April 26, 2012

Hamblen County Misapplies Testing Requirement

Senior Counsel Dee Black answers questions and assists members with legal issues in Tennessee. He and his wife homeschooled their children. Read more >>

Last week, Home School Legal Defense Association intervened on behalf of a member family in Hamblen County after they received a letter from a local public school official advising them that it was necessary for their 7th grade daughter to participate in state testing as a homeschool student. HSLDA Senior Counsel Dewitt Black sent a letter to the school official and informed her that this child was enrolled as a student in the online program of A Beka Academy, a Category III school recognized by the Department of Education as satisfying Tennessee’s compulsory attendance requirements. Category III schools are approved by one of the six regional accrediting agencies, such as the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). Students enrolled in these schools are not subject to any state testing requirements applicable to public school students or home school students. In fact, students enrolled in a Category III school are not homeschool students but are private school students.

State testing of homeschool students is only required when the family elects to provide notice of homeschooling to the local director of schools under subsection (b) of Section 49-6-3050 of Tennessee Code Annotated. The law requires no such testing for students who are receiving home instruction while enrolled in a church-related school or a private school.

Other member families encountering difficulties with local education agencies about state testing should contact HSLDA for assistance.