In February, the House Education Committee held a public hearing and voted on House Bill 20, the Education Freedom Account bill in the NH House. We blogged these sessions on our Facebook page – public hearing session #1, public hearing session #2, and executive session #1, and exec session #2. Although committee leaders discussed an extensive amendment to address several concerns, the bill was retained so the House Education Committee may continue to work on it in the coming months.
In March, the Senate Education Committee introduced SB 130, their version of the EFA bill that is nearly identical to HB 20. We blogged the public hearing here. SB 130 has the same problem areas regarding homeschooling; the bill fails to create a new and distinct category for satisfying education attendance. We asked for this “firewall” amendment to eliminate confusion between the EFA program and home education and allow a student to exit the EFA program for private or home education, not only public education. At their executive session, multiple amendments were introduced and passed, but the Senate Education Committee failed to make the changes we requested to protect homeschoolers.
We created a brief article and video about HB 20’s risk to homeschoolers, and it is applicable to SB 130.
The entire NH Senate will vote on SB 130 on Thursday, March 18, starting at 10am. Below is the contact information for all NH senators. Please email them before Thursday morning urging them to add a “firewall” amendment to protect homeschoolers.
If SB 130 passes the senate, it will progress to the Senate Finance or Ways and Means Committee for another public hearing and executive session.
GSHE does not have a position either universal EFA bill, HB 20 nor SB 130, because we believe families should make a decision for themselves whether or not they support, oppose, or are neutral on the bills. We provide this additional background and analysis so families can make a fully-informed decision whether these programs may be a good fit for them or not. We will continue to monitor the progress of the EFA bills as they move through the legislature.
GSHE’s articles on the EFA bills are here for your consideration.
Granite State Home Educators has a Facebook group, GSHE Action, specifically to discuss issues, legislation, and news related to homeschool freedom. It is intended to be a group for GSHE members who share our beliefs in empowered families, parents’ rights to direct their children’s education, and the power of community.
By Michelle Levell
Granite State Home Educators is a 501c4 all-volunteer NH-based support group for the homeschool community.