Calvert and Cecil make unlawful demands
How much information is too much information? For Maryland home school families who know the law, the answer is clear. Maryland Regulation 13A.10.01.01.F states: "A local school system may not impose additional requirements for home instruction programs other than those in these regulations." However, two county public school systems recently stepped over that line when they made up their own lists of required information.
Calvert County Public Schools has informed home school families that after the initial assurance of consent has been filed " . . . each subsequent year there must be some form of verification that the child is still receiving home instruction . . ." This is not correct. Maryland Regulation 13.A.10.01.01.B(2) requires only that an assurance of consent be filed at the beginning of a home instruction program.
Furthermore, Calvert County has developed an assurance of consent form that requests information concerning the race of the family. Some home school families may find this offensive. It is clearly unnecessary and a violation of the regulation prohibiting local school systems from imposing additional requirements on home instruction programs. On behalf of our members, Home School Legal Defense Association asked Dr. Ray D'Arienzo, the Calvert County Supervisor of Student Services, to discontinue this unlawful practice.
When a Cecil County HSLDA member recently dropped off a portfolio to be reviewed by public school officials, the receptionist handed him a form and asked him to complete it on the spot. The form-"Home Instruction Checklist for Portfolio Review"-called for detailed information, including:
- what are the hours of instruction per day?
- is an attendance record available?
- is a schedule of classes available? and
- is sufficient time is given to implement instructional goals?
HSLDA contacted Dr. Delbert L. Jackson and explained that the county is not permitted to require families to fill the form out. He agreed, and gave assurances that his staff would explain in the future that filling out the form is strictly optional. HSLDA recommends that families not fill out the form. — Scott A. Woodruff