The Home School Court Report
No. 3

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High Desert Makes Illegal Testing Demands

The Mann* family moved to the High Desert Education Service District (ESD) during the 2005-2006 school year and submitted a notice of intent to homeschool their son, David.* A subsequent letter from the ESD assigned David to the 9th grade (based on his date of birth) and requested that David's 10th-grade test results be sent to them by September 1 at the end of the 2006-2007 school year.

Concerned about two errors in the letter, the Manns, who are members of Home School Legal Defense Association, contacted our legal department.

The letter correctly stated that Oregon law requires testing in grades 3, 5, 8, and 10, which must occur by August 15 in the third, fifth, eighth, and tenth year. The "third, fifth, eighth, and tenth year" are determined by Oregon

Administrative Rules 581-021-0026(6), which defines the first year as when a child is 7 on September 1, or earlier at the parent's discretion. High Desert had assumed that David was in 9th grade, even though he was then working at a 10th-grade level. Additionally, the ESD had insisted that all test results must be submitted by September 1 of the testing year. While Oregon law requires the test to be administered by August 15, there is no deadline for when the results must be submitted-they are simply to be submitted when they become available. HSLDA Staff Attorney Thomas J. Schmidt informed the High Desert ESD that David was actually in 10th grade during the 2005-2006 school year. Schmidt also pointed out that the ESD had no legal authority to demand that test results be submitted by September 1. We expect no further difficulties from High Desert. If a member family has questions about grade levels or testing, they should not hesitate to contact us.

— by Thomas J. Schmidt

* Name changed to protect family's privacy.