In case you missed it, Seacoast Online published a story that demonstrates the devastating effects of the NH GOP’s continued attacks on our public education on New Hampshire youth, educators, and our ability to attract and retain quality teachers.
From his signing of the NH GOP’s curriculum ban to his refusal to take action to protect the safety of New Hampshire students and educators, Governor Sununu’s failure is going to cost Granite State students a quality education.
The past decade has seen a decline in the number of students finishing education degrees in New Hampshire. According to federal Title II Higher Education Act reports, during the 2011-2012 school year, 1,050 out of 2,874 education students completed their degrees.
In 2021, Republican Gov. Chris Sununu signed legislation known as the "divisive concepts" bill, though that phrase was not in the final version of the bill. The state law bans certain teachings around race and class in public schools.
The American Civil Liberties Union and the state's two largest teachers unions sued the state over the law, claiming it has a "chilling" effect on teachers talking in the classroom about privilege, oppression and bias. The lawsuit is ongoing with oral arguments expected in August or September.
Aubin said because of this law, her school made the decision to disallow teachers from showcasing any flag besides the American flag in their classroom, such as Black Lives Matter and LGBTQ+ flags.
When it came time for Aubin to start a unit in her freshman class on “To Kill a Mockingbird,” she felt she could not have an open class discussion about the topic of racism.
“It made it really hard, and it made me legitimately scared,” Aubin said. “I didn't feel comfortable having those conversations because I didn't want to get in trouble … it was heartbreaking and infuriating at the same time.”
Coppens said, “I'm concerned about the current and future realities for New Hampshire teachers and what some of the events, policies and laws in New Hampshire and economic realities might mean for us being able to continue to recruit teachers into the education profession."
Badeau also voiced concern about his own future as a teacher.“I worry about facing discrimination in my classroom for being Black and trans, and I worry about my students potentially facing discrimination for being any sort of minority," he said. "I worry about not being able to freely discuss what my students are interested in learning. I worry about all the mass shootings that have been happening in schools and one day my classroom falling into the list of (so many) others. I worry about not being able to teach curriculum that I’m passionate about in order to please the school board. But mostly, I worry about my students resenting education and learning.”
“If we don't make New Hampshire a desirable place for young families with young children early in their careers, we threaten the economic viability of the state," Coppens said. "And from a social justice perspective, we threaten to further marginalize rural and other disadvantaged communities in New Hampshire by not providing this high quality basic social service that's been a foundation of American democracy for ages, which is, public education. Public education is an equity promoter. And for that reason, it is, I think, a really important leg in the stool in our overall democracy.”
Read the full article here.