From the HSLDA E-lert Service:


8/15/2002 5:06:38 PM
Scott A. Woodruff, Esq., Staff Attorney of HSLDA
Maine--Handling Changes to Chapter 130 Regulations

From the HSLDA E-lert Service...

August 15, 2002

Dear HSLDA Members,

As you probably know, this year there is no 60-day automatic
"approval" for chapter 130 home schoolers.

Previously, every home schooler was automatically "approved" if he
heard nothing back from the Commissioner 60 days after filing a
notice of equivalent instruction. This rule provided a safe harbor
and protected families from a slow or unresponsive bureaucracy.

Under the new rule, which the Commissioner adopted against the
overwhelming objection of the home school community, you will not
know if your home school is "approved" if the Commissioner has not
replied after 60 days. This is because the rule states that only
"complete" notices are automatically "approved" after 60 days, but
does not require the Commissioner to tell families whether or not the
notice is complete.

Maine is one of only 4 states that follow the outdated practice of
demanding home schoolers obtain prior "approval" from the government.
Without this "approval", parents may be subject to a charge of
violating the compulsory attendance law. If you hear nothing from
the Commissioner after 60 days, you could be accused of violating the
law. The consequences of this, although different for every family,
could be significant.

We therefore recommend the following:

1. Mail your notice by certified mail, return receipt requested, and
safely file the receipt when it comes back to you. This will prove
the date the Commissioner received the paperwork.

2. If you have not received written acknowledgement from the
Commissioner's office after 60 days, promptly send us a copy of all
the paperwork you sent the Commissioner, as well as a copy of the
front and back of the green postal receipt showing the date it was
received. After reviewing your paperwork, we will advise you on an
appropriate course of action.

3. If you receive any written response OTHER than an unqualified
"approval", let us know right away.

Finally, we do not acknowledge that the state truly has the authority
to "approve" a family's decision to educate their own children. This
is because we believe the right to educate one's own children is
protected under the U.S. Constitution independent of any requirements
a state may impose.

So as to not give implied support to the idea of "approval", you may
want to avoid the words "approve" or "approval" in any correspondence
with the Department. If you have not yet filed your notice, we
recommend that on page 2 of the Equivalent Instruction form you
consider crossing out the sentence, "If this proposal is approved, we
agree to abide by its terms" and replacing it with, "We hereby notify
the Department of our intention to home school our child according to
the following plan."

In his inauguration speech, John F. Kennedy said:

"The same revolutionary belief for which our forebears fought is
still at issue around the globe, the belief that the rights of man
come not from the generosity of the state but from the hand of God."

If you share this belief, we encourage you to attach the following
statement to your home school notice, either as a separate sheet or
written on the notice itself:

"We believe that our right to educate our children ourselves comes
from God and is protected under the U.S. Constitution. We are
submitting information about our home school program not because we
believe we need the state's approval, but simply so you may be aware
of our plans."

We are available to assist any member family who experiences problems
with the Department of Education this fall.

Sincerely yours,

Scott A. Woodruff
HSLDA Staff Attorney

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