Concord Connections — Update on HB 1263 re homeschool evaluations

The following is an update on House Bill 1263 regarding homeschool evaluations. It would reinstate the year-end assessment reporting requirements removed in 2012. The article is shared with permission from School Choice for NH. They report another update as of 2/12/18:

Although 700 homeschool supporters appeared at the public hearing to oppose HB 1263, the homeschool evaluation bill, there is considerable pressure to pass this unnecessary bill. The prime sponsor, Rep. Theberge, recently published his testimony in the Berlin Sun, reiterating his bogus claim of homeschoolers “falling through the cracks.” It is ignorant of the Berlin district’s dismal scores that fall short of the standards they would impose on all homeschoolers. Continue to urge the House Education Committee to reject this unfounded bill; it is a solution in search of a problem. Their email is

Needless Homeschool Regulation

February 1, 2018

The House Education Committee recently held a public hearing on HB 1263, a bill that would reinstate unnecessary annual reporting requirements for homeschool students. Representatives Hall was packed with homeschool supporters, overflowing the chamber and gallery, extending to the elevators. Only two people spoke in favor of the bill: one of the sponsors and the Berlin superintendent who initiated the legislationThe hearing lasted over three-and-a-half hours with nearly every person speaking about their children’s successes in home education, struggles in the public-school system, and commenting that learning cannot be measured by annual assessments. They were also critical of district officials that would impose standards on them without being able to meet comparable standards in their own schools.

We testified in opposition to the bill and share our remarks below.

The House Education Committee did not vote on the bill. Their practice is to schedule an exec session a week or two later at which time they will decide to support (Ought to Pass) or oppose (Inexpedient to Legislate) the bill, amend it, or send it to study. We will post information about the exec session once it is scheduled. The committee can be emailed at

Read more about the hearing in Homeschoolers Flood the State House.

My name is Michelle Levell and I am the Director of School Choice for NH,  an all-volunteer coalition of concerned citizens, families, and leaders that advocates for educational options in the Granite State. I submit this testimony in strong opposition to HB 1263 that would roll-back homeschool year-end assessment reporting requirements.

I’m going to start by telling you about one of my three children. When they were younger, we homeschooled them for part of their elementary education years. My daughter was a bright student, loved to read and tell stories, but struggled with spelling and writing. No matter what program we tried or assistance we utilized, including working with professional learning centers, we never made progress. Back then, we had to submit our annual assessment results to our Participating Agency. Year after year, her spelling scores were in the single digits even though her composite score was in the 90+ percentile. It wasn’t until midway through 5th grade that we finally got a diagnosis. She has profound dyslexia, dysgraphia, and executive function challenges. We were told by Boston Children’s Hospital to not expect much for her future, to set her goals lower.

Yes, she satisfied the testing requirements to meet or exceed the 40th percentile on her composite score. However, reporting her results had nothing to do with providing her with the supports she needed to go on to future academic and personal success. Today, my daughter is an engineering student at Purdue University and has served on the university’s Engineers Without Borders team as their chief grant writer and treasurer.

I tell you this because children and their academic outcomes are more than test scores. Any score, even two years in a row, cannot adequately determine if a child is making progress. It also should not be used to evaluate the overall success or failure of a program.

Families use more than assessments to determine if an educational environment is right for their children. They consider many factors including a school’s reputation, course offerings, teacher skills, school discipline, safety, inclusion of moral values and religious traditions, class size, teacher-parent relations, college acceptance rates, extra-curricular opportunities, and more. Schools held directly accountable to families have to take all of these elements into account. Homeschooling is the ultimate in accountability to families, and HB 1263 is the complete antithesis of this concept because it makes families accountable to the state and school districts.

Read more at Needless Homeschool Regulation.