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Home study renewal application denied
For the 2005-2006 school year, Mr. and Mrs. Clark* submitted to their state the renewal application for their son's home study program, along with his Stanford Achievement Test results. (The composite score total was at the 90th percentile.) However, the Louisiana Department of Education (DOE) sent the application back as "unapproved" because the Clarks had not submitted their son's grade level for the upcoming school year.
When this Home School Legal Defense Association member family contacted our office, Staff Attorney Thomas J. Schmidt wrote the Louisiana DOE, pointing out that, although state law requires a home study program to offer a sustained curriculum of a quality at least equal to that offered by the public school at the same grade level, there is no legal requirement that a parent indicate the grade level at which the child will be working.
Instead, according to the law, the application shall be approved if the child has scored at or above his grade level, or if the child's progress rate is equal to one grade level for each year in a home study program. The only time parents should have to include a grade level on a home study application is when the student reaches the 11th and 12th grades and wants to be eligible for the Louisiana Tuition Opportunity Program for Students. HSLDA has specifically designed home study forms for these years, and members can locate them in the "Forms and Resources" section at www.hslda.org.
In response to Schmidt's letter, the DOE erroneously stated that the law requires the renewal application to include the grade level. The DOE insisted that these guidelines were necessary to satisfy their legitimate educational concerns.
HSLDA continues to defend families who refuse to give in to the DOE's unauthorized demands.
— by Thomas J. Schmidt
* Name changed to protect family's privacy.