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January / February 2004

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High Desert: Should parents use form?

A Home School Legal Defense Association member family in the High Desert Education Service District (ESD) encountered an unusual problem regarding the submission of standardized achievement test scores. State law requires parents to submit results of standardized achievement tests in grades 3, 5, 8, and 10, when requested to do so by the ESD. The High Desert ESD created a Notice of Intent to Home School form stating that use of the form by parents would serve as the ESD's request for the test scores. Because the form requested information not required by state law (the grade and sex of the child, special education services data, and the reason the parents had chosen to homeschool), the family instead provided the notice in letter form. Subsequently, the family received a letter from High Desert ESD stating that unless the test scores were submitted by January, their child would be removed from the homeschool roster.

HSLDA Senior Counsel Dewitt Black informed High Desert that the family in question had complied with state law without using the ESD form, and because of this, the family did not consider that the ESD had ever requested the test scores from them. Black stated, however, that the family was willing to submit the test scores and would do so by the date requested by the ESD.

Oregon families being asked to use notification forms that seek information beyond state law requirements may choose to use the form, providing only the information required by state law, or they may use the HSLDA-developed form for Oregon on our website. A letter to the ESD containing the required information is also sufficient. The letter must include the name and address of parent and child, the child's birth date, and the name of the school the child is presently attending or last attended (if the child has not attended school, the name of the public school district in which the child resides should be given). The Oregon Administrative Rules for homeschooling state that parents also have the option of providing their telephone number and email address.

— Dewitt T. Black