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Certified Teacher Not Good Enough to Homeschool
Homeschool mom Jacqueline Henry (named changed to protect family’s privacy) notified Accomack County public schools that she would be tutoring under Code of Virginia 22.1-254 (A), and enclosed a copy of her teacher’s license. She did not expect to hear from them again until 2011, when her license would be due for renewal.
When they sent her a letter a year later telling her that she needed to file a notice of intent, she knew something had gone wrong. She called Home School Legal Defense Association for help.
Virginia gives licensed teachers who want to homeschool two choices (in addition to the religious exemption option). They can file a notice of intent of home instruction, or they can notify the school system that they will be tutoring under Code of Virginia 22.1-254(A).
If they file a notice of intent of home instruction, the school system will expect them to do all the routine things that families homeschooling under the notice of intent provisions do, including listing all the children, submitting a year-end assessment, and filing a new notice every year. If they tutor under Code of Virginia 22.1-254(A)—others’ children or their own—they do not need to provide notice each year, do not need to file a year-end assessment, and do not need to list the names of the children they will be teaching.
In fact, tutoring under Code of Virginia 22.1-254(A) is so much easier than going under the notice of intent provisions, it is difficult to imagine why any homeschool parent who is a licensed teacher would want to file a notice of intent.
HSLDA attorney Scott Woodruff wrote a letter to the Secondary School Instructional Coordinator for Accomack County public schools, who had asked Mrs. Henry to file a notice of intent. Woodruff explained the legal situation and pointed out that Mrs. Henry was under no obligation to file a notice of intent since she was a tutor.
A few days later, the official wrote back and said he would no longer request a notice of intent.
In 1993, HSLDA went to court to prove that homeschool parents who are licensed teachers can tutor under Code of Virginia 22.1-254(A). The Prince William County School Board had hauled homeschool dad Charles Berlin into court, claiming he was breaking the law. He had not filed a notice of intent because his wife, Nancy, was a licensed teacher. HSLDA Senior Counsel Chris Klicka defended him. Judge Richard Potter, Circuit Court of Prince William County, ruled that Berlin did not need to file a notice of intent since his wife was a licensed teacher whose credentials the school system had recognized under Code of Virginia 22.1-254(A).
The Virginia Department of Education acknowledged this victory for freedom. The state Superintendent of Instruction sent a memo to all school systems telling them the tutor option was available for a homeschool parent with a teacher’s license.