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Vol. XXV
No. 1
Cover
January/February
2009

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PENNSYLVANIA

School Districts Mandate more Standardized Testing

In letters sent to home educators in their respective school districts at the beginning of the current school year, Tulpehocken Area School District in Bernville and Crestwood School District in Mountain Top notified parents that standardized testing was required at grade levels in addition to those specified by state law. Pennsylvania’s home education statute requires that the results of standardized tests be included in the student’s portfolio in grades 3, 5, and 8. However, Tulpehocken sought testing in grade 11 in addition to the grade levels actually required, while Crestwood insisted upon testing in grades 3 through 8 and 11.

In response to requests for assistance by Home School Legal Defense Association member families in these school districts, Senior Counsel Dewitt Black corresponded with school officials and informed them that state law only requires standardized testing in grades 3, 5, and 8. He pointed out that local school districts are without any authority to establish any policies or procedures that add to or contradict provisions of state law.

Any HSLDA member families being requested to submit test results beyond the grade levels required by state law should contact us for assistance.

— by Dewitt T. Black

School District Tries to Stop Homeschooling

Home School Legal Defense Association assisted four member families in Central Dauphin School District at the beginning of the school year after they received a letter from a school official telling them to stop homeschooling. Each of the families had submitted course objectives with their affidavit filed with the school district as required by state law. However, the school official responsible for home education programs considered the objectives to be deficient and notified the families not to commence or continue homeschooling until revised objectives were approved.

After being contacted by the families seeking help for their legal predicament, HSLDA Senior Counsel Dewitt Black wrote a letter to the school official and referred her to the statutory provisions relating to course objectives. Subsection (b) of Section 13-1327.1 of Pennsylvania Statutes Annotated states that the “required outline of proposed educational objectives shall not be utilized by the superintendent in determining if the home education program is out of compliance with this section and section 1327.” Black also informed the school official that the school district’s attempt to prevent the families from commencing or continuing their home education programs until they submitted revised objectives was a clear violation of state law.

The Pennsylvania General Assembly never intended for school districts to be able to hold homeschooling families hostage over minor administrative matters such as describing course objectives in a manner satisfactory to public school officials. HSLDA stands ready to assist our member families when the right to homeschool their children is challenged in this manner.

— by Dewitt T. Black