This past week there were several hearings regarding the Common Core Standards and the Smarter Balance Assessment with several others scheduled for this coming week. AFT-NH knows that a recent AFT poll found that 75 Percent of teachers support the new standards, but it also found that they have not had enough time to understand them, put them into practice or discuss them with colleagues.
If these standards are to work we need to ensure that in each district the following are in place when implementing the Standards:
• 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,
• 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,
• Develop best practices and strategies alone 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,
• 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 need to be offered,
• We need to develop tools to track individual student progress on key Standards.
We also know that:
States and districts must work with teachers to develop a high quality curriculum and professional development, provide students with the time needed to try out new methods of teaching to the standards in their classrooms, commit financial resources to ensure success, and engage parents and the community.
When assessing students, we need to make sure these tests inform teaching, not impede teaching and learning. All children deserve a rich, meaningful public education that prepares them for the opportunities, responsibilities and challenges that await them as they become contributing members of a democratic society. Growing our nation’s future citizens and workers is a serious undertaking that calls for a thoughtful focus on teaching and learning. Since the implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act, the growing fixation on high-stakes testing has undermined that focus, putting at grave risk our students’ learning and their ability to meet the demands of the 21st-century economy and fulfill their personal goals.
We believe in assessments that support teaching and learning, and that are aligned 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. Development and implementation of such tests must be age appropriate for the students, and teachers need to have appropriate computers to administer such assessments. Because each district is at different stages in their teacher/staff development and student curriculum changes that meet Common Core Standards and the assessment of their students, the Department of Education should waive the Smarter Balance testing deadline for at least another two years.
Further, we believe that assessments designed to support teaching and learning 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. We know that collaboration with educators is necessary to ensure that high-quality instruction and content are given their proper emphasis.
UPCOMING HOUSE VOTES WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 12, 2014
The House Legislative Administration Committee made a recommendation of ought to pass with an amendment on HB 1122-FN, establishing the crime of filing false lien statements against public officials and employees. Rep. Joel F Winters states “this bill as amended would make it a crime to file a fraudulent lien. These fraudulent liens can take considerable time and money to clear up, and could prevent someone from buying or selling a home. The register of deeds would still accept the document but would have discretion about filing it if the lien was clearly fraudulent. AFT-NH is in support of the Committee’s recommendation and asks that it be supported.
The House EducationCommittee recommended that HB 1105-FN-L, relative to aid to school districts for costs of special education, Ought to Pass. AFT-NH supports this recommendation because it lifts the current cap of 72% on catastrophic special education funds and fully funds it. With this cap of 72% the state has downshifted roughly $8 million to communities. Catastrophic aid is a state fund that helps local district with exorbitant special education costs for our severely disabled children.
The House Education Committee also made a recommendation of ought to pass on HB 1114-FN, relative to limits on state expenditures for school building aid. AFT-NH is in support of this bill. It puts a floor to building aid not a cap. For the past six years many district have not been able to afford to complete upgrades, repairs or construct new buildings because of the cost. Keep in mind 50% of our school buildings are over 60 years old and many need infrastructure upgrades necessary for a 21st century learning environment.
The House Executive Departments and Administration committee recommended referring to interim study HB 1148-FN, relative to the reduction in the calculation of state retirement system annuities at age 65. Rep. Jeffrey P. Goley stated: “In 1988, the legislature decoupled group I pension benefits from Social Security, but left a statutory pension reduction of approximately 10 percent that took effect upon reaching the age of 65, then the full retirement age for Social Security. The normal retirement age for Social Security has now been increased to age 67. This bill would change the statutory reference from age 65 to “the members full retirement age for Social Security.”Committee members felt more time was needed to study if the intent in 1988 was to mirror the normal retirement age for Social Security.”AFT-NH would have liked a recommendation of ought to pass, as we understand the hardship this 10% reduction places on our retirees who have not received a cost of living adjustment in several years.
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UPCOMING HEARINGS WEEK OF FEBRUARY 10TH
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 11
CHILDREN AND FAMILY LAW, Room 206, LOB
9:00 a.m. Subcommittee work session: HB 1260-FN-L, relative to communication of the cost of services provided under the children in need of services (CHINS) program to parents.
1:00 p.m. Executive session: HB 1198, relative to the procedure for filing children in need of services (CHINS) petition,
CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND PUBLIC SAFETY, Room 204, LOB
1:00 p.m. Executive session: HB 1550, permitting the audio and video recording of a public official while in the course of his or her official duties,
EDUCATION, Room 207, LOB
9:00 a.m. Subcommittee work session: HB 1449, relative to the requirements for filing a charter school application,
HB 1298, relative to additional criteria for review of chartered public school applications,
HB 1141, requiring chartered public schools to share enrollment information with school districts.
10:00 a.m. HB 1432, delaying implementation of certain statewide assessments and studying the effects of delaying implementation of certain curriculum changes in the public schools.
11:30 a.m. Continued public hearing: HB 1252, establishing a committee to study and propose a recodification of the education laws currently in RSA title 15.
1:15 p.m. Executive session on
HB 1132-FN, relative to school building inventory reports,
HB1377, authorizing conferral of degrees by private entities,
HB 1388, relative to student religious liberties,
HB 1397, establishing a committee to study whether the department of education is operating within its statutory authority,
HB 1463, relative to the definitions of “priority school” and “focus school.”,
HB 1469, requiring each school district to establish a special education parent advisory council,
HB 1534, establishing a commission to study fiscal disparities between public school districts, Continued executive session: HB 1180, relative to days of school.
ELECTION LAW, Room 308, LOB
11:00 a.m. Executive session on
HB 1462-FN, relative to electioneering by public employees,
LABOR, INDUSTRIAL AND REHABILITATIVE SERVICES, Rooms 305-307, LOB
10:15 a.m. HB 1403-FN, establishing a state minimum hourly wage.
1:00 p.m. HB 1349, relative to the definition of independent contractor.
2:30 p.m. Full committee work session: HB 1228, establishing a commission to investigate the procedure for public employee collective bargaining.
2:45 p.m. Executive session on
HB 1188, relative to paycheck equity,
HB 1404, relative to payroll cards,
HB 1405, prohibiting an employer from using credit history in employment decisions,
HB 1407, relative to privacy in the workplace,
HB 1592-FN, relative to requiring prevailing wages on state-funded public works projects
WAYS AND MEANS, Room 202, LOB
10:00 a.m. Full committee work session: HB 1633-FN-A-L, relative to expanded gaming in New Hampshire.
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 12
10:00 a.m. House in Session
Senate EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND ADMINISTRATION,Room 100, SH
9:00 a.m. SB 364, relative to group II service retirement allowances and relative to establishing a supplemental savings plan in the retirement system.
9:45 a.m. SB 398, relative to employment negotiations between the state and individual bargaining units.
LEGISLATIVE ADMINISTRATION, Room 104, LOB
12:00 p.m. or at the lunch break from session.
Executive session: HB 1207, relative to identification of the source of legislative bill proposals,
HB 1440-FN, including the writing, promoting, or distributing of model legislation to elected officials as lobbying and requiring disclosure of scholarship funds, money, or other financial support received from such lobbyists by elected officials,
HB 1551, relative to the employment of elected officials
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 13
10:00 a.m. Senate in Session
EDUCATION, Room 207, LOB
9:00 a.m. Subcommittee work session: HB 1212, relative to social media privacy in higher education,
HB 1200, relative to student social media policies by educational institutions,
HB 1128, establishing a committee to study issues related to students receiving special education services while attending a chartered public school,
HB 1393-FN-L, relative to tuition payments for students attending a chartered public school in the student’s district of residence,
HB 1392-FN-L, removing the restriction on the number of pupils eligible to transfer to a chartered public school.
1:15 p.m. Rescheduled public hearing: HB 1586-FN, relative to student and teacher information protection and privacy.
2:00 p.m. Rescheduled public hearing: HB 1587-FN-L, relative to the collection and disclosure of pupil data.
2:30 p.m. Rescheduled public hearing: HB 1238, relative to access to assessment materials.
3:00 p.m. HB 1508 termination of state participation in the common core educational standards.
FINANCE – (DIVISION II), Room 209, LOB
11:00 a.m. Work session: HB 435-FN, relative to funding for chartered public school pupils.
WAYS AND MEANS, Room 206, LOB
9:30 a.m. Full committee work session: HB 1633-FN-A-L, relative to expanded gaming in New Hampshire.