Legislation

Current Critical Legislative Issues and Updates

 

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. 

 

Members of the Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs and their contact information are listed here.

 

2013 Legislative Victories

 

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!

 

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 took effect in the 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, 2013, the bill passed both houses of the Maine legislature, and on July 22 the governor signed it. Homeschool students in recognized schools are now 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    

 

 

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