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November 4, 2014

Homeschool Law Significantly Improved

Senior Counsel Dee Black answers questions and assists members with legal issues in Pennsylvania. He and his wife homeschooled their children. Read more >>

On October 31, 2014, Governor Tom Corbett signed into law House Bill 1013, legislation that significantly improves the homeschool law of Pennsylvania. Here’s what the new law does:

  • Eliminates the public school superintendent’s review of a student’s portfolio at the end of the school year to determine whether the student is receiving an “appropriate education.” The parent will continue to be required to have the student’s program evaluated by a qualified person of the parent’s own choosing, but the superintendent must accept an evaluator’s finding that an appropriate education is occurring.
  • Requires that a high school diploma issued by the parent or an approved diploma-granting organization be given the same rights and privileges by the Commonwealth, including the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency, as other diplomas.
  • Establishes an administrative procedure to resolve any claim by the superintendent that the parent has failed to comply with any aspect of the homeschool law. Under the old law, this procedure was only used to determine whether the student was receiving an appropriate education.
  • Clarifies that the home education program may continue during the time of any appeal from an adverse ruling by a hearing examiner.

The changes in the law are effective immediately. This means that parents homeschooling this year in Pennsylvania are not required to submit their portfolios, standardized test results, or any other materials to superintendents for evaluation at the end of the school year. They still must compile and maintain the same records and materials in their portfolios, but they need only submit their evaluator’s certification that their children are receiving an appropriate education.

Special appreciation goes to Representative Mark Gillen (Dist. 128), who championed the effort to get this bill passed and shepherded it through the legislature. Credit also goes to the Christian Homeschool Association of Pennsylvania (CHAP), which sponsored two lobby days at the Capitol for homeschoolers to speak with their legislators about HB1013 and continually encouraged homeschoolers to contact senators and representatives about supporting the bill. This victory is the result of a concerted effort by all freedom-loving homeschoolers in Pennsylvania.

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