The Home School Court Report
VOLUME XV, NUMBER 1
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JANUARY / FEBRUARY 1999
Cover
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Cover Story
Home Visits Ruled Unconstitutional by Mass. Supreme Judicial Court

Special Features
A Scorecard for the 105th Congress

Another Home Schooling Statesman

National Center Reports
Vocational Education Bill Passes With Protection

Preparing for the 106th Congress

FDIC Drafts “Know Your Customer” Regulations

Children’s Scholarship Fund Moves Forward

Free Computers for Home Schoolers

Across the States
State by State

Regular Features
Press Clippings

Notes to Members

Prayer and Praise

Active Cases

President’s Page

H  O  M  E     S  C  H  O  O  L  I  N  G     N  E  W  S     F  R  O  M
Across the States
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Rhode Island
Department of Education Nixes Tests
    In a letter to the Providence School Department, the state department of education squelched any idea of mandatory standardized testing of home schoolers. Providence had asked the department whether it might insist upon pre- and post-testing for home schoolers. The department wrote back as follows:
    First, with regard to a pre-enrollment assessment of a home instruction student, R.I.G.L. 16-19-1 does not mention any such assessment in the home-instruction requirements. A school district therefore does not have any authority to require a pre-enrollment assessment as part of the home-instruction program . . . As for a school district’s authority to require standardized testing for home-instruction students, the Commissioner has ruled that, due to the statute’s silence on the assessment component, there exists “the flexibility to accommodate, when possible, the preferences of parents for certain mechanisms for measurement . . . .”
    The department observed that testing instruments approved by the commissioner of education include consensual home visits, lesson plans, progress reports, and work samples as well as standardized testing.
    The department concluded,
    A school district cannot impose a blanket requirement that home-instruction students receive standardized testing. Standardized testing remains an option to be used when schools and parents agree. In situations where there is no agreement, and the school district believes standardized testing is necessary, the Commissioner’s appeal process is the proper forum to resolve those disputes.

Rhode Island
    Samuel Gorton fled to Rhode Island after he was banished from Massachusetts for defending his maid, who had been punished for smiling in church.