Q. Is it correct that I don’t need to submit test results unless I want to?
A. The testing and evaluation law has changed for the 2019-2020 homeschool year. The law does not require homeschool parents to provide the results to the superintendent.
Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. James Lane requested and received authority from the Virginia secretary of education to implement emergency waivers due to COVID-19. In the superintendent’s letter, waiver #14 addresses assessments for homeschoolers.
DON’T SEND RESULTS TO SUPERINTENDENT
If you have already tested or want to test for your own information, you can do so, but do not send test results to your superintendent. File your test report at home for your own reference.
Please do not provide more information than the law requires. Providing test results may seem like a harmless thing to do–you’ve always done it, and you don’t want to get into trouble. I understand, but it sets a bad precedent. It’s a step in the wrong direction. If a few homeschool parents willingly submit more than the law requires, it suggests to superintendents that parents are willing to provide more. In another small step, superintendents could ask for more from ALL homeschoolers in their school districts.
FRANKLIN COUNTY SCHOOL BOARD CASE
This is what happened with the Franklin County School Board. There is an active case before the Virginia Supreme Court addressing a similar situation: Sosebee v. Franklin County School Board.
The school board decided that Franklin County homeschoolers must provide birth certificates and proof of residency in addition to their Notice of Intent (NOI). If the superintendent didn’t receive this additional information, they would not accept the parent’s NOI. Either because of lack of knowledge or fear, many Franklin County parents complied with the new requirement and sent in the additional documents with their NOIs–except for one family, the Sosebee family. They respectfully refused, noting the homeschool law did not require this additional information.
The school board insisted they had the authority to add this requirement, and a local judge sided with them–leading HSLDA to take the case all the way to the Virginia Supreme Court in order to protect our homeschool rights. Had they not done so–or if the Supreme Court upholds the lower court ruling–it will open the door for ANY of the 133 school divisions to set additional requirements to homeschool. (Read more about the Sosebee case here.)
When pressed by HEAV about requirements beyond the law, other school divisions have responded that parents have sent additional information without question. They have never had a problem before.
Can you imagine the problem if 133 school divisions each asked for different information in order to homeschool? Thankfully, Virginia has a homeschool law that prevents this from happening (§22.1-254.1).
If homeschoolers set a pattern of providing more information than the law requires, some superintendents will not hesitate to ask for more. More leads to more accountability and increased regulations. This is not what we want or need. Please work with HEAV to prevent this from happening.