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Compulsory Education Laws: The Dialogue Reopens

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Portfolio Purpose Misunderstood

From time to time, Home School Legal Defense Association has to contend with Connecticut public school officials who misunderstand the purpose of the annual portfolio review for students receiving home instruction. According the state board of education’s 1990 guidelines, parents electing to comply with the guidelines should submit to school officials a portfolio of samples of their child’s school work at the end of the school year. The sole purpose of this portfolio is “to determine if instruction in the required courses has been given.” Nevertheless, some public school officials attempt to make other determinations, such as an evaluation of the child’s academic progress. At the end of the 1999–2000 school year, the Canton Schools Superintendent in Collinsville notified parents that the portfolio review was to determine whether the children had received “equivalent instruction in the studies taught in the public schools.” HSLDA was able to resolve this difficulty for the member families involved by providing the superintendent with a copy of the guidelines.

As the 2000–2001 school year begins, parents who intend to comply with Connecticut’s state board home instruction guidelines should be mindful of the purpose of the portfolio they are compiling. Only those parents not complying with the guidelines need be prepared to demonstrate that their child is receiving equivalent instruction in the studies taught in the public schools. HSLDA families with questions about the guidelines should contact our office. — Dewitt T. Black