Across the States
Working out the New Law
The Vermont Department of Education appears to be working through the implications of the revised home study law. Recently, the department sent out letters to Vermont homeschoolers asking for paperwork the department had already received.
Any bureaucracy has problems with paperwork, and the Vermont Department of Education is no exception. If you have received one of these requests for duplicate information, a call to the department will likely clear up the matter.
The revised home study law allows for reduced paperwork over time, but retains the onerous hearing provisions. In fact, a single parent recently attempted to enroll her child in home study and was prevented because her ex-husband objected to homeschooling, even though the final divorce decree contained a specific agreement that the child would be homeschooled. Additionally, the department disapproved of the mother’s special needs accommodations.
The department dragged her through four grueling days of hearings before the hearing officer ruled that the child could not enroll in home study. However, instead of barring enrollment for the following year as the law allows, the hearing officer did permit the mother to attempt to re-enroll in home study next year.
This family was not a member of Home School Legal Defense Association until after the hearing, and we hope that next year’s re-enrollment attempt will yield successful results. Unfortunately, this mother’s situation is not an uncommon occurrence. By ensuring that the paperwork process is carefully attended to during the initial enrollment process and when there are questions raised by the department of education, families can avoid these kinds of confrontations.
— by Michael P. Donnelly