution to public education. 

  1. New Hampshire’s education-funding formula cannot turn into a political calculation. We need to target aid to the communities that need it most, and we must ensure that students are not left behind due to geography. Every New Hampshire student deserves the same opportunities to succeed, no matter where they live.
  2. School-building aid needs to be incorporated into our education funding formula to maintain our valuable facilities. Students cannot succeed in crumbling schools and outdated structures.
  3. Resources must go where they’re needed most: into the classroom. We should consider consolidating some administrative responsibilities across school districts in order to reduce costs elsewhere.

 Promote Collaborative Engagement

We must also ensure New Hampshire’s newest and most innovative businesses have the talent pool they need. I call it collaborative engagement: matching the needs of businesses with education. By offering career-ready standards, we can prepare a new generation of students for 21st-century professions right here in New Hampshire. 

  1. New Hampshire needs to better measure what’s actually learned, both in and out of school. Our educational system should measure more than time in the classroom, and it’s time we moved beyond ideological debates about standardized testing and start moving toward solutions that allow our graduates to compete on a global scale.
  2. Students should be encouraged to pursue career-ready skills. Competency-based education should be a priority of our education system, not an afterthought, and the state should increase support to programs like New Hampshire Scholars and WorkReadyNH, which provide students opportunities to develop career-ready skills while still enrolled in school.
  3. Investment in collaborative engagement is the way toward the future. New Hampshire’s business community must actively engage with our education system and provide resources to allow students to pursue internships, mentorships, apprenticeships, and vocational trades while in high school.
  4. New Hampshire should promote more STEM and STEAM opportunities. The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation estimates there are more than 700 STEM-related efforts across New Hampshire. As Governor, I will convene a STEM Leadership Council to ensure these efforts are coordinated with agreed-upon goals and measured benchmarks.

Ensure High School Graduates Can Afford Higher Education

We are a stronger state when our high school and college students stay in New Hampshire after graduation. But, all too often, our graduates leave the state to pursue a higher education, a career, or both—and they don’t come back. Our growing innovation economy requires an educated workforce, and we must reverse this alarming trend if New Hampshire is to succeed. 

  1. More New Hampshire students should be prepared for a great career in the Granite State. Expand certificate, dual-admission, and college-credit attainment programs in high school—so we can ensure our children are both college- and career-ready and equipped to compete with their peers in every other state as well as around the globe.
  2. Synergy between community and four-year colleges will help keep students local. Further aligning the Community College System of New Hampshire with the University System of New Hampshire would allow students to seamlessly transfer credits earned towards a four-year degree—helping them reach their potential in the world of higher education without having to leave the Granite State.
  3. Change begins with properly funding higher education. As Governor, I would restore funding to the University System of New Hampshire to the pre-2011 level of $104 million.

Van Ostern says Sununu’s Pledge to “Gut the Board of Education” is “The Sort of Insult and Threat You’d Expect from Donald Trump”

At Debate last week, Sununu said, “I’m Going To Gut The Board Of Education”

Teacher calls threat “offensive” and School Board member says it’s “totally irresponsible”

Colin Van Ostern

Colin Van Ostern announces his run for Governor of New Hampshire in Manchester, New Hampshire on Thursday, October 8, 2015.
Copyright 2015 Rob Strong

MANCHESTER, N.H. – Yesterday, educators and education advocates joined Democratic candidate for Governor, Colin Van Ostern in a conference call, where they condemned Chris Sununu for pledging to “Gut the Board of Education” at last week’s Republican gubernatorial debate.

“We need to invest in education, not ‘gut’ education in our state,” said Colin Van Ostern, Democratic candidate for Governor. “Chris Sununu’s rhetoric is as bad as Ted Gatsas’s record. We’ve seen what happens when that sort of a threat gets put into practice, that’s the attitude Ted Gatsas had as Mayor in Manchester. We’ve seen budgets slashed, class sizes ‘swollen’ and surrounding towns going out of the school district. Now, unfortunately Chris Sununu is trying to out-Gatsas Ted Gatsas.  […] This is the sort of insult and threat that you’d expect from Donald Trump.  A Governor needs to bring people together to solve problems, not tear them apart and insult them. As Governor, I will work with teachers, parents and education leaders to make sure every kid has the chance at a world-class education.”

New Hampshire educators also offered a stern rebuke of Chris Sununu’s remark, including Karen Ladd who has worked very closely with New Hampshire’s Board of Education to deliver innovative and award-winning curriculum to her students at Sanborn High School.

“Chris Sununu’s words are offensive and they treat educators and education leaders like enemies. I was deeply offended – as a teacher and as a taxpayer,” said Karen Ladd, an art teacher at Sanborn High School in Kingston. “New Hampshire has some of the best schools in the country and by cooperating with education leaders at the state school board, we’re decreasing reliance on standardized tests and other states look to NH as a model for what we are doing.”

She added that the Board “has had a profound impact on my ability to provide the best educational opportunities for my own students. Having the Board of Education available to help monitor and coordinate our efforts, to provide this education regardless of zip codes and where students are in the state, really ensures that I can spend more time working with my students and design an engaging curriculum. Frankly, we need a Governor that will support this joint effort, not undermine it.”

“The very thought that somebody could say that we should gut the Board of Ed is just totally irresponsible,” added Leslie Want, a Manchester School Board member who represents Ward 4.

UPDATED: Ted Gatsas Releases His New Education Plan Expecting People To Ignore Manchester’s Education Problems

The Manchester School District is underfunded and overcrowded but Ted Gatsas is praising it in his candidacy for Governor

Today, Ted Gatsas, current Mayor of Manchester and candidate for Governor of New Hampshire, released his “Comprehensive Plan for Education in NH.” Education is always a crucial part of any campaign for Governor. Gatsas’ plan focuses on  “choice” and “funding.”

Ted GatsasLike many Republicans, Gatsas is pushing more school voucher programs to allow tax dollars to be used to pay for private schools giving parents a “choice” in their child’s education. At the same time he is talking about the unbalanced funding problems plaguing school districts throughout the state.

The irony is the two are directly connected and conflict each other. By taking taxpayer money away from public schools this further reduces the amount of money available to public schools.

Executive Councilor and Democratic candidate for Governor, Colin Van Ostern, was quick to criticize Gatsas’ new plan.

“Ted Gatsas’ education proposals threaten to cut funds for our public schools, stifle innovation and invite dysfunction and controversy — just like his failed record as Mayor has resulted in deep budget cuts to Manchester schools, increased class sizes, and prompted surrounding communities to withdraw from the School District,” said Democratic candidate for Governor, Colin Van Ostern. “As Governor, I will work to keep New Hampshire moving forward by strengthening our schools, our workforce and our economy.”

“Mayor Gatsas’s legacy of deep cuts to public education has led to layoffs and increased class sizes—which, in turn, have meant higher property taxes for city residents as surrounding communities have left the Manchester school system. Our state can do better than that, and we must,” said Mark Connolly, Democratic candidate for Governor. “As Governor, I’ll work with mayors and local officials to deliver a world-class education to every New Hampshire student, beginning in preschool and culminating at graduation with career-ready skills relevant to our innovation economy.”

 Van Ostern and Connolly was not the only one to blast Gatsas on his double speak about supporting eduction.  Former Alderman, school board member and mother of children in Manchester public schools Joyce Craig, spoke out against Gatsas’ new plan. 

“If Ted Gatsas’ new ‘education policy’ looks anything like his actual record on education, we can expect proposals that result in cuts, layoffs and struggling schools. Gatsas’ tenure as mayor and chairman of the school board have led to a loss of over $10M of tuition revenue from Auburn, Candia and Hooksett, large class sizes, and fewer course offerings.  While some good things are happening in Manchester public schools, this loss of tuition revenue has resulted in an increase in taxes for Manchester property owners.  If the solution is simple, why hasn’t Mayor Gatsas worked with state and local officials to improve education for all students in Manchester? Ted Gatsas should get it done in Manchester before he starts proposing statewide programs.”

Over the past few years, the city of Manchester has been plagued with funding issues and overcrowding.  In 2012, NHPR reported that some classrooms had more than 40 students, ten more than allowed by the teacher’s contract allowed at the time.  The overcrowding forced the towns of Hookset and Candia to leave the Manchester School District resulting in a $300,000 loss in revenue to the school district.

“We had students sitting on the floor with a clipboard,” Jim O’Connell, the president of the Parent-Teacher Organization at Hillside Middle School told the New York Times. “It’s one degree separated from a 1700s classroom with chalk and a slate.”

The Manchester schools are grossly underfunded. “The district’s growth has not kept up with its tax revenues, and Manchester now has some of the state’s lowest per-pupil spending, at $10,283.77 per student (the state average is $13,159.15)” wrote the NY Times.

Would the Gatsas plan to overturn the Claremont Decision that provided a foundation for all public school funding in New Hampshire, help all the schools in the state? How will his plan to take taxpayer money and give it to charter schools or religious institutions help the students who remain in the public school system? Do we want the problems plaguing the Manchester School District to become the problems of all school districts in NH?


Post updated to include statement from Mark Connolly

New Report Shows The Underlying Issues In The American Workforce

Over the last forty years we have lost millions of high paying manufacturing jobs. Many of these jobs did not require any advanced degrees and any specialized training was down by the employer or the union.

At the same time parents began pushing their children to go to college because in the 1980’s college educated workers were in short supply and were paid accordingly.

Now almost every employer is requiring some level of college education to even be considered for employment. This has created a new problem, underemployment.

Everyone knows about unemployment, the percent of workers who are unemployed and are currently seeking employment. Currently we have a national unemployment rate of 5.5%. Considering that in October of 2009, deep into the great recession, our national unemployment peaked at 10%, 5.5% means we have made great progress.

But have we really? Yes, the number of unemployed people in the U.S. has been cut in half but that is not the entire story.

During the recession when millions were out of work, struggling to pay their bills, people would take any job they could. People with bachelors’ degrees were working at McDonalds just to pay their outrageous student loans. This is what we refer to as underemployment, where a worker is employed in a job below their education and skill level.

underemployment_headerToday, PayScale Inc released a new report, “Underemployed: The War on the American Worker,” highlighting America’s underemployment problem.

“There are many economic indicators followed by business and policy leaders to gauge the health of an economy. One notable such report is the monthly jobs report produced by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which includes unemployment figures. However, unemployment only tells part of the story. At PayScale, we believe another crucial indicator is underemployment – people who are either working at jobs that don’t leverage their education or seeking full-time work, but are working part-time. Therefore, we created our latest report tying underemployment figures to educational choices, jobs, and gender,” said Katie Bardaro, Lead Economist, PayScale.

To conduct their research PayScale interviewed nearly one million people over a two-year time frame starting in March of 2014.

underemplyment_chart05aPayScale found that 46% of those surveyed consider themselves underemployed. Of these respondents, 76% say they are not using their education or training while 24% say they are working only part-time but would like full-time work.

“There are two underlying themes in this report: The importance of education and the persistence of the gender gap. The report notes underemployment decreases as educational attainment increases. Also, in addition to a pay gap and an opportunities gap, we see the gender gap materialize in underemployment as well: Women report a greater percentage of underemployment than their male counterparts,” added Bardaro.

Education level does make a difference. PayScale found that Medical Doctors have the lowest level of underemployment at 30%. That is a vast difference when compared to the 50% who claim to be underemployed with an Associates Degree.

The report shows that just over 40% of those with a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) report being underemployed. Of the underemployed MBA degree holders, 90% reported they are not using their education and training.

underemplyment_chart10When we break down the numbers by gender, women have a slight edge over men in underemployment. 49% of woman report being underemployed compared to 42% of men. Women are also 7% more likely to be underemployed due to working part-time when they really want to be working full-time.

“These statistics may be a reflection of the gender opportunity gap,” wrote PayScale. “According to PayScale’s research, as employees climb the corporate ladder, men are often promoted more quickly than women, and women generally report more negative feelings about job satisfaction, job stress, and communication with their employers. (Learn more about the gender opportunity gap and the gender pay gap in PayScale’s report, Inside the Gender Pay Gap.)”

You can find out more about PayScale’s report here.

Senator David Watters Applauds Senate Passage of Legislation to Help Finance Pre-Kindergarten Education

CONCORD- Today, the NH Senate approved an innovative “pay for success” financing program for pre-kindergarten education. After the Senate passage of SB 503, Senator David Watters (D- Dover) released the following comments:

“I applaud my Senate colleagues for supporting this innovative approach to financing pre-kindergarten education,” said Senator Watters. “New Hampshire is one of a few states in the country that does not provide early childhood education, but SB 503 gives our communities an alternative way to finance this education without putting the burden on the local school districts.” 

Through SB 503’s “pay for success” model, funding for pre-kindergarten education would come from private investors who would then be reimbursed by the state if the program results in improved third grade reading levels or reduces the cost of special education remedial services. The payments will only be made if savings exceed the costs of the program. The first “pay for success” program was established in Utah in 2013 and has proven effective at reducing the cost of special education services and saving the school districts money. The total savings in the first year of the Utah program was $281,550.

“SB 503 is a ‘New Hampshire’ solution to improving education for our children by creating a partnership between our educators and private investors. I thank my Senate colleagues for their support, as this legislation is critical to expanding access to quality education to our children.”

This Guy Just Destroyed Right Wing Politics In One Epic Rant

(Editor’s note: I found this rant on facebook and contacted the author to get permission to publish it. Thank you Monty for allowing us to share your epic rant)


LaMonte M Fowler

By LaMonte M Fowler

I feel the need to drop a little truth on y’all. So buckle up…I’m about to be politically incorrect.

We don’t need to take America back. No one stole it. It’s right here…you’re sitting in it. Chillax.

Mexico isn’t going to pay for the wall and we’re not going to deport millions of people and break up families. If you think either one is a good idea, you’re not smart and probably not a person I want to hang out with.

We don’t live in a democracy. Technically we are a Federal Republic. But in reality we are ruled by an oligarchy. If you don’t know what that is, look it up. Reading will do you good. You probably need to do more of it.

FoxNews, CNN, and MSNBC have an agenda and are not “fair and balanced” or in any way unbiased. I’ll reiterate…read more. Read newspapers (even online ones). Read lots of opinions and sources and then (stay with me here), THINK! Form your own opinion based on as many facts as your can brain can tolerate.

Speaking of facts…there actually is a difference between facts, opinions, and propaganda. You should learn the difference. (Another opportunity to show off your mad reading skills.)

Science is real. We know things because of science. Don’t be afraid of it. You have an iPhone and Facebook because of science. It’s your friend.

Global warming or “climate change” as the cool kids call it IS REAL. Anyone who tells you it’s not real is not a smart person and probably should not be dressing themselves or caring for children.

Racism exists. And you are probably a little racist and should work on that. Seriously.

American Christians are not under attack. We are not being persecuted. We wield so much power in this country that politicians pretend to be Christian just so we will vote for them. No one is trying to take your bible away from you. The gay people are not destroying our families—we don’t need any help from them, thank you. We do a fine job of that by ourselves. So stop saying we are persecuted. You sound stupid.

Poor people need help. If you’re not helping them but complaining about how the government helps them with your money you are not a nice person.

Be nice to the people who teach your children. Don’t send them nasty emails or yell at them. Their job is 10,000 times harder than your stupid job. You are not a professional educator so just shut your mouth and be thankful someone is willing to teach your offspring.

You don’t know what Common Core is. You think you do, but you don’t unless you’re a teacher. So stop complaining about math problem memes on Facebook. You can’t do the math anyway.

ISIS is not an existential threat to the United States. We do not need to rebuild our military. Our military is the strongest, scariest, most badass killing machine the world has ever seen. So stop being afraid and stop letting politicians and pundits scare you.

Guns do in fact kill people. That’s what they are designed to do. If you feel you need a gun to protect yourself in America, you are probably living in the wrong neighborhood and should move before you go out and buy a gun. There are like a billion places to live where you won’t need a gun, or even need to lock your front door.

If you do own a gun, then make sure you know how to use it really, really, really well. Seriously…get some training because you still don’t know how to record stuff with your DVR. Go to the gun range and shoot the thing a lot. Learn how to clean it properly and be able to disassemble it and reassemble it with your eyes closed. It’s a freaking gun and it deserves that level of care, proficiency and respect. And for God’s sake, keep it locked up and away from your kids.

If you are even a little bit crazy, sad, or pissed off…you shouldn’t have a gun. And the Founding Fathers would totally agree with me.

Stop being suspicious of American Muslims. I guarantee the guy sitting next to you in the cubicle at work is probably more of a threat to you than any Muslim. He has to listen to your uninformed ranting day after day and has probably already imagined very colorful and creative ways to end you.

Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, and all the rest are ENTERTAINERS! Stop getting your opinions from them. (Here’s where that reading thing can really be an advantage.)

Stop sharing Facebook memes that tell me to share or else Jesus won’t bless me with a laundry basket full of cash. That’s not how prayer works. And I don’t want money delivered (even from God) in a laundry basket. Nobody ever washes those things out and they just keep putting nasty dirty clothes in them. Yuck!

We are the United States of America and we can afford to house every homeless veteran, feed every child, and take in every refugee and still have money left over for Starbucks and a bucket of KFC.

Unless you can trace your family line back to someone who made deerskin pants look stylish and could field dress a buffalo, you are a descendent of an immigrant. Please stop saying that immigrants are ruining our country. Such comments are like a giant verbal burrito stuffed with historical ignorance, latent racism, and xenophobia, all wrapped in a fascist tortilla.

That’s all for now. I feel better.

Author Bio

LaMonte is an author, missionary, and business consultant who lives Chicago, Illinois. When he is not writing science fiction novels or helping his clients, you can find him serving the people along the Amazon River in Brazil. You can learn more about his work at www.lamontemfowler.com.

Governor Hassan Announces Partnership to Enhance High-Speed Broadband in New Hampshire Schools

 CONCORD – As part of her efforts to ensure a strong K-12 public school system that helps students develop the skills and innovative thinking needed for success in the 21st century, Governor Maggie Hassan and New Hampshire Department of Education (DOE) Commissioner Virginia Barry announced a new partnership – the New Hampshire School Connectivity Initiative (NHSCI) – aimed at enhancing access to high-speed broadband at New Hampshire’s K-12 public schools.


“Ensuring that our students have the skills and innovative thinking needed for good jobs in the 21st century economy is critical to New Hampshire’s future, and access to high-speed broadband is a critical tool in preparing our young people for success,” Governor Hassan said. “Broadband is an essential component of a modern economy’s infrastructure, and by expanding access to broadband in K-12 public schools throughout New Hampshire, the New Hampshire School Connectivity Initiative will open doors for our students and broaden educational opportunities across all curriculum, including critical STEM areas, helping to better prepare them for future success.”


Led by DOE’s Office of Educational Technology, NHSCI is a collaboration between DOE, the New Hampshire Department of Information Technology, the New Hampshire Department of Resources and Economic Development, and the University of New Hampshire.


In order to meet K-12 connectivity goals and ensure that all New Hampshire public school students have the opportunity to engage in digital learning, NHSCI will facilitate statewide K-12 fiber network discussions with school districts, service providers, and partner organizations; maximize discounted communication services provided to schools and libraries across the state through Federal Communication Commission’s E-Rate funding program; and continue efforts to analyze and strengthen a comprehensive K-12 connectivity report.


The initiative has also signed an agreement with EducationSuperHighway, a nonprofit organization that supports increased broadband connectivity in public schools and will provide its services free of charge to NHSCI to help New Hampshire’s K-12 schools and districts connect to scalable high-speed broadband.


“Improving connectivity to schools and libraries across the state will enhance e-learning and online content, which can provide more personalized learning opportunities for students,” said Commissioner of Education, Virginia M. Barry, Ph.D. “Broadband can also facilitate the flow of information, helping teachers, parents, schools and other organizations to make better decisions tied to each student’s needs and abilities.”


Republicans In The NH Senate Kill Two Bills Designed To Help Working Families

2015-03-26 Senate Passes SB136 3

Senate Passes SB136 (2015-03-26). Image by Marc Nozell Flickr CC

The NH Senate Republicans strike back against working families.

Today, Republicans in the NH Senate voted to send two new bills to an “interim study” or in laymen’s terms killing the bills for the rest of this session.  Both bills were killed by Republicans straight down party lines with one exception.

SB 479 would have created a tax credit for businesses who implement employee profit sharing. This bill would encourage more New Hampshire companies to give back to their workers through profit sharing. Corporations like Market Basket proudly give back to their workers through profit sharing creating a very loyal and dedicated workforce that gets extra benefits from their hard work. 

“Once again, the Senate has turned its back on hard working New Hampshire families. Even though our economy continues to improve and jobs are coming back to the state, incomes are not rising for our workers. This legislation was an innovative way to encourage businesses to share their profits with their employees,” said Senator David Pierce. “I’m very disappointed that my Republican colleagues again chose to reward bigger corporate profits rather than increasing workers wages. Just last year, we came to a compromise to cut corporate taxes for those at the top, yet today we rejected a common sense approach to help increase wages for those in the middle.” 

Senate Bill 479 creates a tax credit against the business taxes for companies that implement employee profit-sharing. Under this legislation, the tax credit would be available for each qualified employee of up to 15 percent of the compensation paid as profits in which employees share. There would also be a cap of 10 percent of the employee’s wages. 

“Profit-sharing gives everyone a stake in a company’s success, boosts productivity, and puts more money directly into employee’s pockets. This legislation is good for workers and good for businesses. Employee-profit sharing is a practice we should be encouraging in our state and rewarding businesses for implementing a profit-sharing plan supports both our workers and businesses.”

SB 511 would have established a refund of a portion of state education property taxes for child and dependent care expenses. 22 states have already adopted a similar supplement to the Federal Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit. If SB 511 had become law, families who claim the Federal Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit would be eligible for a property tax refund of 50% of the federal amount. 

Republican Senator Gerald Little (R-Weare) was the only Republican to stand up for working families and voted to support SB 511.

“Once again, the Senate has chosen to maintain the status quo rather than do something to help hard-working Granite State families. Child care is one of the largest costs for families in New Hampshire and SB 511 would have helped reduce that cost,” said Senator Andrew Hosmer (D-Laconia). “If we can afford to give businesses tax breaks like we did last year, we can certainly afford to help our hard working families.” 

“Not only would this legislation help reduce the cost of child care for our families, but it helps New Hampshire’s businesses retain good employees who might otherwise have to choose between working and taking care of their children and encourages our economy to grow. New Hampshire’s working families need state government to be responsive to the rising costs of child care services and I’m disappointed that the Republican majority voted against reducing the cost of affordable child care for Granite Staters.”

Republicans are always claiming they want to reduce taxes for working families and for local businesses but when push comes to shove they fold like a cheap suit.

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