March 28, 2012

Chesapeake: “Back of the Line for PSAT!”

Scott Woodruff answers questions and assists members regarding legal issues in Virginia. He and his wife homeschooled their children. Read more >>

HSLDA member Jennifer Willis (name changed to protect her privacy) wanted her daughter to take the PSAT. Under Virginia law, public schools are required to make it available to homeschool students. The test is not only good practice for the SAT, but when taken in the junior year, it’s the gateway to the National Merit Scholarship program—one of the few widely available scholarship programs where academic achievement is the most important factor.

Jennifer’s daughter, a junior, was told to arrive at her Chesapeake, Virginia, public school between noon and 2 p.m. during the last week of September to sign up. When she arrived on Thursday, school staff told her to come back at the end of the day Friday after all the public school students who wanted to take the test had signed up.

When Jennifer’s daughter came back, she was told she would be put on a waiting list because public school students had taken all the spots. Jennifer called HSLDA for help.

HSLDA Senior Counsel Scott A. Woodruff faxed a letter to the school superintendent explaining that the school was violating state law. Woodruff asked the superintendent to confirm that he would promptly allow Ms. Willis to register for and take the test.

Shortly thereafter, a school representative called Woodruff and said he found an extra test booklet for Ms. Willis. The representative then called Jennifer Willis to offer to let her register for the test.

But by this point in time, Jennifer had already made alternative arrangements to have her daughter take the PSAT at a friendly private school.