From the HSLDA E-lert Service:


2/24/2009 1:18:14 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
New Hampshire--More Action needed to Oppose Threatening Legislation

From the HSLDA E-lert Service...

February 24, 2009

New Hampshire--More Action needed to Oppose Threatening Legislation

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:

Thank you again for your overwhelming presence at the Capitol on
February 11. It was a privilege to be there to testify on behalf of
our members. To read the article about the event you can visit: .

The Education Committee will meet in executive session 10 a.m., March
5, in LOB 207 to decide whether to recommend ITL or OTP the bill.
Although no public input will be allowed, we hope that homeschoolers
will attend the meeting to show their concern and to demonstrate
continued opposition to the bill.

Now that the bill has had its public hearing, it is time to insure
that the Education Committee gets the message that H.B. 367 and 368
should be voted ITL (inexpedient to legislate) without amendment.


1) Please contact the Education Committee by March 5 2009, using the
alphabetized list at the following link:

Please tell them politely in your own words to ITL these bills without
amendment and not to make ANY changes to the homeschool law.

"As testimony at the hearings showed, H.B. 367 and 368 should be
voted ITL without any amendments. There is no need to make any changes
to the homeschool law. This bill is misguided and unnecessary. Twenty
years of experience show that the New Hampshire homeschool law works
well--no changes are needed or wanted. Please vote this bill ITL."

A Yahoo group has been created to track the legislators'
positions--many have already stated that they will vote ITL. This
contact will reinforce that message and confirm their position. The
Yahoo group can be joined at .
Please send any interesting correspondence to and/or to
the Yahoo group's vote tracking database.

Here is what this bill will do:

Instead of having four methods to comply with the annual assessment
requirement, EVERY homeschooler EVERY year will have to submit to BOTH
standardized testing AND a portfolio evaluation administered by a
"credentialed educator".

Superintendents or non-public school principals would be required to
review BOTH test results AND the portfolio evaluation to determine IF
a home educated student, in the opinion of the superintendent or
nonpublic school principle, has demonstrated satisfactory "academic
growth" and MAY continue without probation.

Following a one-year probation, the superintendent or nonpublic school
principal would be able to terminate a home education program.
Parents would be able to appeal to the State Board of Education, whose
decision would be FINAL.

New Hampshire homeschoolers would have to pay for two evaluations
instead of just one. Participating agencies would have to use their
scarce and valuable time to comply with unnecessary bureaucratic
filing requirements for no good reason.

Parents would not be allowed to choose the best method of assessment
for their student.

Superintendents and principals would have to use their own subjective
judgment to determine whether a student has demonstrated "academic

The bill creates undefined terms (such as "credentialed educator" and
"academic growth") that would increase the chances of arbitrary
decision-making by superintendents or principals, who would have to
use their own subjective opinion to decide whether home education
programs are put on probation or terminated.

New Hampshire's homeschool law was passed in 1990 after much
deliberation among all stakeholders including homeschoolers, public
education officials, and legislators. The next year, in 1991, the New
Hampshire legislature amended the homeschool law to add a statement of

"The general court recognizes, in the enactment of RSA 193-A...that it
is the primary right and obligation of a parent to choose the
appropriate educational alternative for a child...The general court
further recognizes that home education is more individualized
instruction that instruction normally provided in the classroom

The law has been modified slightly since. Then in 2008, a legislative
commission formed by S.B. 337 to examine to see if changes were needed
in the law voted 4-2 with one abstention by the chairman, NOT to make
changes to the homeschool law. Although the report was not published,
the minutes of these public meetings are available for review and
indicate that this is what happened. In the face of this study
commission and a lack of substantive data indicating any problem to be
solved at all (never mind that the current draft not only does not
SOLVE a problem but would create a host of other problems),
Representative Day has proposed radical changes to the law in the form
of H.B. 367 and 368.

In the surrounding states of Vermont, Massachusetts and Maine, the
last 20 years have seen great conflict between homeschoolers and the
government over how much involvement by the government is appropriate.
In Massachusetts there have been two Supreme Court cases and a number
of lower level court cases--even today there is constant friction
between homeschoolers and local school officials. In Vermont there
are dozens of hearings every year over usually minor issues of
administration and paperwork at the state level. In 2003, Maine
finally reduced the amount of regulation on homeschoolers and switched
its law from approval to a "notice of intent" because of the problems.
In stark contrast, New Hampshire has enjoyed a healthy relationship
between homeschoolers and the government because of the respect the
law creates options to partner with a nonpublic school and to choose
from among four different options to comply with the annual

In the United States of America, only a minority of the states require
ANY assessment of home educated students. Only Pennsylvania, one of
the most restrictive in the country, requires both a portfolio and
test and that only during grades 3, 5 and 8--a total of three years of
the student's entire educational career.

H.B. 367 and 368 are unnecessary. The bills impose a needless burden
on homeschoolers and shift authority to determine whether a child
should be homeschooled from parents to others. Parents have a
fundamental right under the U.S. Constitution to direct the upbringing
and education of their children, and legislation like Representative
Day's undermines this right by going against the presumption that
parents act in their children's best interest.

Thank you for your work to support homeschool freedom in New Hampshire
and for taking action to defeat this harmful legislation.


Michael P. Donnelly, Esq.
HSLDA Staff Attorney

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