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No. 5

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Annual Assessment Woes

As the 2006-2007 school year drew to a close, many homeschooling families in New York prepared for their year-end assessments. While many of these families let out a sigh of relief as they submitted their final report, several other homeschooling families received disturbing contacts from their school districts.

In one case, the Spencerport Central School District refused to recognize the testing accommodations recommended by the family’s professional evaluator. Home School Legal Defense Association quickly contacted the district, informing them that the school district has no authority to determine the manner in which the test is administered. The district’s authority is limited to consenting to the parent’s choice of an administrator.

Parents in several other districts were contacted and told that they would not be able to administer the annual assessment test or write narrative evaluations for their own children. So far this year, York Central, Ballston Spa Central, and Bemus Point Central School Districts have given homeschooling parents difficulties administering the annual assessment. Under New York law, parents are qualified to administer the annual assessment with the consent of the superintendent. Over the years, HSLDA has worked very hard to enable parents and administrators chosen by parents, to conduct the annual assessment. Often we are successful. HSLDA believes local school superintendents should exercise good faith in determining who may administer the assessment instead of denying parents the ability simply because of their relationship to the student.

HSLDA members who receive any such notice from their school district in the coming school year should contact our legal department.

— by Thomas J. Schmidt