Tuesday, March 11, 2008

New Hampshire Legislature Proposes Homeschool Curriculum Regulations

The Live Free Or Die State wants to regulate homeschooling curriculum. So much for "living free"

This week, on March 13, the New Hampshire State Senate will be voting on a bill that will require homeschoolers to submit curriculum plans at the beginning of each school year for each homeschooled child. It might be interesting to note that this very requirement was removed from their statutes a few years ago. Apparently, they are looking to put it back in place because the educrats have determined that homeschooled kids who enroll in public school are not prepared.

You know, that is such a stupid reason. Obviously people who are homeschooling and are having trouble doing it will of course seek the best for their child and put them into public school. So why should parents and their children who are doing fine be punished with these kinds of laws because parents who are unable to homeschool successfully are seeking a different choice? The fact that those kids "are not prepared" should be a signal to the public schools not that homeschooling is deficient and in need of oversight, but that parents have enough brains to know what their kids need to succeed when those kids show signs of "not being prepared". The schools should be rejoicing that parents can recognize when their kids need the help of public education! But no, their response is to assume everyone else's kids are deficient and in need of oversight!

Do we punish every person with oversight from the government because a few come forward to seek credit counseling when their debt gets out of hand? Do we punish everyone with legislation regarding what they should eat becasue people sign up to have weight control management at their doctor's or at Weight Watchers? No - of course not. So why would the state and it's schools seek to oversee everyone else who is doing fine on their own just because some parents elect to put their kids back into school when things aren't working well for them in their homeschool experience?

New Hampshire's proposed legisltion, SB 337, not only requires that homeschoolers submit a curriculum, but it also dictates what the curriculum should contain. (Bill Status is here)

Now let's think about the requirement of a plan of curriculum, especially one dictated by the state. Isn't the curriculum already offered by the state in public schools one of the reasons many people opt to homeschool in the first place? People choosing to homeschool want to follow their own curriculum for a million different reasons. If the state is dictating what you do at home - you might as well just go to school... right?? Otherwise it's just doing public school at home ... and believe me if you are going to replicate what is done in the public school model at home then it isn't really worth one's time to homeschool at all. Maybe that's what the state is trying to acheive here. And who in the school is going to be able to judge whether your curriculum is appropriate or not? What version or method of teaching math, science, history and English is the school going to dictate? Isn't this activity of oversight also taking the school administrator's time away from paying attention to their own enrolled students, who according to many news reports need more attention not less?

You know, the thought should occur to everyone that we have public schools that are totally managed and controlled by the state government; they set their own standards, they control their own curriculum, they dictate how everything is done - and yet they have mediocre results at best - that's a fact that the news reminds us of almost on a daily basis. And yet, the state and their mediocre schools are the same people that want to oversee and control homeschooling! They cannot seem to manage their own affairs and they want to (and feel it obligatory to) tell everyone else what to do as well. How is it that we have this notion that they know how to do everything best when clearly they haven't proved it in their own backyard? Yeah sure, they service lots of kids, blah blah blah... but the fact remains they don't do a terribly fine job of it as compared to the results they got, say 25 years ago. Additionally, there is absolutely no comparison to the one on one attention homeschooling kids get on a daily basis. Homeschooling is actually a preferred model, and believe me there are enough homeschool parents who are former teachers who can vouch for that fact.

The question also arises, if the public schools are going to monitor the curriculum of homeschooled students, then shouldn't they also monitor the curriculum of private and parochial schools? If not, then there is clearly a bias and a hint of discrimination here.

This bill is really a bad idea, and will only act to be more costly to the taxpayers of New Hampshire and be a burden to already successful homeschool families.

In any case, if you'd like to join the New Hampshire homeschoolers who are fighting this regressive and controlling piece of legislation, you are invited to join homeschoolers on the steps of the State House at 9 am on Thursday morning. It's a good time to voice your opinion and even give your kids a lesson in civics.

NH Senate
107 N. Main Street
Room 302 - State House
Concord, NH 03301
If you live in New Hampshire you can also contact your senator

(H/T Steph via Miki M.)


The CLUES Academy said...

It feels as if this sort of legislation is piling up in the U.S. right now, and it has me feeling a bit panicky.

The District of Columbia recently put forth this type of unnecessary homeschooling controls.

The trend is catching on......we should all be worried.

Elisheva Hannah Levin said...

It is amazing to me how easily the press and general public can bamboozled into this kind of interference when "school officials" say it is necessary "for the children." The same school officials, who, as you so correctly pointed out, have not been particularly successful at educating the schooled kids.

Very good arguments. I hope they are heard.

Here's one more for you. It may be that some of the kids coming into public schools from homeschools are not deficient in skills in general. They may be very proficient in areas that their parents focused on, and not so much in other areas. This is true in the schools, as well. The State of New Mexico, for example, has something like 137 separate standards for 5th grade social studies. Individual teachers also make choices about what to focus on. This leads to constant concern about how kids are not prepared for the next level. And, of course, different kids also latch onto different skills and content. Uniformity of "preparedness" is never possible. Personally, I am not sure it should even be a goal.

Judy Aron said...

Clues - This isn't the time to panic - it is the time to rise up and assert our rights.

California has 166,000 homeschoolers - they ought to all go to Sacramento and demand that their draconian laws be changed.

As long as we have the right to change our laws - we can get our people together to affect change.
We must be vigilant and monitor what happens each and every legislative session and protest assaults on our parental rights and our freedoms in general.

Worry does us little good - action is what is needed.

Judy Aron said...

That goes for DC as well.. gather your minions and get them to lobby their legislators - vigorously.

Dana said...

Hey...I read something about the turnout at the public meeting in DC being so overwhelming the proposal was essentially dropped and they want to include homeschool advocates now.

But I can find NOTHING about what actually happened at the meeting. Do you know anything? Or even where to go for information? DC homeschoolers seem to connect through private forums...not so many public blogs or websites, or at least I'm not turning them up very quickly.

Anonymous said...

Hi Judy - I love the bumper sticker "It takes a school to bankrupt a village". I wonder where you got that?


Keep up the fight. We can't go backward with homeschooling.

- Jane, CNHT

Charity said...

Thanks for the information about this. We have been considering a move to NH (from VT), so I like to keep my eye on their HS laws.

Anonymous said...

You know there was a map of the towns in CT that are abusing authority as far as removing your child from public school to homeschool. Well by the sounds of it now, we need to make a map of the states that are abusing their authority also as far as homeschooling, education etc. goes. Maybe when people start moving out of their states they will see that they need to allow homeschoolers their rights to teach their children, seeing the public schools can't get it right.