HB 1517-FN-L (2012, failed*) prohibiting state participation in No Child Left Behind Act without prior approval of the general court.

posted Dec 15, 2011, 10:16 AM by Bill Duncan   [ updated Apr 2, 2012, 5:50 AM ]
Docket 2/8/12 Laid on the table by a voice vote

DNHPE Comment:  Rep. Balboni goes it alone again. Another bill with the same purpose has may sponsors.  His goes further in allocating all educational authority to the Legislature (see II, below) and is full of rhetoric about power and rights.

Is has the same fiscal impact as the other one, though: $61 million annual loss to the state.

Here is useful discussion of Wisconsin's waiver application and the changes it will involve.
Here is the NH DOE press release saying that the state will not apply for a waiver and an EdWeek article about it..
Here is the Nashua Telegraph coverage, 2/7/12
Here is AP coverage, 2/6/12

House Education Committee Hearing, 1/17/12
In his testimony on the bill, Rep. Balboni made emphasized that his bill allowed the Legislature to negotiate and reach agreement with the federal government about taking federal money for a specific program, while not acknowledging the low probability that the current Legislature would ever reach agreement with the federal government on accepting money and obligations from the federal government and vote, as the bill requires, to accept the program.

House Education Committee Chair. Michael Balboni ‎(R, Nashua)‎ on giving up $61 million in federal education funding is no problem

When asked about the $61 billion cost of giving up No Child Left Behind, Rep. Balboni said that, out of self interest, the DOE misrepresented the realities in the Fiscal Note.  They failed to make a "complete" fiscal note.  

"Sometimes a department because of their vested interest in maintaining the status quo or paying their employees or whatever - and they're opposed to the bill because it would directly affect their money flow - they will write a Fiscal Note that looks so onerous that, my goodness, the Legislature would never approve of that just because  of the cost to the state.....

"What they don't show is, because of all the strings attached for these programs, how much state and local money also has to be raised in order to make up the difference to fully fund all these programs with all these strings attached.  And also, it doesn't include the possibility that the Legislature might actually approve of all of these programs in the future...so the real long term cost of this bill might be very much less than the $61 million....So it's a little disingenuous for the Department to come up with a Fiscal Note that is so one sided and doesn't really show the entire picture.

Rep. Ladd asks, basically, what we're going to do to replace the dollars school districts have had for 50 years and would lose if we dropped out of No Child Left Behind?

Rep. Balboni answers that in his research he discovered that the federal budget is a year-to-year affair, that the federal dollars projected into the future in the Fiscal Note are not actually guaranteed.  (8:40).  

"So from year to year at the state, we're not really sure that we're going to get that money the following year.  And even if we're sure that we might get some money, we're not assured that we're going to get the same amount that year.  So, when we look at these dollars....if the state and/or the local folks have become dependent on this money, and they've added all these new programs and hired more personnel in the hope that they'll continue to get this funding - there's never been a guarantee from the federal government that they'll get it next year.  

"So some changes might have to take place.  Just like when we as a legislature make a budget every two years.  Some programs get money, some programs don't get money.  Some programs get less money than they anticipated...they have to make changes.  

"But that's been going on in our education system since the beginning of time.  We don't still have the one room schoolhouse. .....but it's still up to the local district how much they want to spend on education.  And what do they want to spend it on.  

And if the federal government doesn't provide them that money, the local folks who decided they want that program gotta be willing to pay for it.

SPONSORS: Rep. Balboni, Hills 21
COMMITTEE: Education

This bill:

I. Declares that all agreements, contracts, and memoranda of understanding involving the state board of education and the federal government regarding the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and its successor, the No Child Left Behind Act, are terminated.

II. Requires any future agreements, contracts, or memoranda of understanding entered into by the state of New Hampshire and the United States government regarding any aspect of early childhood, elementary, or secondary education to be approved by an act of the general court.

The Department of Education states this bill will decrease state restricted revenue, state expenditures, and local revenue by $61,607,122 in FY 2013 and each year thereafter. There will be no fiscal impact on county revenue, or county or local expenditures.

DNHPE Comment:  The following excerpt from the bill is particularly interesting.  This, framed as a criticism of NCLB, is actually  a full indictment of American Education.  The response the bill provides is to walk away from the whole public education effort.    

Looking at (d) and (e), just taken together, the author of the bill is basically giving a benediction over American education, saying that it has failed (not "is failing, we need to do something about it") and "has failed to empower parents to select for their children the best academic opportunities, including alternatives to the traditional school setting."

So there you have it in a nutshell: The public system has failed.  Parents need to seek alternatives.

"V. The federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, also known as the “No Child Left Behind Act of 2001”:

(a) Usurped the traditional authority of the state, local school districts, parents, and teachers regarding education policy.
(b) Failed to ensure that its mandates and regulations were fully funded by the federal government, resulting in significantly increased financial burdens on the state, local school districts, and taxpayers.
(c) Encouraged the state to lower the minimum threshold on its standardized tests to avoid federal sanctions for not meeting “adequate yearly progress.”
(d) Failed to increase overall student academic achievement relative to other industrialized nations.
(e) Failed in its goal to provide significant educational options and to truly empower parents to select for their children the best academic opportunities, including alternatives to the traditional school setting.

(f) Failed to ensure that taxpayer funds went only to programs proven to increase student mastery of core subjects.
(g) Failed to improve the state university system whereby the teachers of our future teachers instruct in time proven methods of teaching.
(h) Expanded an overly burdensome education system while failing to increase our national competitiveness.
(i) Failed to implement the highest competency and accountability standards for our teachers and students.
(j) Failed to ensure assessments of subject mastery by students were easily comparable to international assessments."