October 9, 2003

Massachusetts Superintendent Demands List of College Courses

Massachusetts is one of three states that require homeschoolers to seek "approval" of each child's home education plan each year. The Superintendent or School Committee is required by law to "approve" a program if it "equals in thoroughness, efficiency, and the progress made therein, that in the local public school in the same town." One Massachusetts school district has taken its "approval" authority to new heights of absurdity. The district is demanding a list of college courses before it "approves" the education of a thirteen-year-old child, who first started taking community college courses at age eleven.

Many families with gifted children have discovered that home education is an excellent way to provide a loving family atmosphere and a challenging academic program. Home education makes it possible for a child to study calculus and take t-ball at the same time. It enables a child to wrestle with the emotions of a ten-year-old while grappling with the academic interests of a college student. According to some experts, nearly fifty percent of all "profoundly gifted" children are now being taught at home.

It should come as no surprise, therefore, that a homeschooled student should be ready to take college classes. What is surprising, however, is that the local superintendent still insists on reviewing this teen's full college load to make sure he can "approve" it. Under Massachusetts' antiquated law, however, he has both that right and duty.

We encourage all Massachusetts homeschoolers to work together to help school officials recognize that home education is successful without the micromanagement of public school authorities. By standing together for liberty, Massachusetts homeschoolers can minimize the unpleasantness of this "approval" law.