The Home School Court Report
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January / February 2004

Can Judicial Tyranny Be Stopped?

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Impact of the Widows Curriculum Scholarship Fund

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DMV form takes "approval" detour

Early last year, Home School Legal Defense Association and Home Educators Association of Virginia pushed to change Virginia law to allow parents to teach the in-car portion of driver education. Virginia House Bill 2404 was subsequently signed into law on March 24, 2003.

In July, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) issued forms to administer the new law. Unfortunately, the forms go beyond the law and require parents to obtain a letter from their local superintendent "approving" their homeschool program.

Since superintendents have no authority to "approve" any homeschool program, this requirement places all parties in an awkward position.

Furthermore, superintendents having power to "approve" a family's homeschool program would be a huge step backward for homeschool freedom in Virginia. HSLDA has worked for years to abolish laws that require families to obtain approval to homeschool. Last year Maine replaced its approval law with a simple requirement to notify the state. Unnecessary contacts from the state dropped dramatically. Only three states continue to swim against the tide and require approval.

HSLDA is working to get the inappropriate "approval" language removed from all the forms. Until then, rather than asking their superintendent for a letter of "approval," we recommend that families opting for parent-taught in-car training ask for a letter simply stating they are in compliance with all applicable homeschool requirements. If your driver-to-be is under religious exemption, a copy of the letter from the school board recognizing the exemption should suffice.

In fact, parents should be able to self-certify-that is, certify by their own signature that they are in compliance with the law-without having to attach a letter from a superintendent or school board. This is the goal toward which we are working.

— Scott A. Woodruff