Home schooling for 11, 18 April 2008, The Union Leader, Manchester, New Hampshire
Like most homeschoolers, the Parkers also believe the state should not interfere in what and how they teach their children.
Currently parents who homeschool have to submit a letter at the beginning of every school year stating the name, birth dates, address, and dates when the homeschooling program starts, according to Merrimack Assistant Superintendent Debbie Woelflein.
At the end of the year, parents are required to submit an evaluation of their children’s schoolwork for the year. The evaluation can take various forms, including a portfolio, an evaluation by a certified teacher, or taking a state standardized test, she said.
Parents used to be required to submit curriculum plans every school year, but that changed in 2006 when legislators revised the homeschooling law.
The new legislation would put some of that oversight back.
The sponsor of the bill, Sen. Iris Estabrook, D-Durham, said she sponsored the legislation because she believes the state has an obligation to provide some oversight of homeschooling families.
“My job is to look out for those who have no other voice, no other adults for them to turn to if an issue needs to be addressed,” she said.
Accountability to the state for all children?
According to the line of thinking that homeschooled children need someone to, “look out for those who have … no other adults … to turn to,” this should apply to all children up to the age of compulsory school attendance, which in New Hampshire is six. If parents can be trusted with newborn infants, and if those parents continue without legal problems, then why should the state step in when the children are older? Also, how will requiring a parent to provide a curriculum outline do anything to improve homeschooling?
As I wrote in another blog post, the children most at risk are those between the ages of birth to 3. If a parent has raised a child that far without problems, and if there are no actionable indicators of neglect or abuse, then everyone else ought to presume that the parents are capable of raising their children without a babysitter.
What has changed?
The article states that the proposed change would, “put some of that oversight back.” Have homeschooling parents in New Hampshire done something in the past two years to cause people to mistrust them? In the ‘back room’ I searched the archives here at HEM NewsComm, but the only New Hampshire-specific mention that popped up, other than the current legislation, was the 2006 legislation.
No momentous happening does not seem like a good reason to reinstate requirements that were unnecessary two years ago.