From the HSLDA E-lert Service:


5/20/2010 2:51:16 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
New York--Update on Rochester City School District

From the HSLDA E-lert Service...

New York--Update on Rochester City School District

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends,

Many of you have been aware of the fact that the Rochester City School
District (RCSD) attempted to prevent parents from administering the
annual assessments to their own children earlier this year. The
District's position was that, if you were a parent, you could not
administer a standardized achievement test or conduct the alternative
written narrative evaluation to your own children unless you had some
special qualifications. In fact, the district had attempted to insist
that only a New York certified teacher could administer the
alternative written narrative evaluations.

Earlier this month, several homeschool leaders meet with the RCSD to
discuss this issue. At the meeting were two local Loving Education At
Home (LEAH) chapters, Charity LEAH and PCC LEAH, along with the LEAH
regional representatives. Two board members of Rochester Area
Homeschoolers Association (RAHA) were also in attendance, as was HSLDA
Staff Attorney Tj Schmidt. We met with Jeanette Silvers, Ed.D, chief
of accountability, and Elaine McNamara, clerkII/home schooling, from
the RCSD.

All of the homeschool groups were unified in objecting to the
District's rejection of parents administering the annual assessments.
We provided information to Dr. Silvers that New York law does not
prevent parents from conducting these annual assessments. There is
even the personalized assessment summary system (PASS) test that is
designed to be administered by parents. This test has been
specifically approved by the New York State Education Department.

Unfortunately, New York regulation does give the superintendent some
ability to object to the person selected by the parent to conduct the
annual evaluation. However, our position at the meeting was that a
parent in compliance with the New York law should not be prohibited
from conducting the annual evaluation unless the District has specific
concerns that a particular person was unqualified to do so. HSLDA
reminded the District that any parent who was denied their selection
of the individual to administer the evaluation could appeal to the
school board.

At the end of the meeting, Dr. Silvers promised to reconsider their
position after reviewing the information we presented and talking with
the District's attorney. In the two weeks that have followed this
meeting, multiple parents who were previously rejected have been
permitted to administer a standardized achievement test. HSLDA also
has written a letter on behalf of a member family when the mother was
prohibited from conducting the alternative written narrative
evaluation simply because she was a parent.

At this time, we expect the Rochester City School District will follow
the homeschool group's recommendation and allow parents in compliance
with the regulations to conduct the annual evaluations. If you were
denied this option earlier this school year, you could make a second
request to administer the evaluation yourself. If you continue to
receive difficulties, please contact HSLDA for assistance.
Thank you for your stand for home education freedom in New York.


Thomas J. (Tj) Schmidt
HSLDA Staff Attorney

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