State: The House and Senate are meeting on Wednesday, January 5, to vote on outstanding bills from the 2021 session. The House will be voting on HB 607, the local school voucher bill, which the House Education Committee voted along party lines to recommend passing. The bill would undercut our public schools and communities, and divert taxpayer funds to pay for school vouchers totaling up to $41,000 per student, per year. (Source: NH Education Network)
State: Join Reaching Higher NH on Monday, June 7 at 3 p.m. for a webinar examining the proposed state budget. They will walk through the big education-related issues, including the voucher proposal, statewide property tax (SWEPT), school funding, higher education and school building aid. There will be open space for questions and discussion. Webinar is free but you must Register.
On Wednesday, May 26, the Senate Finance Committeevoted 5-2 to include SB 130, theschool voucher bill, in the larger state budget package. The proposal, which isheavily opposed by Granite Staters, would use public taxpayer dollars to fund private and homeschooling expenses through “Education Freedom Accounts,” or vouchers.
Federal: The U.S. Department of Education (U.S. DOE) released afact sheetlast week that aims to provide guidance on federal relief funds for schools. The fact sheet also explains funding for specific subgroups of students, methods for making subgrants, and timelines for distributing and using the funds.
Attended the New Hampshire Education Network meeting last month (May 3rd) representing NHSTE. A legislative update was reviewed and discussed at this meeting that included representatives from educational and business organizations.
$315,451,470 to be distributed to NH LEA’s from the ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOL EMERGENCY RELIEF FUND (ARPESSER). USDOE Fact sheet on the use of these funds can be located HERE. One of the options on the list is: “purchasing educational technology (including hardware, software, connectivity, assistive technology, and adaptive equipment) for students that aids in regular and substantive educational interaction between students and their classroom instructors, including students from low-income families and children with disabilities.”
FCC program: Please share with NH families:
The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program is aFederal Communications Commission (FCC) program that provides a temporary discount on monthly broadband bills for qualifying low-income households. As of May 12, 2021, eligible households will be able to enroll in the program to receive a monthly discount off the cost of broadband service from an approved provider. Eligible households can enroll through an approved provider or by visitinghttps://getemergencybroadband.org.
State Report: (Refer to http://reachinghighernh.org/2021/04/26/nh-education-roundup-april-26-2021/)
In a recent report from Reaching Higher NH, SB 130, the statewide school voucher bill, could disproportionately affect rural districts, districts that serve large proportions of low-income students, and districts that have lower capacity to raise revenue through taxes (often referred to as “property-poor” communities). SB 130 would create taxpayer-funded “Education Freedom Accounts” for low- and moderate-income families to use for private school and homeschool expenses. The bill was passed by the Senate last month, then laid on the table with the expectation that it would be included in the state’s 2022-2023 budget “trailer” bill, HB 2. Last chance for public input on that budget is May 4th, 1pm or 6pm.
New Hampshire Education Network was launched in March by the Reaching Higher NH team. The network is a group of educators, elected officials, parents, community leaders and members of the public who share an interest in public education. Each month they provide updates and information on key education issues and conduct small-group discussions. Register to be part of the network here.
The effects of COVID-19 on students and families require district leaders to collaborate with local stakeholders — including administrators, classroom teachers, school support staff, parents, and students — to plan strategic actions that allow digital learning to effectively and equitably continue into the summer and beyond.
The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), Turnaround for Children, the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD), the Future of Privacy Forum (FPF), and the New Hampshire Society for Technology in Education (NHSTE) — who are members of the broader COVID-19 Education Coalition— provide three key considerations that districts must keep in mind as they build immediate and long-term plans:equitable infrastructure, active digital learning content, and educator capacity building. See the new resource here.
Kathleen McClaskey, NHSTE's Advocacy Chair
Do you have . . .
One minute? Tweet! Enter your zip code at tweetcongress.org to find the Twitter handle of your U.S. representative and send him/her a tweet. Be sure to include your city and state and use the hashtag: #edtech
Two minutes? Spread the word. Send a customizable letter or email through the ISTE Take Action webpage and share this website with 5 friends:
Five minutes? Develop an effective elevator speech. Imagine yourself in a situation where you unexpectedly are in contact with someone who could be very effective in raising support for educational technology. You have less than a minute to make a positive impression on this person. Learn how to make a compelling case.
Fifteen minutes? Educate yourself and join the conversation. Read the latest advocacy news and articles about detect from ISTE. https://www.iste.org/advocacy/news
Sixty minutes or more? Get involved with the advocacy activities for your state’s ISTE Affiliate. Join their Advocacy Committee. If they don’t have one, start one. Set up a meeting with a policy maker or their staff locally. Can’t get to D.C.? That’s okay. Policy makers have offices throughout the state and they or their staff will meet with you. It’s a great way to share your expertise and become the go-to person for advice.
Anyone interested in working on any of the NHSTE Advocacy goals or joining the NHSTE Advocacy Committee, please contact Kathleen McClaskey at email@example.com.