Monongalia County– When a parent sent her child’s alternative assessment to the county superintendent last year, the homeschool coordinator’s secretary told her that alternative academic assessments were only available to children in public school special education programs. Further, the secretary told her, homeschoolers can use only standardized tests or a portfolio review to meet the annual assessment requirement.
The parent wrote a letter explaining that the law allows homeschoolers to use an alternative academic assessment and enclosed a copy of the law with the assessment passage highlighted. The county BOE office did not respond to the letter, and the parent has heard nothing more about the matter.
Summer - 2004
Monongalia County – In late July, several homeschoolers received a letter
from the county Board in response to their notices of intent. The letter asked
the recipients to complete some enclosed forms so that their “application”
to homeschool could be “approved.” In at least some cases, parents were
asked to disclose how they planned to assess their children.
The county was using forms
WVHEA had included in an information packet to county boards after adoption of
law revisions in 2003, intended to be used by them to "help you streamline
homeschool administration." WVHEA had clearly stated, "Please note:
the law does not require use of any form."
A parent in the county
called the letter's author (a secretary at the county BOE who recently had been
placed in charge of homeschool recordkeeping) and was told that the office was
simply trying to standardize its records by asking homeschoolers to fill out the
forms. The parent was assured that the intent was not to upset homeschoolers and
that choosing a particular type of assessment was not a binding commitment, just
an acknowledgement that an annual assessment was required.
The following day, several
parents reported receiving another letter from the county, asking them to
disregard the previous letter. This is a good example of how a polite call can
quickly resolve a misunderstanding by county personnel and make them better
informed about what the law requires.
Some county offices confuse
the old section of the law, 18-8-1(c) subdivision 1, which does allow counties
to "approve" homeschooling programs and request information at their
discretion, and 18-8-1(c) subdivision 2, which requires notification, submission
of a plan of instruction and verification of parent education, and an annual
assessment. The law does not require homeschoolers filing under the notice of
intent option to inform the county in advance of the type of assessment they
will use (One exception: if you wish to test in the public school, notify the
county and the school early in the school year to make sure they have enough
tests. See Annual
Assessment – Public School Testing program).
Fall - 2003
Monongalia County – The school board office distributes the WVHEA notice of intent form and other forms from the homeschool packet WVHEA sent to county superintendent offices last spring.