|HSLDA Media Release||February 22, 2001|
Maine home schoolers fighting Maine Educational Assessment
Also face prospect of unnecessary legislative study
For immediate release
February 22, 2001
Contact: Rich Jefferson
(540) 338-8663 or firstname.lastname@example.org
AUGUSTA, ME As many as 800 Maine home schoolers packed several hearing rooms on Wednesday in the State Office Building as they fought to preserve at a legislative committee hearing their freedom to direct their home schooling.
They were protesting Legislative Document 405, a bill that would require all home school students to take the Maine Educational Assessment, a standardized test used to gauge the progress of public school students. No other state requires home school students to take the state assessment.
At Wednesday's hearing, Sen. Pete Mills (R-Cornville) sponsor of L.D. 405, announced to the Maine Education and Cultural Affairs Committee that he was withdrawing support for his own bill. But he simultaneously proposed a legislative study on home schooling in Maine that poses another threat to home schoolers.
L.D. 405 lost the support of its sponsor, but the committee has not voted on it yet.
Several Maine home schoolers, including Ed Green from Hope, testified on Wednesday that their children are already adequately tested, and assessments must be filed with the Maine Department of Education. No more oversight from the state is needed, Green explained.
Others pointed out that L.D. 405 would override the parental right to select appropriate curriculum. With the Maine Educational Assessment test looming over their children, parents would be forced to use the same curriculum as the public schools. Curriculum customization is key to effective home schooling, they said.
Another study on home schooling is unnecessary and redundant, according to Maine home schoolers and Scott Woodruff, an attorney with the Home School Legal Defense Association.
"Home schoolers have demonstrated academic achievement at the highest levels. There is nothing to be gained academically by requiring home school students to take the MEA, and it seems Senator Mills now understands our view of the test. There is nothing to be gained by making the taxpayers shell out their hard-earned money for a study whose results are foregone. It is not home school students who are being left behind, as the bill's sponsor told the committee yesterday," said Woodruff.
"We provided the committee with more than 150 citations of previous studies on home schooling," Woodruff said. "Another study is clearly not needed."
Senator Peter Mills, Republican from Maine's 13th District, is a resident of Skowhegan. His phone at the capitol is 207-287-1540.
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