March 6, 2009

Official Demands 8th-Grader Submit Complete High School Plan

A central Iowa public school guidance counselor told Mrs. Mardel (name changed to protect privacy) that she needed to submit a plan for all four years of high school for her homeschooled 8th-grade daughter.

Mrs. Mardel was in shock. She had never heard of such a requirement, but the official sure seemed to know what she was talking about. She said it came from the state Department of Education.

Mrs. Mardel, a member of HSLDA, asked for help. HSLDA attorney Scott Woodruff called the guidance counselor. She acknowledged that she had asked the family to submit a complete high school plan. Woodruff asked what law or regulation authorized her to require this information. She referred to Senate File 2216, a 2007 bill requiring public school—but not homeschool—8th-grade students to submit an academic plan for grades 9-12 in support of the students’ career objectives.

Woodruff asked her to double check and see if this really applied to homeschoolers. She called back a few minutes later. She said she had checked with the Department of Education and was told the requirement of a four-year plan does not apply to homeschoolers.

She apologized for any problems her misunderstanding may have caused and said she would call the family.