Forum for June 8, 2024: Untrained teachers

Published: 06-07-2024 3:46 PM

Why hire untrained teachers?

House Bill 1298 would allow adults working fewer than 30 hours a week to teach in New Hampshire without credentials if they pass a criminal background check. Anyone with a revoked teaching license cannot be hired.

Would you let an untrained, unlicensed electrician, dentist, orthopedic surgeon or plumber work on your body or in your home? Why would New Hampshire legislators accept unlicensed adults to spend 30 hours a week with New Hampshire’s children?

Minimum requirements to teach in the state’s public schools include graduation with a bachelor’s degree from an approved college or university, continuing staff development and supervised teaching experience. A three-year Experienced Educator Certificate, includes a minimum of three years of full-time teaching at K-12 levels, appropriate course work and completion of any requirements of the local district.

A Master Teacher Certificate, includes at least seven years of full-time teaching in an area of study and additional qualifications of graduate level coursework and administrative assessment.

Finally, student teaching is required of all licensed New Hampshire educators. A full semester of successful, supervised training and observation approved by college-level professional educators is required.

Why should anyone without this level of training be allowed to teach our children?

Melinda Stucker


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Leave sidewalks to pedestrians

This past month was the worst incursion of non-pedestrian uses of Hanover sidewalks and crosswalks that I have seen in the 23 years I’ve lived and/or worked in Hanover. On May 1, both my 90-year-old client and I, on separate occasions and places in downtown Hanover, had to dodge motorized contraptions on the sidewalk. Additionally, I often see adult bicyclists switching from traveling via roadway to crosswalk to sidewalk and then back to roadway, sometimes riding against the flow of traffic of both automobiles and other bicyclists.

As a caregiver, I often wonder what it must be like for drivers with slower reflexes than me to deal with distracted walkers and people on all sorts of wheeled conveyances darting across roadways. Lately, as I daily drive through Hanover, I’ve kept track of how many people fail to respect the simple idea that sidewalks and crosswalks are for pedestrians. I always see at least one infraction, sometimes dozens more.

If there are bicycles, scooters or skateboards on a sidewalk or in a crosswalk the adult riders should be walking beside them. Unlike a change in infrastructure and vehicle designs, this one simple community-minded idea could be encouraged immediately. In fact, the town has posted numerous eye-catching signs informing and even illustrating, one of their ordinances regarding sidewalk usage. However, many members of the public repeatedly fail to respect others by adhering to the ordinance. By failing to follow this common sense rule, we create safety hazards for others, especially the most vulnerable in our midst.

Lori Harriman


Precedent for Lebanon tax bill

Imagine the shock to Lebanon homeowners when they picked up the Valley News and saw the city manager “warning” us of “an unprecedented (9%) increase” in local property tax bills (“Lebanon warns taxpayers to budget for larger bills”; May 29).

Unprecedented? Is the city manager’s memory failing him? Was it not just a year and a half ago (December 2022) that the city manager and council finalized a municipal budget that was a 38% increase from the previous year (see official city website for 2023, pg 16)? Does he not recall that this was also the year the city jacked up local homeowners’ property valuations by 20-25%? At that time, we were reassured that the tax rate would go down commensurately to balance the new assessments. Only that rate did not go down, so taxes for homeowners went up 20%, or more. Just 18 months ago.

This, on top of the pandemic, was an “unprecedented” body blow to homeowners, especially senior homeowners like myself and many others, living on fixed incomes. My tax bill went up 20% and is now over $10,000 per year. How much more of this out-of-control spending can we take? Eight new firemen and $30,000 “bonuses” to lure even more policemen into the bloated police department.

Clearly, the city manager is out of touch with his community, and reality. He does not have to worry about paying his own taxes, as he also increased the budget for his own department that year (2023) by 16%, to $1,489,480. I recall fondly, not so long ago as a reporter covering city hall, when Philip Richards ran things, with help from his secretary Ruth Ploof. That was it. Two people. How many do they have in there now? I don’t know, as their offices are hidden away in a secret sanctum in the renovated City Hall, unlike Phil and Ruth, who were always friendly and accessible.

So this body blow to homeowners that you are threatening is not “unprecedented,” Mr. Mulholland. It’s more of the same.

Dick Nelson