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10/5/2005 4:39:05 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Virginia--Negotiations Begin on Virginia Beach PSAT Denial

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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Virginia--Negotiations Begin on Virginia Beach PSAT Denial


Dear HSLDA members and friends:


Administrative personnel in the City of Virginia Beach School system
have informed families and representatives of homeschool organizations
that homeschoolers will not be allowed to participate in the PSAT next
week. This denial violates a new law passed last legislative session,
which mandates that public schools make PSAT and AP testing available.

HSLDA has been working on a number of possible solutions to this
problem.

First, we contacted Oaktree Academy and learned they were willing for
homeschoolers to take the test with their own students. This relieved
the immediate urgency and we notified our membership.

Second, I called the Virginia Department of Education to gauge their
willingness to issue an advisory memo to public schools urging them to
allow homeschoolers to take the test. The department's response was
not encouraging.

Third, we learned that there might be an opportunity to bring this
issue before the school board at last night's meeting. We made
preparations to come to the meeting until we learned from the chairman
that the PSAT issue was not on the agenda. Yvonne Bunn and student
Ashley McCalister exhorted them to open the test to homeschoolers, but
the board did not address the issue at the meeting.

Fourth, on Monday I was able to talk with the chairman of the school
board, Dan Edwards. I asked for his support in changing the school
system's policy. He explained that they currently administer the PSAT
on a school day, and having young people who are not students in the
school buildings when classes are being held could be problematic.

He was quite open, however, to discussing the possibility of the
schools administering the test on Saturday. Schools would incur a
minimal expense but I believe homeschoolers would be willing to share
the cost in order to gain access to the PSAT.

Dan Edwards followed up with me by email after this conversation, and
I hope to work with him closely later this week to lay the foundation
for a Saturday test for homeschool students. This morning I faxed him
a copy of the form Loudoun County uses to register homeschoolers for
the PSAT to give him a workable example.

Home Educators Association of Virginia (HEAV) and Organization of
Virginia Homeschoolers (OVH) have made valuable contributions, and we
will continue to work with them as Virginia Beach moves towards
welcoming its homeschool residents into the PSAT process.

We will update you soon with the final results of our ongoing
negotiations.


Sincerely,

Scott A. Woodruff, Esq.
HSLDA Staff Attorney




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