Thursday, February 12, 2009

What a Joy...The Halls of the State House were packed.

Union Leader reporter Tom Fahey did an outstanding unbiased story about the HB 367 and 368 hearings in Today's Union Leader.

The chairperson of the hearings Emma Rous was clearly biased against homeschoolers. This bias attitude was so blatant that many children noticed her biased attitude against them as well.

The article below states that educators said "they have a responsibility to make sure all home-schooled students are receiving an adequate education." I have seen the job that educators have done, I don't want my children to have an adequate education I want them to get an excellent education and it won't happen in public schools that are failing to educate tens of thousands of students.

Spelling and grammar errors as well as typos are left as an exercise for our readers.

Home-school backers pack State House
State House Bureau Chief

CONCORD – A crowd that state police estimated at 1,000 packed the State House yesterday to urge lawmakers to reject changes in home-schooling laws.

Educators said they have a responsibility to make sure all home-schooled students are receiving an adequate education. The proposals call for increased oversight of home-schooled students.

Parents who opposed the measures said it works against the rights they have enjoyed to educate their children in the way that best suits them.

"It definitely imposes on the freedoms we have now," said David Menard of Pittsfield, who also serves on the board of the Christian Home Educators of New Hampshire.

Menard, along with other opponents of the bill and their children, packed Representatives Hall, the visitors gallery, the hallway and the stairwell. Home schoolers pride themselves tailoring education to their children's needs, whether through teaching materials, or through trips to museums, historical sites and, like yesterday, the Legislature.

Dawn Platte of Salisbury said she came to Concord after being contacted by networks of home-school families.

"I have never had so many e-mails about home schooling as I have had on this one, from a number of groups," she said. "I think part of it is that we were just here last year on home- schooling laws."

Kara Westfall, a home-schooler from Rochester, said she opposed both bills.

"I think it will be wasteful, and divert resources from people who need it to people who don't," she said. "I feel we should be allowed to educate our children in a way we feel is appropriate."

The most widely criticized was HB 367, which sets out strict guidelines for assessing the home-school students academic progress. It would require them to submit portfolios annually, and to take standardized tests while monitored by a certified educator.

A second bill, HB 368, would require parents to sign a statement that they will abide by education laws when they notify a school district they plan to home school. Local officials would then have to provide the parent with copies of home-schooling laws, and a list of resources to help them succeed.

Deputy Education Commissioner Mary Heath said she supports the bills.

"This is meant to be informative, not punitive," she said of HB 368, which she said would serve as a useful reminder that there are state laws that apply to home-school curriculum.

Standardized tests could be as simple as the NECAP testing all public school students now take, she said.

"We have 400 parents here today, but there are 4,000 home- schooled students throughout our state. We are responsible for all those children," she said.

Rep. Nancy Elliot, R-Merrimack, said the bill is not needed.

"Home-schooled students are excelling at a very high rate, there is no doubt about that," she said.

Rep. Peter Bolster, R-Alton, said HB 367 may require local district to add staff to keep up with home-schooled students.

"The system is not broken," he said. "Please, leave these people alone."

The sponsor of the two bills, Rep. Judith Day, D-North Hampton, said she filed the bills to make sure all home educators are aware of state laws, and to be sure the state meets its obligation to educate all children.

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