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September 25, 2002

Virginia County Opens PSAT to Homeschoolers

Home School Legal Defense Association recently intervened on behalf of homeschoolers in Loudoun County, Virginia, who were denied their right to take the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT) through the public schools. The Loudoun County School Board relented on September 24, 2002, when it voted to allow homeschoolers to take the PSAT at the same time the test is administered to public school students.

The controversy began a few days earlier when Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) said there was no room for homeschoolers at the testing sites.

For several years, the College Board (who publishes the PSAT) permitted individual public schools administering the PSAT to decide whether students other than their own could take the test at school facilities. Some public schools refused. The College Board subsequently changed its policy and now strongly urges all public schools to permit homeschoolers to take the test as well. LCPS, however, continued to refuse homeschoolers.

Upon hearing of the problem, HSLDA General Counsel Michael Farris called LCPS Assistant Superintendent Douglas C. Holmes who admitted that "space" was not the real issue. The real issue was that the Loudoun County School Board had adopted a policy prohibiting homeschool students from engaging in any public school activity.

Farris told Holmes that the policy violated the new PSAT rules. Farris cautioned Holmes that HSLDA would persist with this issue "including a lawsuit if necessary" unless the school board policy were changed.

Farris also called Harry Holtzinger, a Loudoun County School Board member, and asked him to look into the matter.

The PSAT is a prerequisite for college-bound students who wish to participate in the National Merit Scholarship program. The Loudoun school board vote is excellent news for college-bound homeschoolers. We thank God for bringing down this barrier. Please contact HSLDA if a public school in your area refuses to allow homeschoolers to take the test.

PSAT Registration Form: http://www.hslda.org/hs/state/va/LoudounPSATRegistration.pdf

PSAT Instructions: http://www.hslda.org/hs/state/va/LoudounPSATflyer.pdf

These apply to Loudoun County, Virginia, only.