The Home School Court Report
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The new pioneers: Black home schoolers

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HSLDA legal contacts for April 2001

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Portfolio review demanded

Home School Legal Defense Association recently assisted a member family who had been ordered by the superintendent of the Mechanicsburg Area School District to submit their portfolio for review at the time they began a home education program.

As required by state law, the family had filed with the superintendent a notarized affidavit prior to beginning home instruction. Immediately upon receiving the affidavit, the superintendent responded with a letter to the mother, telling her that she had 15 days in which to submit a portfolio of her child's academic instruction at a meeting with the superintendent.

HSLDA informed the superintendent by letter that state law prescribes only two instances when the portfolio is to be provided to the local public school superintendent: (1) at the conclusion of each public school year and (2) if the superintendent has a reasonable belief that an appropriate education may not be occurring in the home education program. HSLDA pointed out to the superintendent that it was impossible for him to have any indication that an appropriate education was not occurring, because his demand for submission of the portfolio was made as soon as the home instruction began.

Unfortunately this is not the only instance in which HSLDA has encountered abuses of authority by superintendents insisting upon submission of portfolio documentation when there is no legal basis for it. Member families encountering such difficulties are encouraged to contact HSLDA for assistance.

- Dewitt T. Black