According to the home school law in Virginia, one of the options a home school family can operate under is an “approved correspondence school.” Christian Liberty Academy Satellite Schools (CLASS) had been on Virginia’s approved list for the past few years. However, this year, the Virginia Department of Education refused to accommodate the religious convictions of CLASS as it had done in previous years. This resulted in deleting CLASS from the approved list. Since 40% of all families coming under the approved correspondence school option used CLASS, much confusion has resulted.
Home schoolers caught in this predicament have three choices: 1) They could switch their curriculum to another approved correspondence course; or 2) submit their CLASS curriculum to their local superintendent for determination of whether it, “in the judgment of the division superintendent, includes the standards of learning objectives adopted by the Board of Education for language arts and mathematics; and they must submit “evidence that the parent is able to provide an adequate education for the child” [§22.1-254.1(A)(iv)]; or 3) they could pursue a religious exemption under §22.1-257.
The last option is only for families where both parents have strong religious objections to any and all state control over the education of their children. Religious exemptions are very difficult to obtain in certain school districts around the state. Therefore, a home school family should think very carefully before taking that route.
The second option mentioned above has worked successfully throughout the state since the superintendent has no authority to judge a curriculum beyond language arts and math. Most school superintendents routinely approve CLASS. One problem, however, has arisen in at least one county concerning CLASS. The superintendent in that county stated that if the State will not approve CLASS he certainly would not. Of course, the home school law provides an administrative appeal to an independent hearing officer in such cases.
Home schoolers, for the most part, will be able to continue home schooling under one of the options mentioned above.