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May 28, 2010
Hostile Legislative Climate Earns New Hampshire “Red” Status
Home School Legal Defense Association’s online State Laws Map rates each state based on the level of restriction of its homeschool law. HSLDA created this map to provide homeschoolers who were moving with a quick and easy way to identify what states were friendlier towards homeschoolers. States have been ranked on the basis of required notification, testing or approval (only two states, Rhode Island—technically—and Massachusetts are “approval” states).
Currently only six states have “earned” the distinction of being considered “red” states. These are Vermont, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New York and North Dakota. HSLDA will be adding New Hampshire to this list not because its law is inherently unfriendly, but because its legislative climate has been persistently hostile to homeschoolers for the last four years.
Although the trend nationally in homeschooling regulation has been toward reducing regulation, since 2006 serious attempts have been made by a determined group of legislators to dramatically increase the level of regulation on New Hampshire homeschoolers. As a result, New Hampshire homeschoolers have fought intense legislative battles to defend their freedom from excessive government regulation over the past several years. The Department of Education in New Hampshire has also demonstrated its antipathy to the current status of homeschooling in the state by its actions. The Department recently attempted to circumvent the Home Education Advisory Council by proposing a set of rules that would have imposed new restrictions, some contrary to the law. To the great credit of New Hampshire State Board of Education, this process was handled in a way to minimize the negative impact on homeschoolers with only minimal changes to the rules being made as required by changes in the home schoollaw in recent years.
Many homeschoolers use our State Laws Map when thinking about moving. We intend to keep this map updated and trust that it will be a useful tool for our members who are thinking about moving within the United States.