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New Hampshire

February 24, 2006
New Hampshire Superintendent Retracts Threat

As required by New Hampshire law, the Belt* family submitted their notification of intent to homeschool for the 2005-06 school year. The Belts chose the local public school superintendent's office as their participating agency, as they had in previous years.

The school sent a letter acknowledging the establishment of the homeschool program. Unfortunately, the letter included a threat to prohibit homeschooling in subsequent years unless the children's test scores improved. The superintendent wrote: "If their [the children's] academic performance does not significantly improve, future requests to homeschool will not be granted."

New Hampshire requires that a homeschool family show that a child has made progress commensurate with their age and ability. This can be demonstrated by showing a composite test result at or above the 40th percentile from a nationally recognized standardized test. All of the children in the family had met this requirement—the children's scores were in the 42nd, 71st, and 75th percentile.

The school's threat to not approve subsequent requests to homeschool in the future was, therefore, unjustified under New Hampshire law.

The Home School Legal Defense Association talked with the superintendent of the school. She acknowledged that her language was too strong and did not accurately reflect the law. She then agreed that in the future she would not make similar threats.

* Name changed