The New Hampshire House of Representatives on Wednesday rejected a bill that would tightly regulate homsechooling.
The state House voted 324-34 against changes to the current law.
"Winning by such a significant margin is welcome relief for New Hampshire homeschool families," said Mike Donnelly, staff attorney for Home School Legal Defense Association.
The bill was sponsored by Rep. Judith Day who felt the current homeschooling law required too little accountability. Under the proposed legislation, parents or legal guardians would be required to submit in writing their intention to educate their child; keep a portfolio of the homeschooled child's work and log of reading materials; and have an annual evaluation demonstrating educational progress commensurate with the child's age and ability. Evaluations would also be more strictly regulated.
Current law requires that parents provide yearly results of either the test or an evaluation of the child's portfolio, not both. And parents who are certified or private school teachers can write their own evaluations.
Day argued that under current law, administrators do not have sufficient information to determine whether a home education program needs remediation or should continue. She noted that greater accountability would not be excessively burdensome to parents.
But parents opposed amending the current law, and interpreted the changes as government interference with family affairs. They expressed their opposition through rallies and calls and letters to legislators.
Rep. Barbara Shaw, who has 45 years of teaching experience, and a majority of a bi-partisan legislative study committee recommended that the bill is "Inexpedient to Legislate."
"After studying this issue for several years I've gotten to know homeschoolers, the law, and how the system works and I'm convinced that it is working fine," Shaw said, according to the Home School Legal Defense Association. "There are no changes needed.
"Some people have accused me of doing a 180 on homeschooling – and I would have to admit that's true. But that's because I've seen that homeschooling is working for children in our state and the current law is adequate."
A recent comprehensive study, conducted by the National Home Education Research Institute, found that homeschoolers scored 34-39 percentile points higher than the norm on standardized achievement tests. Also, homeschooled boys and girls scored equally well.