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Local district misinformed about state law

After filing a notice of intent form with the local superintendent of schools, a Home School Legal Defense Association member family received a letter from the Shelton Board of Education containing erroneous information.

The letter stated,

As part of the Connecticut General Statutes, parents are permitted to home educate their children, providing they comply with the specific procedures as outlined in sections 10-184 and 10-220. One of the provisions requires an annual portfolio review be held to determine if instruction in the required academic area has been given.
Copies of the cited statutes were included with the letter.

HSLDA Attorney Dewitt Black wrote the Shelton Board of Education on behalf of our member family, pointing out that the statutes cited by the Board of Education have to do with the compulsory attendance requirements ( 10-184) and duties of the local school board ( 10-220). Neither statute has anything to say about home instruction or contains any procedures requiring an annual portfolio review.

Black enclosed a copy of the policy adopted by the Connecticut State Board of Education on November 7, 1990. This policy permits parents to file a notice of intent to home school with the local public school superintendent and includes a portfolio review at the end of the school year. The Commissioner of Education considers compliance with this policy as satisfying 10-184 which requires parents to be able to show that a child not in public school is receiving equivalent instruction elsewhere.

Although the state board of education's guidelines are not binding law, most home schooling families in Connecticut are willing to comply with them, including an annual meeting with a public school official for the purpose of a portfolio review to determine whether there has been instruction in the required subjects. HSLDA endorses these guidelines and recommends that home educators follow them. Otherwise, parents are faced with the statutory burden of having to prove that their child is receiving instruction equivalent to that offered in the public school. Other HSLDA member families encountering school districts having a misunderstanding of state law or the guidelines should contact us for assistance.

- Dewitt T. Black