Current Critical Issues
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.
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Be ready to contact Current Education and Cultural Affairs Committee members on legislative issues of importance to homeschoolers.
Current Legislative issues and Updates:
LD 61, An Act To Amend Standards for Participation in Certain Public School Services by Students Who Are Homeschooled - In a work session on February 20, Rep. Ellie Espling proposed an amendment to pave the way for successful passage of LD 61. The amendment will allow the portion of the bill related to access to college classes (Aspirations Program) to stand alone. The portion of the bill related to access to special education services was removed, and will be dealt with at a later time. The Education Committee voted unanimously to pass the amended version of LD 61! Thank you to Rep. Espling, the sponsor of the bill, for her strategic work! Please contact Education Committee members to thank them for their support of homeschoolers!
The next step for this bill is enactment in the House and the Senate. Please pray for safe passage through the process!
For background on this bill, click here.
LD 92, Act Relating to Private School Student Participation in Public School Cocurricular, Interscholastic and Extracurricular Activities - In a work session on February 25, the Education Committee voted to pass an amended version of this bill. LD 92, if enacted, would open the door for participation in extracurricular activities by students enrolled in home-based recognized private schools. We thank Rep. Joyce Maker for taking a strong stand on behalf of students in these small private schools.
For more important information and background on the issues above, please visit HSLDA at http://www.hslda.org/elert/archive/2013/02/20130227114033.asp
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.
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.
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