Bill Text - HB595 (2012)

Amending the compulsory school attendance statutes to permit parent-directed instruction programs and repealing the home education statutes.


Revision: Jan. 5, 2012, midnight

HB 595 – AS INTRODUCED

2011 SESSION

11-0755

04/05

HOUSE BILL 595

AN ACT amending the compulsory school attendance statutes to permit parent-directed instruction programs and repealing the home education statutes.

SPONSORS: Rep. L. Jones, Straf 1; Rep. Manuse, Rock 5; Rep. Cohn, Merr 6; Rep. Baldasaro, Rock 3; Rep. C. Vita, Straf 3; Rep. Accornero, Belk 4; Rep. Avard, Hills 20; Rep. S. Palmer, Hills 6; Rep. Simpson, Belk 1; Sen. White, Dist 9; Sen. Forsythe, Dist 4; Sen. Luther, Dist 12

COMMITTEE: Education

ANALYSIS

This bill:

I. Repeals the home education statute.

II. Permits parent-directed instruction programs.

III. Asserts that it is the natural right of a parent to determine and direct the instruction of his or her child and limits the involvement of the state in parent-directed instruction programs only to cases in which there is probable cause to believe that a parent is neglecting a child’s instruction.

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Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.

Matter removed from current law appears [in brackets and struckthrough.]

Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.

11-0755

04/05

STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Eleven

AN ACT amending the compulsory school attendance statutes to permit parent-directed instruction programs and repealing the home education statutes.

Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:

1 Statement of Purpose. It is the natural right and duty of parents to determine and direct the instruction of their children for their education. The general court acknowledges that the primary and natural instructor of a child is the parents, and the general court guarantees the right and duty of parents to provide for the instruction of their children. Parents shall be free to provide this instruction in the manner and at the location of their choosing, including their homes or in private schools or in schools recognized or established by their resident school district or by the state or in other places where instruction can be given.

2 Child Protection Act; Definitions. Amend RSA 169-C:3, XIX(b) to read as follows:

(b) Who is without proper parental care or control, subsistence, [education as required by law,] or other care or control necessary for his physical, mental, or emotional health, when it is established that his health has suffered or is very likely to suffer serious impairment; and the deprivation is not due primarily to the lack of financial means of the parents, guardian or custodian; or

3 Truant Officers; Duties. Amend RSA 189:36 to read as follows:

189:36 Duties.

I. Truant officers shall, when directed by the school board, enforce the laws and regulations relating to truants and children between the ages of 6 and 18 years not attending school or who are not participating in an alternative learning plan under RSA 193:1, I[(h)] (b)(8); and the laws relating to the attendance at school of children between the ages of 6 and 18 years; and shall have authority without a warrant to take and place in school any children found employed contrary to the laws relating to the employment of children, or violating the laws relating to the compulsory attendance at school of children under the age of 18 years, and the laws relating to child labor. No [home school pupil] child in a parent-directed instruction program nor any person between the ages of 6 and 18 who meets any of the requirements of RSA 193:1, I[(c)-(h)] (b)(2)-(8) shall be deemed a truant.

II. A truant officer or school official shall not file a petition alleging that the child is in need of services pursuant to RSA 169-D:2, II(a) until all steps in the school district’s intervention process under RSA 189:34, II have been followed.

4 School Attendance; Duty of Parents. Amend the section heading of RSA 193:1 and RSA 193:1, I to read as follows:

193:1 Right and Duty of [Parent] Parents; Compulsory Attendance by Pupil.

I. It is the natural right of parents to determine and direct the instruction of their children. A parent of any child at least 6 years of age and under 18 years of age:

(a) Shall instruct such child or cause such child to be instructed as determined by the parent. The legislature encourages instruction in literature and the sciences, including agriculture, arts, sciences and mathematics, commerce, trades, manufactures, and natural history of the country; and countenances inculcation in the principles of humanity and general benevolence, public and private charity, industry and economy, honesty and punctuality, sincerity, sobriety, and all social affectations, and generous sentiments; or

(b) Shall cause such child to attend the public school to which the child is assigned in the child’s resident district. Such child shall attend the public school to which the child is assigned full time when such school is in session unless:

(1) The child is receiving parent-directed instruction and is therefore exempt from this requirement;

[(a)] (2) The child is attending a New Hampshire public school outside the district to which the child is assigned or an approved New Hampshire private school for the same time;

[(b) The child is receiving home education pursuant to RSA 193-A and is therefore exempt from this requirement;

(c)] (3) The relevant school district superintendent has excused a child from attendance because the child is physically or mentally unable to attend school, or has been temporarily excused upon the request of the parent for purposes agreed upon by the school authorities and the parent. Such excused absences shall not be permitted if they cause a serious adverse effect upon the student’s educational progress. Students excused for such temporary absences may be claimed as full-time pupils for purposes of calculating state aid under RSA 186-C:18 and adequate education grants under RSA 198:41;

[(d)] (4) The child is attending a public or private school located in another state which has been approved by the state education agency of the state in which the school is located;

[(e)] (5) The pupil has been exempted from attendance pursuant to RSA 193:5;

[(f)] (6) The pupil has successfully completed all requirements for graduation and the school district is prepared to issue a diploma or the pupil has successfully achieved the equivalent of a high school diploma by [either:

(1)] obtaining a GED certificate[; or

(2) Documenting the completion of a home school program at the high school level by submitting a certificate or letter to the department of education];

[(g)] (7) The pupil has been accepted into an accredited postsecondary education program; or

[(h)] (8) The pupil obtains a waiver from the superintendent, which shall only be granted upon proof that the pupil is 16 years of age or older and has an alternative learning plan for obtaining either a high school diploma or its equivalent.

[(1)] (A) Alternative learning plans shall include age-appropriate academic rigor and the flexibility to incorporate the pupil’s interests and manner of learning. These plans may include, but are not limited to, such components or combination of components of extended learning opportunities as independent study, private instruction, performing groups, internships, community service, apprenticeships, and on-line courses.

[(2)] (B) Alternative learning plans shall be developed, and amended if necessary, in consultation with the pupil, a school guidance counselor, the school principal and at least one parent or guardian of the pupil, and submitted to the school district superintendent for approval.

[(3)] (C) If the superintendent does not approve the alternative learning plan, the parent or guardian of the pupil may appeal such decision to the local school board. A parent or guardian may appeal the decision of the local school board to the state board of education consistent with the provisions of RSA 21-N:11, III.

5 Compulsory School Attendance; Definitions. Amend RSA 193:1, III to read as follows:

III. In this section[,]:

(a) “Child” means a child or children of compulsory attendance age who is a resident of New Hampshire.

(b) “Parent” means a parent, guardian, or person having legal custody of a child.

(c) “Parent-directed instruction” means instruction determined and directed by the parent or guardian of a child who is of compulsory school age.

6 New Paragraph; School Attendance; Limitations on State Action. Amend RSA 193:1 by inserting after paragraph I the following new paragraph:

I-a. Notwithstanding the neglect provisions of RSA 169-C and RSA 169-D, the following procedure shall apply to a parent involved in a parent-directed instruction program:

(a) The state shall not interfere with the natural right of a parent to instruct his or her child unless the state has probable cause to believe that a parent involved in a parent-directed instruction program is found to have neglected his or her child’s instruction.

(b) If there is probable cause to believe that a parent involved in a parent-directed instruction program is neglecting his or her child’s instruction, the state may investigate, after prior notice to the parent, to determine if there is sufficient evidence to proceed against the parent.

(c) The state shall only proceed against a parent in accordance with the Constitutional provisions for due process and a fair trial, during which the parent shall be considered innocent until proven guilty.

(d) The state shall not compel a parent to submit evidence to prove his or her innocence, nor shall the state presume such parent has neglected the instruction of his or her child based on the parent’s failure to submit such evidence.

(e) In any state action relating to a parent involved in a parent-directed instruction program, no finding or opinion that a parent has neglected the instruction of his or her child shall issue except upon evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that a child will suffer severe educational harm.

(f) A parent involved in a parent-directed instruction program who is found to have neglected his or her child based on a failure to provide the child with parent-directed instruction shall be guilty of a violation. Under no circumstances shall the state remove a child from a parent’s custody based on an allegation or finding of neglecting his or her child’s instruction or for any other allegation or finding pertaining to a parent-directed instruction program. Only under extreme cases of neglecting a child’s instruction may the court order the child to be returned to a public or nonpublic school, as may be determined by the parent.

(g) If a parent involved in a parent-directed instruction program is found to have neglected his or her child’s instruction, the court shall issue written findings supporting its ruling and shall include recommendations advising the parent and the state agency conducting the investigation on how to avoid similar proceedings in the future.

(h) Original jurisdiction of any action brought against a parent engaged in a parent-directed instruction program shall be in the superior court in the county of the parent’s residence.

(i) All laws or rules adopted to regulate education shall be consistent with the equal protection provisions of the United States Constitution and the New Hampshire Constitution.

7 School Attendance; Access to Public School Programs. Amend RSA 193:1-c to read as follows:

193:1-c Access to Public School Programs by Pupils in Nonpublic or [Home Educated Pupils] Parent-Directed Instruction Programs.

I. Pupils in nonpublic or [home educated pupils] parent-directed instruction programs shall have access to curricular courses and cocurricular programs offered by the school district in which the pupil resides. The local school board may adopt a policy regulating participation in curricular courses and cocurricular programs, provided that such policy shall not be more restrictive for [non-public or home educated pupils] pupils in a nonpublic or parent-directed instruction program than the policy governing the school district’s resident pupils. In this section, “cocurricular” shall include those activities which are designed to supplement and enrich regular academic programs of study, provide opportunities for social development, and encourage participation in clubs, athletics, performing groups, and service to school and community. For purposes of allowing access as described in this section, a [“home educated pupil”] pupil in a parent-directed instruction program shall not include any pupil who has graduated from a high school level program [of home education,] or its equivalent, or has attained the age of 21.

II. Nothing in this section shall be construed to require a parent to establish a [home education] parent-directed instruction program which exceeds the requirements of RSA 193:1.

8 School Attendance; Bylaws as to Nonattendance. Amend RSA 193:16 to read as follows:

193:16 Bylaws as to Nonattendance. Districts may make bylaws, not repugnant to law, concerning habitual truants and children between the ages of 6 and 18 years not attending school or who are not participating in an alternative learning plan under RSA 193:1, I[(h)] (b)(8), and to compel the attendance of such children at school; failure to comply with such bylaws shall constitute a violation for each offense.

9 Legislative Youth Advisory Council; Membership. Amend RSA 19-K:2, I-IV to read as follows:

I. The president of the senate shall appoint the following 7 members:

(a) Three youths who are students in secondary schools, who are [home school] students in a parent-directed instruction program as provided in RSA 193:1, I, or who are enrolled in programs that lead to a secondary school diploma, certificate of attendance, or general equivalency diploma.

(b) Three youths who are residents of this state and who are students at postsecondary education institutions located in the state.

(c) One member of the senate.

II. The speaker of the house of representatives shall appoint the following 8 members:

(a) Four youths who are students in secondary schools, who are [home school] students in a parent-directed instruction program as provided in RSA 193:1, I, or who are enrolled in programs that lead to a secondary school diploma, certificate of attendance, or general equivalency diploma.

(b) Three youths who are residents of this state and who are students at postsecondary education institutions located in the state.

(c) One member of the house of representatives.

III. The governor shall appoint the following 3 members:

(a) Two youths who are students in secondary schools, who are [home school] students in a parent-directed instruction program as provided in RSA 193:1, I, or who are enrolled in programs that lead to a secondary school diploma, certificate of attendance, or general equivalency diploma.

(b) One youth who is a resident of this state and who is a student at a postsecondary education institution located in the state.

IV. The secretary of state shall appoint the following 3 members:

(a) Two youths who are students in secondary schools, who are [home school] students in a parent-directed instruction program as provided in RSA 193:1, I, or who are enrolled in programs that lead to a secondary school diploma, certificate of attendance, or general equivalency diploma.

(b) One youth who is a resident of this state and who is a student at a postsecondary education institution located in the state.

10 Special Education; Advisory Committee. Amend RSA 186-C:3-b, II(p) to read as follows:

(p) One individual representing children with disabilities who are [home-schooled] in a parent-directed instruction program as specified in RSA 193:1, I, appointed by the governor.

11 Granite State Scholars Program; Scholar Designation. Amend RSA 188-D:39, II to read as follows:

II. The state board of education shall adopt rules, pursuant to RSA 541-A, relative to establishing the granite state scholar designation in high schools that do not calculate class rank, in non-accredited high schools, and for [home schooled] students in a parent-directed instruction program as provided in RSA 193:1, I.

12 Statewide Education Improvement and Assessment Program; Assessment Required. Amend RSA 193-C:6 to read as follows:

193-C:6 Assessment Required. Each year, a statewide assessment shall be administered in all school districts in the state in grades 3 through 8 and one grade in high school. All public school students in the designated grades shall participate in the assessment, unless such student is exempted, or provided that the commissioner of the department of education may, through an agreement with another state when such state and New Hampshire are parties to an interstate agreement, allow pupils to participate in that state's assessment program as an alternative to the assessment required under this chapter. [Home educated students may contact their local school districts if they wish to participate in the statewide assessment.] Private schools may contact the department of education to participate in the statewide assessment.

13 Safe School Zones; Definitions. Amend RSA 193-D:1, III to read as follows:

III. “School” means any public or private elementary, secondary, or secondary vocational-technical school in New Hampshire. It shall not include [home schools under RSA 193-A] a personal residence or other space used to conduct a parent-directed instruction program pursuant to RSA 193:1, I.

14 Chartered Public Schools; Establishment and Application. Amend RSA 194-B:3, VIII to read as follows:

VIII. [Home education programs established pursuant to RSA 193-A] A parent-directed instruction program as specified in RSA 193:1, I shall not be eligible to be a chartered public school.

15 School Administrative Units; Superintendent Services. Amend RSA 194-C:4, II(d) to read as follows:

(d) Compliance with laws, regulations, and rules regarding special education, Title IX, the Americans with Disabilities Act, [home education,] minimum standards, student records, sexual harassment, and other matters as may from time to time occur.

16 Cooperative School Districts; Procedure for Formation. Amend RSA 195:18, III(e) to read as follows:

(e) The method of apportioning the operating expenses of the cooperative school district among the several preexisting districts and the time and manner of payment of such shares. [Home education pupils who do not receive services from the cooperative school district, except an evaluation pursuant to RSA 193-A:6, II shall not be included in the average daily membership relative to apportionment formulas.]

17 Cooperative School Districts; Procedure for Formation. Amend RSA 195:18, III(g) to read as follows:

(g) The method of apportioning the capital expenses of the cooperative school district among the several preexisting districts, which need not be the same as the method for apportioning operating expenses, and the time and manner of payment of such shares. Capital expenses shall include the costs of acquiring land and buildings for school purposes, including property owned by a preexisting district; the construction, furnishing and equipping of school buildings and facilities; and the payment of the principal and interest of any indebtedness which is incurred to pay for the same or which is assumed by the cooperative school district. [Home education pupils who do not receive services from the cooperative school district, except an evaluation pursuant to RSA 193-A:6, II, shall not be included in the average daily membership relative to apportionment formulas.]

18 Repeal. The following are repealed:

I. RSA 193-A, relative to home education programs.

II. RSA 195:7, relative to home education pupils included in the apportionment formula for a cooperative school district.

19 Effective Date. This act shall take effect upon its passage.

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