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July 14, 2014

Homeschool Prodigy Gets “Running Start” at Clark College


Staff Attorney Tj Schmidt answers questions and assists members with legal issues in Washington. He and his wife homeschool their children. Read more >>

This spring a member in Washington contacted us when she had trouble getting her young son into Running Start, a program for helping high school juniors and seniors enroll in college courses. Running Start is paid for by state funds, and students in the program are counted as part-time public school students.

The main difficulty was that local school officials were not willing to qualify the young man for Running Start unless they evaluated his student transcript as if he were going to be enrolled in the public school full-time.

Officials from Evergreen School District told our member family that they would need to follow administrative procedure No. 2410P. This policy spells out how public school principals or district designees should evaluate homeschool credits in order to recommend the student’s appropriate grade and course placement. The problem is that this policy was designed for students transferring into public school who intend to graduate from public school—not for students entering the Running Start program.

Explaining the Situation

After hearing from our member family, HSLDA Staff Attorney Tj Schmidt contacted the Evergreen School District on their behalf. Schmidt talked with several officials involved in this situation and explained several points of concern.

Specifically, Schmidt pointed out that under Washington law a student applying for the Running Start program is not required to fulfill the state public school graduation standards. Instead, all that is required is: 1) the student be in either the 11th or 12th grade, 2) have a declaration of intent filed in compliance with the law, and 3) have received home-based instruction during the school year immediately prior to participating in the Running Start program.

With Schmidt’s explanation and the help of a parent-provided transcript, the young man was able to be “qualified” for the Running Start program without any further difficulties. Most of the time HSLDA finds that there are few, if any, problems with parents getting their children qualified for the Running Start program. While schools may occasionally question whether a student is in the 11th or 12th grade, most of the time parents can document this with transcripts and most recent test scores.

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If you aren’t yet a member of HSLDA, consider joining today! HSLDA’s work benefits homeschooolers in the United States and around the world. We invite you to participate in our ministry to the homeschool community. Join now >>