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Hassan vetoes common core opt-out

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Last week Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) vetoed HB 603, a bill that would allow students to opt-out of statewide assessments.

The bill was motivated by opposition to the Common Core curriculum.  This year New Hampshire rolled out the Smarter Balanced assessment tests based on Common Core.

Some school boards sent a letter to parents in 2015 asserting parents' right to remove their children from the tests.  However, state and federal law requires test participation, which is linked to federal funding.

"House Bill 603 would conflict with current state educational accountability laws, undercut one of the tools that educators use to evaluate K-12 student progress, and jeopardize federal funding for New Hampshire schools," Hassan wrote in her veto message.

Bill supporters do not believe the federal government would ever withdraw funding, however.  They believe parents have the right to opt their children out of any aspect of education they find objectionable.

"Other states are allowing parents to exempt their children from testing without any loss in federal funds," said Rep. Ralph G. Boehm.

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