November 18, 2005

District Requirements Contrary to State Law

At the beginning of this school year, a Home School Legal Defense Association member family contacted our legal department, requesting that we review procedures followed by the Carbondale Area School District for home education programs. After we reviewed documentation from the school district, it was obvious that the procedures being followed had no relation to actual legal requirements for conducting a home education program in Pennsylvania. Among the requirements being imposed on homeschooling families were the following:

  • The home instruction must take place in the prescribed curriculum each day that the public school is in session.
  • A written plan of instruction must be submitted to the superintendent for approval and then must be followed by the parent.
  • The approved plan of instruction may be monitored by school district personnel, including visitation to the home and observation of the instruction taking place.
  • The student must participate in the district’s standardized testing program and any state testing program.
  • A written progress report of the student must be submitted at the end of each nine-week period on a district-approved form to the building principal of the school which the student would normally attend.

Such procedures are not only unauthorized by state law but are also unenforceable by local school districts. Accordingly, HSLDA Senior Counsel Dewitt Black wrote a letter to the superintendent of Carbondale Area School District and told him that home educators were not subject to these locally developed procedures.

HSLDA member families encountering local policies or procedures adding to or contradicting the provisions of state law are encouraged to forward them to us for review.