WHAT: Public hearing on HB 1663 relative to requirements for home education students before the Senate Education Committee
WHERE: Legislative Office Building (LOB) room 101
WHEN: Tuesday, April 5th at 9:40am
HB 1663, the home ed freedom bill, has a public hearing with the Senate Education Committee on Tuesday, April 5th at 9:40am. It is important for unfunded homeschool families and supporters to get involved. The committee may vote on the bill any time after the public hearing closes, so we have a brief time frame to take action.
This bill will move home ed freedom forward in several ways:
- Requires all districts to adopt an Equal Access policy.
- Simplifies termination to mirror the initial notification language.
- Removes language that could imply home-ed programs need approval by Participating Agencies.
- Removes inconsistencies regarding who to notify and when.
- Removes unequitable academic achievement requirements.
- Adds explicit protection for home-educated children with special education differences.
- Explicitly states the portfolio remains the private property of the family.
This is the biggest home ed freedom bill in 10 years and will benefit thousands of NH children.
HB 1663 as amended by the House: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/bill_status/pdf.aspx?id=33052&q=billVersion
Unfunded homeschoolers are not asking for funding, services, or special favors. We simply want important details cleaned up in the statute, privacy, explicit protection for our special ed children, and a level playing field.
The Legislative Office Building (LOB) is located at 33 N. State Street in Concord, right behind the State House (with the golden dome). There is on-street parking and a parking garage nearby; here is information about parking in downtown Concord.
This makes a terrific civics field trip! Young children are welcome to attend to watch and listen. It may be a good hands-on experience for older students and they are welcome to testify.
IN-PERSON: Oral testimony is by far the most effective way to have your voice heard on pending legislation. Even a brief statement makes a powerful impact. The chairman may ask people to limit testimony to three minutes, so be prepared to abbreviate your remarks if needed. You can also follow up with an email with your complete testimony. You absolutely may repeat the same testimony you gave at the House Education Committee public hearing.
CALLS: Phone calls can be especially effective, particularly if you share what educational opportunities mean to you and your family. Mention if you are a constituent. Below is the committee members’ contact information.
EMAIL: If you are unable to attend, please send a brief email to the committee members. Be sure to note that you want it added to the bill’s permanent record.. Clearly indicate that the bill is HB 1663 and that you SUPPORT it in the subject line.
ONLINE: For 2022, the Senate offers online options for signing in, where you register your position on the bill. It becomes part of the bill’s permanent record and is considered by the committee as part of their deliberations.
We have tips on how to write effective emails and testimony here.
HB 1663 received a near-unanimous Ought to Pass with Amendment (OTP/A) vote of 18 to 1 out of the House Education Committee to position it favorably for the full House vote that followed.
Read about the House Education Committee public hearing for HB 1663 here. The article includes a link to the video recording and testimony submitted on behalf of GSHE.
GSHE conducted research efforts to support requiring Equal Access policies in all districts and show the need to remove the inequitable academic requirements of home educated students.
Tips and Resources
We created resources to help families effectively prepare communications to their legislators and it is available here.
We encourage GSHE homeschooling members to join our Facebook group, GSHE Action, where we focus exclusively on news, legislation, and issues that impact homeschool freedom.
It is very important that homeschoolers stay informed and make a commitment to be engaged. What does that mean? That means following along in GSHE Action where we will give you all the inside information and tips to support and defend homeschool freedom. It means you will need to send multiple emails to committee members, maybe call them, and try to attend public hearings. The State House has remote sign-in and viewing, but testimony must be in-person.
The key to success is YOU. Don't be passive here, hoping someone else will send a brief email or make that call. This will impact your children for years to come and you need to make it happen. GSHE will help, but we can't do it for you.
We compiled several tips on our How To Be an Effective Advocate page.
Our Make a Difference page includes several ways to easily get involved and not only engage in Concord, but help your neighbors and friends learn more about homeschooling.
We also created a handy reference page with legislators' contact information for the House and Senate education committees. It is easy to reach out to them on matters you care about.
Finally, we created an overview of the legislative process so you can follow along with how Concord works.
GSHE is a registered 501c4, all-volunteer home education support group. This allows us to take a position on legislation that impacts our community and accept donations.
By Michelle Levell