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1/14/2008 12:01:11 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Virginia--Bill Introduced to Expand Assessment Options

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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Virginia--Bill Introduced to Expand Assessment Options

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:

It's time for Virginia homeschoolers to have more options for year-end
assessments!

Because of a recent surge in local public school superintendents
making unreasonable demands on families, Home School Legal Defense
Association Senior Counsel Chris Klicka secured Delegate L. Scott
Lingamfelter to file a bill we drafted to create three new annual
assessment options.

House Bill 1183 will add these options that homeschool parents can
choose from in order to satisfy the homeschool statute requirement of
submitting the results of an annual assessment to the local school
district:

1. A letter from a person licensed to teach in any state, or a person
employed as a teacher in a private school in Virginia, or a person
with a master's degree or higher in the field of education, stating
that the child is achieving an adequate level of educational growth
and progress;

2. A portfolio containing a sample of the child's work each quarter in
math and language arts that demonstrates the child is achieving an
adequate level of annual educational growth and progress;

3. A report card from a private school in Virginia, college distance
learning program, or home education correspondence school.

Virginia is currently one of the more limited states for assessment
options. Parents only have one clear option. A second option exists,
but it is very vague, and superintendents have increasingly rejected
assessments under the second option for frivolous reasons.

There are many reasons families might not want to use standardized
tests. For some children, standardized test results do not accurately
reflect their progress. For others, scoring at the 20th percentile
could be an excellent score for them individually, but the law
currently considers any score below 23rd percentile to be failing.

Most states give multiple options for year-end assessments that do not
rely on the discretion of officials. States as diverse as West
Virginia, Colorado, Maine, Florida, and Washington allow a variety of
types of assessments. All of the assessments that would be added
under H.B. 1183 are already offered by other states. From a national
perspective, adding these options merely puts Virginia more in the
mainstream.

Having additional options will give families more freedom, and reduce
the potential for conflicts with officials. This past year has seen a
record number of conflicts over year-end assessments. Nearly all
would have been eliminated if Virginia were in the mainstream on
assessment options.

Our thanks go to Delegate Lingamfelter for sponsoring H.B. 1183. This
bill will expand freedom for homeschool families in Virginia.

No action is needed at this time. We will contact you when it is
necessary to contact your delegate and senator.

Sincerely Yours,

Scott Woodruff
HSLDA Staff Attorney

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