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Maine Homeschoolers Pack Hearing Room for LD 160
Over 550 homeschoolers from all across Maine packed the room where the Joint Educational and Cultural Affairs committee conducted a hearing on Legislative Document 160 on February 11, 2003. There were so many they spilled out into the adjacent hall and filled an overflow room.
Maine's LD 160 would create a new homeschool option free of the needless restrictions the Department of Education has imposed through its rules. The bill would allow homeschoolers to breathe freely after 20 years of stifling micromanagement.
Most committee members were already very familiar with LD 160. Homeschoolers had sent them a tremendous number of letters, emails and phone messages before the hearing.
Witness after witness spoke in favor of LD 160, including myself, Senator Carol Weston, a principal sponsor of the bill, education expert Kathi Kearney, Ed Green of Homeschoolers of Maine, and other lawmakers.
Not a single witness opposed the bill. A representative of the Department of Education spoke and did not oppose abolishing the archaic "approval" process and replacing it with a notice of intent. She did, however, request several amendments.
A number of details remain to be worked out. The committee will meet for a work session on February 20, to consider amendments to the bill and then vote on sending the bill to the full House and Senate.
The outpouring of support from the home school community has been tremendous. Bill sponsor Carol Weston is working with great dedication to help this bill become law. Even the Department of Education, which has done so much over the past two years to try to restrict homeschool freedom, is not opposing the abolition of "approval." Our work, however, is not nearly over. We must still get the bill through the committee's work session, then the house and senate.
For further information visit:
Maine Homeschoolers Fight Against Repressive Regulations
Maine Legislation Creates Less Restrictive Homeschool Procedures