Saturday, February 14, 2009

A Trip to the State Capitol

Homeschooling is under attack in New Hampshire. Two bills have been proposed that would dramatically change the face of home education in the state. Last week the education committee heard testimony for and against the bills. Sarah was lucky enough to attend the hearings. Over 1000 homeschooled children and parents packed the state house. It is one of the largest turn outs EVER!

Many homeschool parents and children spoke against the legislation, citing everything from financial issues to restriction of parental rights; from the lack of objectivity of the bills to the double burden of proof.

The committee has yet to vote on the bills. It will actually be a few weeks before they do. In the mean time homeschooler wonder wonder why their rights are under attack. Could it be that home education continues to produces high achievers putting many in the public system to shame? Is it because homeschooling is not the norm and misunderstood? Is it a result of pressure from those within the failing public education system who fear loosing more students to home education? Whatever the reason behind the bills, a little research into the homeschooling movement in this country sheds light on why the trend is growing.

First, homeschooled student continue to out score their public and private school peers. Secondly, colleges are increasingly recruiting homeschooled students as they tend to be better prepared for rigorous college courses and have the independence needed to succeed. Thirdly, with a significant number of homeschool graduates studies are finding them competent, happy positive contributors to society. There are more benefits to homeschooling than I can cover here. The three mentioned only focus breifly on the education of the child and don't consider how home education positively impacts family relationships, freedom of religion, a love and desire for knowledge, student independance, and so much more.

The sad truth is that the sponsor of the bills had no reason for proposing the bills. She had no studies, no proof that homeschool laws in New Hampshire were not working. Quite the contrary, just last year an investigative committee found that the homeschooling laws were working quite well and saw no need for change.

With the public education system is failing so dramatically in this country, it would be refreshing to see lawmakers take on the big fish in the pond knowing that they might loose some campaign funding but gain their self respect and integrity back.

Check back later as I plan to add links to the proposed legislation and testimony.

PS from Sarah: I met Govenor Lynch and even got to shake his hand. Not that the hearings on the bills weren't interesting, but this was the highlight of the trip!

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