The Home Education Advisory Council (HEAC) met on Thursday, January 28, 2021. Present were Kitty Michelotti (Chairman, Granite State Home Educators), George D’Orazio (Vice Chairman, Catholics United for Home Education NH), Senator Ruth Ward, Jennifer Pereira (Catholics United for Home Education NH), Stef Marsh (NH Homeschooling Coalition), Michael Koski (NH Association of School Principals), and me, Michelle Levell (GSHE), as a public guest. A quorum was not present so no actions were taken.
Kitty (GSHE) informed the council that the Joint Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules (JLCAR) approved the proposed version of Ed 315 without any amendments on or about December 17, 2020. The adoption of revised rules requires 45 days to go into effect. The NH Department of Education’s links to Ed 315 does not reflect the new version yet, but we hope it will be updated soon. In 2018 HEAC was tasked by Commissioner Edelblut to review and revise the home ed rules to make them simpler and better aligned to statute. This has been a main focus of HEAC’s work the last couple years; thanks to all who worked hard on this effort.
Kitty informed the council that the School District Governance Association asked GSHE to provide an alternative to Policy IHBG that was supplied by the NH School Board Association. This is the policy that many districts have regarding home education. Read more about it here.
The hot topic was the recent announcement by College Board to remove the essay section of the SAT exam and the termination of SAT II subject tests. Many homeschoolers use these exams to highlight their academic strengths in an objective way and as a comparison to their traditional schooled peers. The SAT exams are usually more accessible to homeschoolers as compared to AP classes and tests that require registration months in advance and often have limited test seats available at local public schools. There was concern that this may push homeschoolers into accredited programs to demonstrate academic rigor. The ACT offers some subject tests, but they are structured as broader categories of reading, writing, science, and math. Many competitive, four-year universities specify SAT II subject tests for admission and they will need to adjust those requirements or accept alternatives now that the exams are discontinued. Families should check with their intended colleges to find out what their admission departments require.
Stef has been working closely with the NH Department of Labor to have the Youth Employment Certificate and FAQ correctly updated to reflect the 2016 statute change that empowers families to sign required employment forms for teens. Read more about the youth employment requirements here.
She is also urging the NH Department of Education to repost information on homeschool graduation to their website. When the department recently revamped their website, the information that confirms families self-certify the completion of 12th grade was removed.
There was also general discussion that there are open seats on the Home Education Advisory Committee. Home ed statute, RSA 193-A, states that homeschool representatives are nominated by home ed associations organized within New Hampshire. Contact Kitty if you are interested or have questions about serving on HEAC.
HEAC will meet again on March 25, 2021 starting at 3:30pm. The public is welcome to attend the remote meeting. Register using this Zoom link and meeting information: meeting ID 956 8193 5821 and passcode 915437.
Read More About HEAC
By Michelle Levell