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NHSTE Advocacy Notes - May 2021

04 May 2021 6:19 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

$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.”


Two FCC commissioners, Geoffrey Starks and Jessica Rosenworcel, discussed the Homework Gap” where $7.1B will be allocated through the E-Rate fund. We provided input on what should be included and how to distribute it through E-Rate. On May 10th, the FCC will announce how these dollars will be allocated. The CCSSO Report: “Restart & Recovery: Home Digital Access Data Collection: Blueprint for State Education Leaders” was frequently referenced where a set of common elements for collecting data about student home digital access are outlined.

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.

Kathleen McClaskey, NHSTE's Advocacy Chair

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