Divisive Concepts in Schools
In 2021, the Right to Freedom from Discrimination in Public Workplaces and Education was signed into law in New Hampshire as part of the budget package. The law prevents important discussions in our classrooms about racism, sexism, and inclusion, among other so-called ‘divisive concepts.’
Teachers who violate this law face the loss of their teaching licensing and jobs, however, the current law is vague on what specifically what teachers can and cannot teach.
A 2023 house bill (HB 61) looks to provide much-needed clarity to the law. As written, HB 61 proposes that teachers cannot suffer the loss of licensing or their jobs for teaching about the historical or current experiences of any group that is protected from discrimination.
New Futures supports HB 61. There is clear evidence that inequities disproportionately affect the well-being of populations protected against discrimination in New Hampshire. These disparities can negatively impact access to education, childcare, housing, and other social determinants of health.
To address the issues surrounding inequity, it’s critical that all Granite Staters, especially students, are welcome and encouraged to explore the historical, cultural, and institutional forces that created and continue to reinforce them each day.
Learning about these issues and exploring them in the classroom or the workplace is necessary for our state to become the safe, healthy, and equitable place we all envision.
A hearing took place on HB 61 on Thursday, January 12th at the State House. Over 50 people, including New Futures, provided public testimony at the House Education committee hearing. Additionally, 1,203 people virtually signed-in in support of the bill and 71 people in opposition. The bill came out of committee without a recommendation and stalled on the House floor. The bill will not progress this session.