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7/6/2006 2:26:26 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Virginia--Freedom Expands for Homeschoolers

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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July 6, 2006

Virginia--Freedom Expands for Homeschoolers

Dear HSLDA members and friends,

Capping a major legislative effort in which Home School Legal Defense
Association worked closely with Home Educators Association of Virginia
and the Organization of Virginia Homeschoolers, Governor Tim Kaine
recently signed three bills that increase freedom for homeschoolers in
Virginia!

This is the fruit of years of effort. In fact, two years ago, HSLDA
and HEAV worked closely together to pass the "high school diploma"
bill through both the House and Senate. Chris Klicka, Yvonne Bunn and
I provided testimony; thousands of calls poured in, and HSLDA
persuaded the Chairman of Senate Education Committee to switch his
vote in favor of the amendment, avoiding a tie. Yet former Governor
Mark Warner vetoed the good homeschool legislation.

We are grateful to Governor Kaine for signing these bills and taking a
stand for homeschool freedom.

The bills bring the following six changes to Virginia homeschool law
that went into effect July 1:

1. OPTION 1 IS NOW AVAILABLE TO ALL PARENTS WITH HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMAS.

Old: Homeschool Option 1 was only available to families if a parent
had a college diploma.

New: Homeschool Option 1 is now available to any family where the
parent holds a high school diploma. (See Superintendent's memo 124,
June 9, 2006 establishing that any degree higher than a high school
diploma will also satisfy the requirement:
http://www.doe.virginia.gov/VDOE/suptsmemos/2006/inf124.html )

2. INCLUDING THE STANDARDS OF LEARNING (SOLS) IN YOUR CURRICULUM IS NO
LONGER MANDATORY UNDER OPTION 4.

Old: Families under homeschool Option 4 were required to use a
curriculum that included the state SOLs for math and language arts and
also provide evidence they could provide an adequate education for the
child.

New: Families under homeschool Option 4 now have a choice. They can
either use a curriculum that includes the state SOLs for math and
language arts OR provide evidence they can provide an adequate
education. (This "evidence" can be proof that the parent can read and
write clearly--a well-written notice of intent can establish this.)

3. NO PRIOR APPROVAL BY THE SUPERINTENDENT IS REQUIRED.

Old: A local official misinterpreted the homeschool law to say that
families moving into a district or starting after the school year
began cannot homeschool until the school superintendent gives
approval.

New: An amendment makes it even clearer than before that families in
either of these situations are not required to fully comply with the
homeschool law until 30 days after they have filed a preliminary
notice of intent.

4. ASSESSMENT OPTION 1 NOW INCLUDES MORE TESTS FOR PARENTS TO CHOOSE.

Old: Under assessment Option 1, parents could only use a test that had
previously been approved for use in the public schools.

New: Parents can use ANY nationally-normed standardized test. (The
composite score must still be at or above the 23rd percentile).

5. ASSESSMENT OPTION 2 IS NO LONGER SUBJECT TO THE SUPERINTENDENT'S
ARBITRARY DISCRETION.

Old: Families were reluctant to use assessment Option 2. Even though
it appeared to offer flexibility in the type of assessments that could
be used, there was a potential conflict. The superintendent had broad
power to decide whether to accept it as "evidence of progress."
Acceptance of the assessment was completely within his "judgment".

New: The superintendent's power to rely exclusively on his "judgment"
has been abolished. He is now required to make a "determination."
This requires that he be objective, thus reducing the likelihood of
arbitrary decisions. This should give families new confidence to
explore assessments or evaluations other than standardized tests.

6. PSAT AND AP TESTS FOR HOMESCHOOLERS NOW REQUIRED TO BE AVAILABLE

Old: School boards were required to notify homeschoolers of the
"availability" of the PSAT and AP tests, but were not explicitly
required to allow them to take the tests.

New: School boards are required to allow homeschoolers to take the
PSAT and AP tests.

Thank you for standing with us for liberty. Your phone calls and
visits to legislators were vital in getting these three good bills
enacted!

Scott A. Woodruff
HSLDA Staff Attorney

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-> You can only do so much...

No one can be everywhere at once. And you can't be at home,
teaching your children, while monitoring your state's legislature.
Through electronic legislative services, HSLDA is monitoring state
legislation for you -- watching and listening carefully for any
proposed laws that could erode your right to homeschool.
Join HSLDA today-we'll watch out for your future.

More reasons to join HSLDA...
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=1942

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