Homeschoolers in recent months have weathered the turmoil of a California court opinion that appeared to ban the activity, and while the threat later was removed, proposals that would hinder parents who want to teach their own children remain pending.
That’s according to the Home School Legal Defense Association, which monitors the situations closely. The newest warning, the organization said today, comes from New Hampshire.
Pending in the state legislature is a plan by Rep. Judith Day that would “radically” rewrite the testing and assessment demands under the state’s existing laws.
“If passed, New Hampshire would have one of the most restrictive homeschool laws in the nation,” said Mike Donnelly, staff attorney for HSLDA.
WND reported just weeks ago the homeschooling movement is sweeping the nation – with 1.5 million children now learning at home, an increase of 75 percent since 1999.
The Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics reported homeschooling has risen by 36 percent in just the last five years.
“There’s no reason to believe it would not keep going up,” NCES statistician Gail Mulligan told USA Today.
HSLDA noted homeschooling is thriving “since all the research shows that homeschoolers significantly outperform their peers on standardized tests.”
In New Hampshire, the existing law already is more burdensome than many other states, because in addition to an annual notice to school districts, homeschoolers must give an annual statement of academic progress and maintain two years’ of records.
But the new proposal, HSLDA said, would “require all homeschoolers to take both a test, and to submit to a portfolio evaluation by a ‘credentialed educator.’
“It then places subjective authority in the hands of a superintendent or non-public school principle to terminate a family’s homeschool program,” the HSLDA said.
“It’s amazing that New Hampshire is considering these kinds of additional restrictions when it already requires parents to provide annual assessments,” said Donnelly. “This new law is unnecessary. It would simply waste taxpayers’ money and parents’ time.”
He said hearings on the issue are scheduled in Concord Feb. 11. Such battles have become common in recent years in the state, Donnelly told WND.
“There is a concerted effort by a group of legislators in the state House to try to impose more restrictions,” he said. “We’re always having to fight that.”
In a 2007 survey, parents cited providing religious and moral instruction as the most important factor in the decision to teach their children at home (36 percent). The second most important issue was concern about the school environment (21 percent), while the third reason was dissatisfaction with academic instruction at other schools (17 percent).