Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Jim's Testimony for HB - 545

The following is Jim's testimony for HB - 545. If New Hampshire is going to get homeschooling freedom we must abolish the HEAC which serves the interest of the DOE and not homeschoolers.

Quote of the Day - "Homeschooling and public schooling are as opposite as two sides of a coin. In a homeschooling environment, the teacher need not be certified, but the child MUST learn. In a public school environment, the teacher MUST be certified, but the child need NOT learn." - Gene Royer

Spelling errors, grammar errors, misuse of homonyms and typos are left as an exercise for my readers.

Good morning,

I am here today to urge this committee to abolish the HEAC by voting OTP on HB545. As a Homeschooling parent and Croydon School Board member, I offer my perspective on how the HEAC's activities are a disservice to homeschoolers, the legislature, and the public at large.

In support of the call to eliminate the HEAC, I offer two fundamental conjectures: 1) The HEAC serves no useful purpose, and 2) The HEAC actively operates against the interests of the very homeschoolers it purports to represent.

In theory, the HEAC provides collective representation for a group of citizens who do not benefit from, dare I say eschew, collectivism itself. To understand why this is irrevocably problematic, contrast this to the model of a public school board.

Communities elect school boards to apply collective representation to the operation of public schools. This model is necessary because public schools operate in a collective manner. Classrooms, schedules, and policies within public schools require a high degree of consistency. This necessitates compromises among the public stakeholders. The school board's job is to listen to the public and align school operation as best as they can, knowing they cannot please everybody.

Homeschooling is fundamentally different because it operates in an individual, not collective fashion. Indeed this very independence and lack of conformity draws many of us to choose homeschooling. Individuality means I may teach my child chemistry when someone else's child learns to draw, and another parent's child leans to write. Thousands of microscopic classrooms have no need for alignment, and thus have no need to develop consensus. When granted their inherent rights, parents have no use for a committee to represent their individual homeschooling preferences. The HEAC thus serves no useful purpose.

Every representative body runs the risk that members will fail to promote the will of their constituents. A common driving force is the motive of self-preservation. HEAC has repeatedly demonstrated this tendency. As homeschoolers across the state call for expanded freedom, such freedom makes the HEAC unnecessary to even the most obstinate observer.

The most destructive element of the HEAC is its ability to provide political cover to lawmakers hostile to the interests of homeschoolers. I have witnessed this on several occasions. When the HEAC or a subset offers support to hostile legislation, they allow homeschool opponents to deny their opposition to homeschooling freedom.

Sunshine is the best disinfectant. In this way, the HEAC is the shadow behind which homeschool opponents hide. HEAC becomes the enemy to those it claims to serve.

Please restore transparency legitimate self-representation to homeschoolers by eliminating the HEAC.

Jim Peschke

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