June 18, 2001

Ohio: "Just a 'Small' Change in Our Form"

An alert Home School Legal Defense Association member family in the Noble Local School District contacted us after they discovered a major error in one of the forms the district was distributing.

Home schoolers in Ohio are required to submit an annual assessment to the superintendent. This assessment can either be a standardized test or a written narrative by either a third party or some other person mutually agreed upon.

The form that the district was handing out for the narrative option seemed innocuous. In fact, most of it appeared to quote directly from the regulations governing home schooling, and there was then a space for the assessor to sign.

However, in the section purporting to quote from the regulations, the school district added a phrase stating that the student's portfolio of work samples "is available for inspection." Ohio law has no such requirement.

HSLDA immediately contacted the school, demanding that the form be amended to conform to state law. We will be watching carefully to make sure that the new form accurately reflects the law and that home school families do not mistakenly sign forms, thus committing themselves to greater regulation than required by law.

In addition, HSLDA advises home schoolers to be cautious about using any forms provided by the public school district, because such creative expansions of regulatory authority unfortunately are not an isolated occurrence.