Comprehensive Plan Targets Homeschoolers
The VDOE reports that for 2021-2022 homeschooling numbers are up by 40% from pre-pandemic numbers. This is approximately 17,647 students who were expected to re-enter the system in 2021-2022 but have not.
At $14,386 average per student, this is $253,869,742 that is missing due to parents’ choice to homeschool in 2021-2022.
There are approximately 61,873 homeschoolers in Virginia. This is almost $1B that is not allocated to government-run education.
And they are feeling the loss.
A district developed a “Comprehensive Plan,” with the stated goals to:
- Increase the number of homeschool students re-entering county public schools
- Ensure that the rigor of a homeschool curriculum is sufficient to prepare students to re-enter schools
- Reduce the number of students “applying” for home school instruction due to attendance issues
- Make home school students aware of opportunities available in county schools.
- Review individual student’s homeschool curriculum to identify gaps and ensure students meet minimal standards and identify gaps
- Improve communication between truancy officers, parents, and home school liaison in regard to students that are referred to court services due to attendance.
- Ensure students meet the standards of the grade level they are entering, as shown by the prior year’s assessments
Such an agenda is alarming because it oversteps Homeschool Law and will intrude into the homeschool parents’ right to educate their own children. Like programs offered via a private school and certified tutor, the homeschool law, 22.1-254.1, does not assign authority for a superintendent to either review or deem sufficient a parent’s chosen curriculum.
To that end, the school district added the following requirements for homeschool parents:
- They must provide a “Home Instruction Information Form,” in addition to a district-provided NOI that in itself asks for more personal information than stated by law
- Parents must return those forms by August 1 (rather than August 15, as required by law).
- They must notify the district that they are no longer homeschooling, which is not required.
- Parents were told that all subtest scores were required, but the law requires only a composite score.
- Parents must submit immunization records as part of the notification of intent packet, leaving the impression these records are required in order to homeschool.
- Parents choosing option iii must provide the name and address of the school, courses in which the child is enrolled, and a description of a program of study or curriculum you will use for home instruction.
Each of these requirements contradicts the clear statement of the homeschool law, 22.1-254.1
Status: Mixed. Superintendents have stopped requiring all test scores. We cannot confirm whether documents and processes have been updated, and HEAV advises parents to know their homeschool rights and decline to submit information that is not required.