By: Krystle Crossman
A home-school family in Pennsylvania reached out for help from Senior Counsel Dewitt Black of the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) because of practices by the superintendent of their district. They did not feel that the actions of the superintendent of the Commodore Perry School District were legal or fair. Mr. Black took the case over and began investigating.
The superintendent set up a meeting that was called the Home-school Partnership Meeting. What she did at these meetings was go over portfolios of each of the students at the end of the year to see how they were doing with their education overall. She would then make each of the students take an oral exam based on what their parents had submitted for course objectives in the beginning of the year. She wanted to see whether the kids were receiving the proper education or not. This however was not something that she was doing legally.
Mr. Black sent the superintendent a letter letting her know of the laws that she was going against. When a child is home-schooled they are then to follow the laws that are laid out by the state when dealing with policies and different procedures. The school district is not allowed to intervene and make any policies on their own. Another state law in Pennsylvania states that the children and hoe-school parents are never required to meet with an official for the school for anything having to do with their curriculum.
When a parent submits their course objectives at the beginning of the year it is a basic outline of what they plan on teaching their child. This does not necessarily mean that they are going to get to everything that they have outlined and it also does not mean that they are not giving their child a good education if they do not teach what the district feels is appropriate. Mr. Black told the superintendent that the objectives had no bearing on whether a child was getting an appropriate education or not. He also told her that the family had the right to decline these portfolio meetings and would be doing so from now on. Just recently, on October 20th, there was a bill that was passed (Bill 1013) in the House in Pennsylvania that banned superintendents from holding these types of meetings.