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NEA-NH President Testifies on Three Bills

NEA New Hampshire Scott McGilvray testified on three bills before House Committees this morning, HB 253, HB 347 and HB 324. HB 253 would require all new public charter school applications to provide an educational mission statement that includes details of the specific purpose and goals of the school. The educational mission statement shall “count for not less than 25 percent in the criteria for evaluating a chartered public school application. The mission statement shall make a clear and documented case that the proposed school will meet a need not currently

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NEA President’s Letter to Secretary Duncan

NEA President Lily Eskelsen-Garcia sent a letter to Secretary Duncan this morning outlining NEA’s ask for an opportunity dashboard within ESEA.  This is a huge priority for NEA for the next reauthorization of ESEA.  “When half of American children are now living in low-income families, I believe we have more than just the fierce urgency of now to act. I believe we have a crisis of opportunity to solve,” the letter says.   January 26, 2015 The Honorable Arne Duncan Secretary of Education 400 Maryland Avenue SW LBJ Education Building,

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Bipartisan Proposal Reduces Federally-mandated Tests

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 21, 2015 Educators: students need time to learn and foster creativity Bipartisan proposal would reduce federally-mandated tests to ensure greater educational opportunity for all students WASHINGTON— U.S. Representatives Chris Gibson, Republican of New York, and Kyrsten Sinema, Democrat of Arizona, today introduced a bill to bring much-needed relief to students from the federally-mandated testing required by No Child Left Behind (NCLB). The Student Testing Improvement and Accountability Act would reduce the current federal role in testing by more than fifty percent, and, instead, restore “grade span testing,” which would occur both in English and Math once in elementary school, once in middle school and once in high school. Congress began in earnest the process to reauthorize the federal law this past week. NCLB more than doubled the number of high-stakes tests

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The #1 Way Educators Can Stay Healthy This Winter

Reduce sick days for your students and yourself with these tips to reinforce healthy habits. Schools are a breeding ground for stomach flu, colds, viruses and other bugs, especially during the cold winter months when students (and educators) spend most of their time inside. “Being cooped up inside with many other people is a natural incubator for recycling germs,” explains Victor Sierpina, MD, professor of integrative medicine at University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas. Since children share books, computers, pens and pencils as they do schoolwork, there’s a good chance they’re also sharing viral and bacterial illnesses. The good news: Navigating the winter season doesn’t have to mean dealing with colds and flu. Sure, sickness can spread like wildfire throughout a school, but healthy habits can, too. In

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Are You Missing Out on These Educator Tax Deductions?

Read this before you file your tax return. We’ll help you claim your educator deductions so you can get back as much money as possible. Two years ago the prospect of going over the fiscal cliff kept everybody on tenterhooks about what their tax deductions would be. A last-minute tax bill preserved many of the tax benefits NEA members have come to rely on, but many were extended for the 2012 and 2013 tax years only. “We had that same suspense again this year,” says Jackie Perlman, principal tax research analyst at H&R Block’s Tax Institute. Congress did act in the final days of 2014 to pass the so-called tax extenders, but only retroactive to the 2014 tax year. This covered some 50 expired tax benefits, including a few in particular that

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From Member Benefits: 10 Financial To Do’s for 2015

Take these steps soon and you’ll improve your finances for the entire year. By Kimberly Lankford Early in the new year is a great time to take advantage of new opportunities to save and improve your finances. Here are 10 financial moves to make in the next few months. 1. Stash more money in your retirement accounts. The new year brings new contribution limits for 401(k)s, 403(b)s, 457s and the federal government’s Thrift Savings Plan. Maximum contributions rise by $500, to $18,000, in 2015, and you can add an extra $6,000 (up from $5,500) if you’re 50 or older anytime during the year—even if your birthday is months away. It’s also a good time to decide whether to contribute some or all of that money to a Roth 401(k) (or

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NEA-NH President Testifies in Favor of HB116

NEA New Hampshire President Scott McGilvray testified in front of the House Education Committee this morning regarding HB-116, a bill to return the probationary period for New Hampshire educators back to three years.  Here is a transcript of his comments: It is fitting that HB116 is the first bill your committee is considering since it addresses what is widely acknowledged as the most important predictor of student success: qualified teachers in every classroom. Restoring the probationary period to 3 years is a major step forward in ensuring that caring, qualified educators see New Hampshire as a place to call home, and ensuring that those who are not performing successfully do not remain in the classroom. This is not, as some have painted it, a tenure issue. The fact is there

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NEA-NH Sponsors Granite State Challenge; Premiers Feb 7

(DURHAM, January 14, 2015 ) – In the wake of competitive play-off matches, Goffstown High School and Kennett High School emerged victorious to join the 2015 season of GRANITE STATE CHALLENGE.  Sixteen New Hampshire high school teams will compete in the 31st season of GRANITE STATE CHALLENGE, New Hampshire Public Television’s high school quiz competition which premieres February 7th at 6 PM on NHPTV PRIME. In November, 54 high schools competed at Plymouth State University for the chance to play in this season of GRANITE STATE CHALLENGE. The bracket consists of the top-scoring 14 teams, and the winners of the play-off matches between Goffstown High School and Mascoma High School, and Kennett High School and Stevens High School. The final 16 teams competing this season are: Academy for Science and

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NH Supreme Court Rules Retirement Benefits Not a Contract

Legislature Can Change Terms At Will “Today the New Hampshire Supreme Court ruled that the legislature never intended to create a contract with public employees when it created the New Hampshire Retirement System and designed the benefits provided by the system. The Court held that because of this, the legislature can change the design of retirement benefits at any time prior to an employee’s retirement. The decision raises many questions about how educators pension’s will be calculated and what their benefits will be upon retirement. Because of this, it is difficult to provide our members with details about benefit changes at this time. NEA-NH leaders have already consulted with our New Hampshire Retirement Security Coalition allies and with the attorney who represented us in this case. Following a meeting on

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