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September 7, 2006

School District Disregards Law

Prior to the 2006-2007 school year, Avon Grove School District sent a letter to homeschooling parents notifying them that it had revised its policy for home education programs. Unfortunately, the new policy had little resemblance to the actual requirements for homeschooling under Pennsylvania law. The most egregious deviations from state law were as follows:

  • The program of home instruction had to be deemed “satisfactory” by the Avon Grove School Board in order to receive approval.
  • Parents had to submit a written application to the superintendent requesting authorization to conduct a home education program and meet with the superintendent “to demonstrate that the parent/guardian has the capability of providing the educational program.”
  • The policy said that the “District reserves the right to have the student evaluated by the school psychologist or other trained personnel to determine the student’s mental ability as well as achievement/instructional level.”
  • The parents had to submit proposed instructional materials to the school district for review prior to approval of the home education program.
  • Parents had to be monitored every month “to determine whether or not the instructional program is being completed according to the requirements of the School District and state regulations and standards.”
  • Students receiving in-home instruction had to participate in all standardized testing for public school students at the public school.
  • Parents were required to complete the school district’s report card indicating the student’s rate of progress and submit a copy of the report card to the appropriate building principal on the dates specified by the district.
  • Ignoring the administrative procedure of state law, the policy authorized the school district to summarily terminate the home education program “if it is determined the student is not making responsible learning progress.”

Home School Legal Defense Association Senior Counsel Dewitt Black sent a letter to the superintendent, citing all of the deviations from state law and informing him that homeschooling families are not required to comply with any of these unlawful requirements. HSLDA also provided a copy of Black’s letter to all member families within Avon Grove School District so they would be advised of these unenforceable requirements.