HSLDA Media Release
February 16, 2001

Home schooling under attack in Maine

For immediate release
February 16, 2001
Contact: Rich Jefferson
(540) 338-8663 or media@hslda.org

AUGUSTA, ME- Maine home schooling rights are under attack. No state in the country requires home school children to take their state's assessment test, but that's what some Maine legislators are trying to do with Legislative Document 405, also known as Senate Bill 129.

L.D. 405 would restrict home school freedom by requiring home-schooled students to take the Maine Educational Assessment exam. The MEA is a highly content-specific test that measures how well students have learned the state's public school curriculum.

For students who have been taught the state public school curriculum, testing them with the MEA makes sense. It's unfair, and it makes no sense, for students to be required to take the test who have not been taught the state public school curriculum. Home-schooled students are not required to use the state's public school curriculum. Their parents can choose one of a wide variety of curricula that are available. This freedom to tailor education to meet each child's unique needs is one reason home school children score so high on nationally recognized tests such as the SAT and ACT.

The bill is officially known as "An Act to Account for Homeschooled Children under the School Funding Formula and to Require the Maine Educational Assessment for Homeschooled Children."

Home school students are already required by law to be assessed every year. Those assessments must be filed with the Maine State Department of Education. Requiring home-schooled students to take an additional test is unnecessary. Passage of L.D. 405 would create tremendous, unfair pressure on parents to give up the curriculum they believe is best for their child, and instead teach the public school curriculum.

Parents would be compelled to make a painful choice: do I continue teaching the curriculum I know is best for my individual child, even if it means my child is stigmatized by a low MEA score, or do I surrender to the pressure and start teaching my child the public school curriculum?

Private school students would also be forced to take MEA if the legislature passes L.D. 405. These students and parents will find that they have many of the same concerns with this bill that home schoolers do.

L.D. 405 is financially irresponsible. Why should the school get paid for children it does not teach? It would allow every school district to collect 25 percent of Maine's per-pupil funding for each home school student just because that student resides in the school district. Furthermore, since taxpayers are the only source of government revenue, public schools will get extra money only if it comes from taxpayers. The greater the numbers of home schoolers, the greater the potential tax increases. Does this make sense when home schooling is today's fastest growing educational movement?

On Wednesday, February 21, the Maine Education and Cultural Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on L.D. 405 in the Cross Office Building, Room 214, on Sewall Street, directly behind the capitol. The location may be changed. Contacts in Maine are available by phoning Ed Green at (207) 763-4251.

 Other Resources

More information on Legislative Document 405, also known as Senate Bill 129