Courtesy of a New Hampshire homeschooler:
In 2005, HB406 was introduced to the NH House Education Committee. The intention of HB406 is to reduce the burdensome and unnecessary government restrictions placed upon NH homeschoolers.
In summary the current law states that a homeschooler must submit an annual notification, an annual curriculum plan that must be acknowledged by the party it is sent to, and an annual evaluative process that can be satisfied through testing, portfolio review or other methods agreed upon by the parent and the participating agency. HB406 removes the curriculm component, leaving annual noticifaction and evaluation.
HB406 came out of committee with an Ought to Pass with amendment recommendation. The amendment was a minor change to the original language that did not negatively effect it’s intent in any way. It passed the House vote and was sent to the NH Senate Education Committee.
The Senate Education Committee had members who were seeking a compromise between totally removing the curriculum submission and keeping it the way it currently is. The idea floated was to do a one-time-per-family curriculum plan, and once a family had been acknowledged by the commissioner of education, then they would not have to go through that process again. The amendment was not written at the point of this public hearing but came about through discussion.
The Chairman, Senator Peter Bragdon, was called away to attend to his sick father and left the exact wording in the hands of an aide. The aide made a few mistakes with the language, and when it was published 5 days prior to the vote scheduled on the Senate floor, homeschoolers and other liberty-lovers kicked into action. The Senate was overwhelmed with phone calls regarding the problems with the amendment, including the most offensive portion which was to submit your curriculum plan 30 days PRIOR to initiating your homeschool. It was supposed to be within 30 days, not 30 days prior.
Additionally, there was a last minute question that was brought to the chair’s attention, by a proponent of the bill, mintues before the Senate session to vote on HB406. Due to this the Chair asked for the bill to be referred to committee.
After a long wait until the 2006 session, HB406 came back before the Senate Education committee for an executive session to make a new recommendation and get it on the schedule for a floor vote. The committee voted 4 -1 to use the same idea of a 1-time curriculum submission, with the Chair as the dissenting vote.
On 1-18-06, HB406 finally received it’s vote by the Senate. Senator Estabrook moved to pass the amendment. Motion failed on a roll call vote of 8 – 14. Senator Bragdon moved Ought to Pass which passed on a roll call vote of 17 – 5.
The only thing left is for this to get through the Governor’s office to bring increased homeschooling freedom to NH!