The new legislative session begins January 6th, and this should prove to be an interesting year. The late Speaker of the House Richard (Dick) Hinch had prioritized School Choice, and we will see if that focus carries through. Many legislators have voiced their support for this issue, so it is very likely that this will remain in play. The House Fiscal Committee has already accepted federal funding for charter schools which was delayed for over a year. Homeschooling of course is one subset of school choice.
Committee chairs have been named for both the House and the Senate. In the House, Representative Rick Ladd from Haverhill will be the chair and Representative Glenn Cordelli from Tuftonboro will be the vice chair. The members have not yet been announced. Historically, Representatives Ladd and Cordelli have been friendly to homeschooling so we are pleased with these picks by leadership. Rep. Cordelli is a strong supporter of homeschooling and broader educational opportunities who has served multiple terms on HEAC.
In the Senate, Senator Ruth Ward will be the chair and Senator Erin Hennessey will be the vice chair. Senators Denise Ricciardi, Jay Kahn and Suzanne Prentiss will serve on the Senate Education Committee. Senator Ward is very supportive of homeschooling and has served 4 years on HEAC.
School Choice can mean different things to different people, so we plan to keep a close eye on all of the evolving legislation directly impacting home education. Granite State Home Educators has a Facebook group called “GSHE Action” for discussion on NH legislation that impacts homeschoolers.
GSHE Action is centered on our core beliefs:
-- We believe in empowered families.
-- We believe in families' rights to direct their children's education.
-- We believe in the power of community.
As a registered 501c4 charity, Granite State Home Educators is launching this group to help NH homeschool families and supporters stay informed of relevant legislation and have tools to engage, if interested.
GSHE extends our condolences to the Hinch family.
By Erica Layon