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Fall 2005


Upshur County – A family whose child wanted to enroll in public school full-time ran into problems. The parents tried to enroll the student in the spring of last year for the current school year (so that the child could make sure she got in certain classes), but the school would not allow it.

Despite the family’s statement that the student would not be a candidate for a diploma, the principal would not let the child enroll without taking placement tests. In addition, the county said they would charge the family $100/test/subject. The mother offered her child’s most recent achievement test scores to help with placement, but the school officials would not consider those scores. The school wanted to review a portfolio of the child’s work, but the parent did not have anything that could be used in a portfolio; she said that she did not have the space to keep any of her children’s schoolwork.

When consulted about this situation, the West Virginia Department of Education’s (WVDE) Karen Larry said that each county determines its own criteria for accepting homeschool work. Regarding charging for placement testing, Ms. Larry wrote, “If the school system charges the public school student to take this test to receive credit for a class not taken (in the public school), then it would be ok to charge the home school student who wanted the credit."

Finally, the parent met with a new vice-principal at the school who wasn’t familiar with the case, and he approved the child’s admission to the 11th grade. By this time, however, some classes the student wanted to take were no longer available.

The parent strongly urges any families considering a public high school education for their children, whether or not they want a diploma, to enroll them from the start in 9th grade; “it’s just too hard otherwise.”