Tidbits & Trivia
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Worst Home School Policy Yet
Home education programs in the Keystone State are governed exclusively by the statutory provisions enacted by the Pennsylvania General Assembly. Thus, local school districts are without any authority to establish any policies, procedures, or regulations adding to or contradicting the provisions of state law. Given the detailed and comprehensive nature of the statutory language, Home School Legal Defense Association believes that local districts do not need to create their own policies or attempt to paraphrase the law. Invariably, such policies contain provisions contrary to state law and are unenforceable. In reviewing the home school policy of Carbondale Area School District, HSLDA has discovered the most egregious deviation from state law since the home education statute was enacted in 1988. Following are the most noteworthy unlawful provisions of this policy:
- The superintendent is responsible for reviewing and approving requests for in-home instruction.
- Parents must submit a written application (on a form prescribed by the school district) to the superintendent requesting authorization to conduct a home education program.
- Parents must meet with the superintendent to demonstrate that they have the capability of providing home instruction.
- Parents must sign an agreement with the school district in connection with their decision to conduct a home education program.
- Parents must submit a Home Teaching Educational Plan for approval by the superintendent, and the curriculum must include courses which the school district requires for that grade level.
- The school district reserves the right to have the student evaluated by the school psychologist or other trained personnel.
- The individual providing the in-home instruction must have a baccalaureate degree and be a certified teacher.
- A school principal or designee must be permitted to visit the home to observe the instruction and assess the learning process.
- The instruction must take place for a minimum of 180 days each school year. (This disregards the parentís option to provide instruction for a minimum of 180 days or 900 hours per year at the elementary level or 990 hours per year at the secondary level.)
- Parents must submit an attendance register on a form prescribed by the school district.
- Parents must submit progress reports at times specified by the school district.
- Students in a home education program must participate in standardized testing at the public school.
- A home education program may be terminated by either the parents or the school district if it is determined that the student is not making reasonable learning progress or for other good reason.
On June 29, 1999, HSLDA attorney Dewitt Black sent a letter to the Carbondale Area School District Superintendent pointing out the discrepancies in the home school policy and requesting that the entire policy be rescinded. HSLDA member families encountering local school district policies contrary to state law should forward them to our office immediately.