Current Critical Issues

Legislation

Each year, there are a number of legislative issues that require our attention. Always be prepared to take action on an issue of importance to homeschoolers! Read our Legislative Information page to become acquainted with the legislative process in our state.

To stay informed of any threat to homeschool freedoms, sign up to receive HOME Email Updates!

Be ready to contact Current Education and Cultural Affairs Committee members on legislative issues of importance to homeschoolers. 


Current Critical Legislative Issues and Updates 

1. Government Pre-schools, LD 1530

Please call Governor LePage now, and ask him to veto LD 1530 when it reaches his desk! A veto will send the bill back to the legislature where it will need a 2/3 vote in each house to pass.  

On April 10th and 11th the Senate and the House passed an amended LD 1530, An Act To Establish a Process for the Implementation of Universal Voluntary Prekindergarten Education to be engrossed. The phone calls and presence of ranks of homeschoolers has protected freedom for all parents in Maine. Compulsory school attendance for 5-year olds has been removed from the bill. 

However, if enacted this bill begins the push to take 4-year olds out of their homes by offering free (i.e., taxpayer-funded or gambling- funded) daytime institutionalization everywhere in Maine. if enacted, the bill provides the way and means for every school district to offer free preschool to 4-year olds. This creates the perfect set-up for parents who might not know the facts, in a moment of weakness, to put their precious 4-year olds in daytime institutionalized care.

If LD 1530 is enacted, the government propaganda apparatus will be activated to convince parents how wonderful it is to put their 4-year olds in preschool. The facts—the years of research—will be buried under a barrage of simplistic media “feel good” messages.

The research is clear: the best place for little kids is at home with their families. Home is a rich environment where they interact with their environment and loving family members in ways that help them grow socially, emotionally and academically—in ways that can’t be orchestrated or mimicked in impersonal institutional settings.

Action requested: Please call Governor LePage right away. Your message can be as simple as, “Please vote NO on LD 1530. The research shows that the richest environment for 4-year olds is their homes.”Use this link to get contact information for the Governor: http://www.maine.gov/governor/lepage/citizen_services/

Our special thanks go to Representatives McClellan who continues to take important leadership roles in turning this situation around. 

Read about it in the Portland Herald: Maine committee: Use casino money to fund universal pre-K

Background on LD 1530

If passed as originally written, LD 1530 would have expanded state control over children and families in Maine. Current law requires school attendance beginning at age 7. LD 1530 would have lowered this to age 5 requiring homeschooling parents to comply with the compulsory school attendance law a full two years earlier than they do now.

Also, at a November work session on November 25, invited representatives from a number of national groups and organizations spoke of the need for standardized early education from prenatal to age 5. This bill (if passed) would open the door to that end. 

Read more background on the bill here: http://www.hslda.org/elert/archive/elertarchive.aspx?6861

Members of the Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs:

Senator Rebecca J. Millett (D-Cumberland), Chair

SenRebecca.Millett@legislature.maine.gov

Senator Christopher K. Johnson (D-Lincoln)
SenChris.Johnson@legislature.maine.gov

Senator Brian D. Langley (R-Hancock)
SenBrian.Langley@legislature.maine.gov

Representative W. Bruce MacDonald (D-Boothbay), Chair
RepBruce.MacDonald@legislature.maine.gov

Representative Mary Pennell Nelson (D-Falmouth)
RepMary.Nelson@legislature.maine.gov

Representative Helen Rankin (D-Hiram)
RepHelen.Rankin@legislature.maine.gov

Representative Matthea Elisabeth Larsen Daughtry (D-Brunswick)
RepMattie.Daughtry@legislature.maine.gov

Representative Brian L. Hubbell (D-Bar Harbor)
RepBrian.Hubbell@legislature.maine.gov

Representative Victoria P. Kornfield (D-Bangor)
<">RepTori.Kornfield@legislature.maine.gov</p>

Representative Peter B. Johnson (R-Greenville)
RepPete.Johnson@legislature.maine.gov

Representative Joyce A. Maker (R-Calais)
RepJoyce.Maker@legislature.maine.gov

Representative Michael D. McClellan (R-Raymond)
RepMichael.McClellan@legislature.maine.gov

Representative Matthew G. Pouliot (R-Augusta)
mpouliot57@gmail.com

Representative Madonna M. Soctomah (Passamaquoddy Tribe)
RepMadonna.Soctomah@legislature.maine.gov

 

2. LD 1428 is an excellent bill that would provide vital protection for religious freedom in Maine. The Judiciary Committee of the Maine Legislature truly “missed the boat” during the January 23rd work session in voting 8 to 4 against LD 1428.

Although HSLDA and HOME were not involved in drafting the bill, we support it and believe it will fill an important gap in Maine. Many states across the country have already given religious freedom the protection it deserves.

The full legislature will soon have an opportunity to take action on LD 1428. If it follows the committee’s lead, Maine will lag behind other states in protecting this most important freedom of all.

Those who oppose the bill wring their hands and talk about awful things that might happen if the bill becomes law. But in states where similar acts have already been put on the books, none of those imaginary dreadful things have happened. Nor did those hypothetical terrible things happen during the many years that religious freedom enjoyed its traditional level of protection.

The right to homeschool rests on two pillars: religious freedom and parental rights. When religious freedom is protected better, the right to homeschool is safer. HSLDA and HOME will continue to support legislation to protect religious freedom in Maine at the same level as our other foundational rights.

Common Core Standards

Currently, there is a great deal in the news about Common Core Standards.  What are they?  And what do they mean to homeschoolers?  How do we show proponents of Common Core why this is not a good thing where the education of our children is concerned.

 "Everything else aside, the bottom line is what is important to those of us who value freedom.  Common core creates de facto national standards for education and has been implemented in Maine without a full understanding by Maine citizens of its effects.  Americans should be very concerned that the place of power in education is being  moved to both federal and corporate levels.  This is a violation of the intent of the Constitution.  The Constitution leaves education up to the states.  Even though each state must pass legislation adopting the Common Core, political and economic pressure has been great on both the federal and corporate levels to adopt the standards, and the intent is to have de facto national standards.  Once the power has shifted and becomes entrenched at the federal and corporate levels, chances of power ever returning to either the states or local school boards would be slim."   

Ed Green, President, Homeschoolers of Maine  

Helpful links for more information on Common Core:

 http://www.hslda.org/commoncore

http://www.maine.gove/doe/commoncore/about.html

http://commoncoremaine.com/home.html

http://whatiscommoncore.wordpress.com/


Click HERE to print a leaflet to share with others!



Recent Legislative Issues and Updates:

LD 61, An Act To Amend Standards for Participation in Certain Public School Services by Students Who Are Homeschooled - New College Class Access Law Takes Effect!


Scott Woodruff answers questions and assists members regarding legal issues in Maine. He and his wife homeschooled their children. Read more >>

With the governor’s signature on LD 61, homeschoolers now have access to free or low-cost college courses. There are only five requirements.

  1. The student’s educational program must meet Maine’s legal requirements for home instruction.
  2. The college must have space in the classroom for the student.
  3. The student must have completed all course prerequisites.
  4. The student must submit such evidence of academic fitness as the college may request.
  5. The student must receive the college’s approval of the student’s academic fitness.

The new law will take effect for the coming 2013-2014 school year. Only courses taken within the University of Maine System, the Maine Community College System and the Maine Maritime Academy are eligible. The state Department of Education pays 50% of the in-state tuition and the college waives the remainder of the tuition costs. The student may be required to pay other fees and charges.

According to Dr. Lawrence M. Rudner’s landmark study, the average homeschool 8th grader scores at about the same level on standardized tests as a 12th grader. So it’s not surprising to see older homeschool students moving strongly into some college-level classes.

Our thanks go to Representative Eleanor Espling for sponsoring LD 61, and to Homeschoolers of Maine for working hard to make it become law.

Scott A. Woodruff, Esq., Senior Counsel, Home School Legal Defense Association

LD 92, Act Relating to Private School Student Participation in Public School Cocurricular, Interscholastic and Extracurricular Activities - Better Access to Public School Activities Passes!

Many Maine homeschool families operate within the structure of a small “recognized” private school, that is, a school that follows the Commissioner of Education’s guidelines for being recognized as providing equivalent instruction. (Larger private schools usually seek “approval” rather than “recognition”.)

In 2011, the Maine legislature enacted a law giving students in recognized private schools access to public school co-curricular, extracurricular, and interscholastic activities.  But the law gave public school principals the power to reject a student’s access request for virtually any reason. Representative Joyce A. Maker (Calais) wanted to change that.

She filed a bill, LD 92, to prevent public school principals from arbitrarily turning down access requests from students enrolled in recognized private schools.  HSLDA and Homeschoolers of Maine worked with Rep. Maker to fine tune the language. 

On July 9 the bill passed both houses of the Maine legislature, and on July 22 the governor signed it. Homeschool students in recognized schools will now be entitled to participate in the public school activities listed above.  The new law gives the principal authority to deny access only if the public school does not have the capacity for the student to participate.

We appreciate Rep. Maker’s successful work in putting a stop to arbitrary rejection of student requests to participate in public school activities.

Scott A. Woodruff, Esq., Senior Counsel, Home School Legal Defense Association

For more important information and background on the issues above, please visit HSLDA at http://www.hslda.org/elert/archive/2013/02/20130227114033.asp    

Other News

 

Switch from “NAPS” to “RAPPS”

It’s time for a switch in “lingo.” For decades, when referring to Option 2 in our Law Summary, we have used the phrase “non-approved private school” (NAPS). However, the Department of Education recently tweaked the “guidelines,” and now calls them “recognized for attendance purposes” private schools. This is not inconsistent with applicable law. We will start using the new lingo, and will refer to these schools as “RAPPS,” Recognized for Attendance Purposes Private Schools.

New Subjects for RAPPS

In “tweaking” the guidelines for recognized private schools, the Department also added two new subjects to the list of required subjects for RAPPS: health education and fine arts. This is not inconsistent with current law. If you are the administrator of a RAPPS, your next annual letter should confirm that your school will provide instruction in those subjects, as well as the others. Read more about RAPPS Guidelines here: http://www.hslda.org/hs/state/me/201308150.asp

Special Education Services

Those filing letters of intent to homeschool (Opion 1 in our Law Summary) have little to no chance of receiveing special education services through the public school. But there is a readily available alternate route for access to special education services.

A family who has been using Option 1 can switch to Option 2 (recocnized private school). Private school students have access to special education services. Many such schools are set up so that the private school instruction is delivered by the parents in their respective homes. All the best things about homeschooling continue.

If you are a homeschooler who needs access to special education services, consider enrolling in a recognized private school that is friendly toward parent-delivered instruction. Families using Option 2 are still eligible for membership in HSLDA. In fact, HSLDA membership is highly recommended!

Government Funded Public School at Home Programs

Charter schools are publicly funded schools that are typically governed by a group or organization under a contract or charter with the state. Homeschools are by definition legally and fundamentally different from charter schools.

Understanding the distinction between virtual charter schools and homeschooling is vital. Charter schools provide parents with another school choice. However, charter schools (virtual or otherwise) are still public schools in every sense of the word.

Take time to become informed! Read more at HOME's Maine Educational Choice Comparison page.

 
Parental Rights

Parental Rights in Danger

This is an issue of great importance to homeschoolers everywhere. Eighty years ago the Supreme Court declared that “the child is not the mere creature of the State; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations.” Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510 (1925).

Thirty years ago the Court continued this line of reasoning with the pronouncement that the “primary role of the parents in the upbringing of their children is now established beyond debate as an enduring American tradition.” Wisconsin v. Yoder, 406 U.S. 205 (1972).

Support for a high-view of parental rights has been seriously undermined by the current Judicial and Legislative branches of our government.  As a consequence, numerous lower federal courts refuse to treat parental rights as deserving of protection as a fundamental right.  This creates an unfriendly environment for homeschoolers and homeschooling.

To learn more about the threat to homeschooling, please read The Third Wave of Homeschool Persecution by HSLDA Chairman, Dr. Michael Farris,  The Impact of the UNCRC on Homeschooling and visit
www.parentalrights.org.

The following printable resources explain the need for the Parental Rights Amendment and the threats posed by the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child. These and other resources are available at the parentalrights.org website. Print and distribute them widely!


Why We Need a Parental Rights Amendment

Twenty Things You Need to Know About the U. N. Convention on the Rights of the Child

The Domestic Threat to Parental Rights

The Parental Rights Amendment: Frequently Asked Questions

Be sure to Sign the Petition: Numbers count! Please sign the petition to say, "Yes, I believe that parental rights should be constitutionally protected through the proposed Parental Rights Amendment." Our first goal is to reach 3,000 signatures from Maine to show support for the amendment to our Maine Legislators and Maine U. S. Senators!

For all the latest news and information on parental rights issues for Maine, please visit parentalrightsformaine.org