The Home Education Advisory Council (HEAC) meets at the Department of Education from 3:30 – 5 p.m. on the second Thursday in September, November, January, March, and May. Established in 1990 by RSA 193-A (the home education law), the HEAC exists to promote an understanding of home education in New Hampshire, to carry out duties assigned to it by the Commissioner of Education, and to advise the Commissioner and State Board of Education on issues concerning home education in New Hampshire.
HEAC includes twelve voting members:
Six members representing homeschooling organizations in New Hampshire; currently NHHC (N.H. Homeschooling Coalition), CHENH (Christian Home Educators of NH), CUHE (Catholics United for Home Education), Unschooling N.H., and Seacoast Christian Home Educators, have representatives on the Council.
Six members representing the N.H. Department of Education (2), N.H. School Boards Association (1), N.H. School Administrators Association (Superintendents) (1), N.H. Association of School Principals (1), and the Nonpublic Schools Advisory Council (1).
There are also three non-voting members, one from the N.H. Senate, and two from the N.H. House.
The Council seeks to establish common ground and maintain communication between educational institutions and home educators, and to find solutions to problems before they escalate to the level of needing judicial or legislative remedies. It recommends, to the State Board of Education, changes to the administrative rules for home education (Ed 315 ). These rules clarify ambiguities in RSA 193-A and have the force of law. The Council can hear grievances referred to it by the Commissioner and make a recommendation.
The Council gives New Hampshire homeschoolers a voice at the Department of Education, helps legislators on education committees understand the breadth and depth of home education, and allows us to participate in the rulemaking process. The Council is also a way to allow home educators to understand the challenges faced by the state and school district officials who serve us. It provides an effective venue for solving problems that are difficult to solve at the local level.
In 2009 the House Education Committee introduced amendments to RSA 193-A that would have expanded the state’s control over homeschooling. Those bills were defeated in the legislature due to the action of 1,000+ homeschoolers who showed up at the State House to testify. The chair of the House Education Committee then tried to insert the same language into Ed 315. Alert Council members helped prevent this misuse of the rulemaking process.
If you want to be informed of homeschooling issues and lend support to our representatives, please attend a meeting. When visitors are present there is a public comment period. When asked by the chair, visitors may participate in Council discussions. If you have questions about the HEAC, please feel free to contact the chairman, George D’Orazio, (603)623-3377, firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also check the Department of Education website at http://www.education.nh.gov/in