New Hampshire Homeschooling Resources
To: New Hampshire State Board of Education From: Elaine Rapp, Chair, Home Education Advisory Council Date: December 1, 1997 Re: Annual Report
The Home Education Advisory Council was established in 1990 under the Home Education Law RSA 193-A. There are twelve members on the council: 6 home schooling representatives, one of whom is the chair; two representatives from the NH Department of Education, and one representative each from the NH School Administrators Association, the NH Association of Schol Principals, the NH School Boards Association, and the Nonpublic School Advisory Council. We meet monthly from September through June.
Last summer, the NH Department of Education appointed a new contact person for the council: Rachel Hopkins. For a complete list of current members, please see the attached list. Current home education statistics as of 11/13/97 are as follows: 3210 total students; 2580 with SAUs, 591 with nonpublic schools, 39 with the NH commissioner of education.
During the past year, several important issues were addressed by the council. In October of 1996 we learned the Department of Health and Human Services had passed new rules regarding communicable diseases. Despite past attempts by the chair of the HEAC to communicate with that department regarding proposed changes which would include specific language pertinent to home educated students, we were not informed of the process until after its completion. In the rules effective 10/9/96, there was language pertaining to the definition of "enrolled student" and a requirement to submit immunization records to the local school to which many home schoolers objected. Subsequent to this, we learned that the DHHS was reinitiating the rule making process in March 1997 for these rules and would make changes more acceptable to home schoolers. These rules are currently in the final process of adoption.
Last year two legislative proposals were of concern to homeschoolers, neither of which became law. The first was a dual enrollment proposal to try to clarify home education participation; the council felt that more study ws needed on this issue. The second bill was HB 319 which would have expanded access to child immunization records. This year we will continue to review incoming legislation for potential impact on home schoolers. Although the council does not take an active role in supporting or opposing any specific legislation, we do recommend suggestions and communicate concerns to DOE.
During the past year, several issues arose regarding home educated students transferring into school at the high school level, including grade level placement of home educated students and acceptance of home education credits. These issues are generally handled by individual school board policy. However, since it is probable that more high schools will find themselves trying to deal equitably with students transferring into their school systems from home education programs, these issues seemed important for the council to discuss in order to try to provide some suggestions and guidance to school districts. David Gebhardt from the DOE came to council meetings on two occasions to work with us in trying to understand and propose solutions to these dilemmas.
Last year the council did have one grievance conference held on 3/17/97, only the third such conference in seven years. An agreement was suggested by the conference committee and accepted by the parties. Several concerns by the committee regarding issues that arose during the conference were discussed by the council and several were passed along to the DOE for review.
Another ongoing project we are looking forward to is getting more Internet access for homeschoolers to the HEAC and also to providing the most updated DOE information regarding our law and rules.
The council welcomes visits from the State Board of Education, should any members have questions about our work, like to discuss particular issues of concern to them, or just want to come and meet us. To find out about our meetings, please call Rachel Hopkins at 271-3582.
Document source: New Hampshire Department of Education, hardcopy.