January 24, 2002

Ohio District Backpedals on New Policy

Recently, the Wellston City School District released a new home school policy that threatens local home schooling families with a boatload of excessive regulations. A few of its requirements (all contrary to state law) are as follows:

  • Home schoolers must notify the school district "four weeks in advance of the intent to home school."

  • Home schooling families must send in test scores and a written narrative. (State law merely requires families to choose one of these options.)

  • Home school families must file a progress report with the district each semester.

  • At the district's discretion, home schoolers may be required to take all standardized tests regularly scheduled for public school students.

Furthermore, the policy specifies that parents may not unilaterally withdraw their children from school, and that the district superintendent has discretion to allow or disallow home school programs. In actuality, the superintendent may only deny an exemption from compulsory attendance if the family fails to include in their annual notification all information required by state law.

Finally, the policy includes a list of considerations "to inform parents of the possible differences in instruction between home schooling and public schooling." While purportedly objective, not a single one presents a positive perspective on home schooling! A typical example: "Would the home schooling experience inhibit social adjustment crucial to job-related skills? (For example, on the job would the student know how to ask for help?)"

Alerted by our members, Home School Legal Defense Association called Wellston to request a copy of the new policy. School officials quickly backpedaled, stating that the policy was currently under revision. We will carefully monitor this situation to ensure that home schoolers are not forced to comply with illegal requirements.

Wellston's excessive demands and quick decision to revise them demonstrate the importance of every home school family being familiar with their state's home school law. To read a summary of your state's home education law, click here.