Tests Proposed for Maine Homeschoolers

Published April 1, 2001

If a bill filed by Maine legislators becomes law, public schools there would receive a financial windfall for every child that is homeschooled, while the homeschooled students would be required to take state assessment tests.

Under Senate Bill 129, public schools would collect 25 percent of the state’s per-pupil funding for each student homeschooled in their district, even though the schools provide no educational services to those students.

According to the Home School Legal Defense Association, no state in the country currently requires homeschooled children to take a test based on the state’s public school curriculum, as the Maine Educational Assessment (MEA) test is. Parents who homeschool their children are generally permitted to choose a curriculum that best meets their educational goals by selecting from a wide variety of available curricula. The proposed testing requirement would compel these parents to make “a painful choice,” says HSLDA spokesperson Rich Jefferson.

“Do I continue teaching the curriculum I know is best for my individual child, even if it means my child is stigmatized by a low MEA score, or do I surrender to the pressure and start teaching my child the public school curriculum?” asked Jefferson.