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Date:
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3/4/2003 4:45:02 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Tennessee--Department of Education Memo Confusing Homeschoolers

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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March 4, 2003

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends,

You may have received a memorandum dated February 19, 2003, from
Fretta M. Bunch of the Tennessee Department of Education advising you
that certain end-of-course tests are required for homeschool
students. Specifically, Dr. Bunch's memorandum states that students
in grade nine who are not associated with a church-related school and
students in grades nine through twelve who are associated with a
church-related school must take tests in the areas of mathematics
(including Algebra I or Math Tech II), science (including Biology I
or Biology Tech), language arts (including English II), Math
Foundations II, and English I if they are enrolled in these courses.

It is our opinion based upon the language of the homeschool statute,
the legislative history, and constitutional considerations that home
school students do not have to take the end-of-course tests described
in Dr. Bunch's memorandum.

On April 6, 1996, I sent a letter to an attorney at the Tennessee
Department of Education, explaining the reasons for our opinion when
this issue was first raised six years ago. To view this letter go to
http://www.hslda.org/hs/state/TN/200203131.asp . We are prepared to
defend our members in court should this become necessary.

Homeschool students not associated with a church-related school must
take the same standardized tests required of public school students
in grades five, seven, and nine. The state intends to administer the
TCAP test to students in grades five and seven. We believe these
tests are required for students not associated with a church-related
school.

Dr. Bunch's memorandum also speaks of testing by church-related
schools. Homeschool students associated with a church-related school
are only required to be tested by the school if it administers tests
to its regular day students. Church-related schools do not have to
test homeschool students as part of any state testing.

Should you be contacted further about taking the end-of-course tests
and wish to discuss this with us, please do not hesitate to contact
my legal assistant, Jonathan Bechtle, or me.

Very truly yours,

Dewitt T. Black, III
HSLDA Staff Attorney

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