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Pennsylvania

September 12, 2016

District Makes Sweeping Demand for Details

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A Home School Legal Defense Association member family in Blair County recently received a concerning response to their annual homeschool affidavit.

DAN BEASLEY
Contact attorney for Pennsylvania

Instead of the typical note acknowledging receipt of all necessary documentation, the principal at Altoona Area High School sent the Kauffmans a letter specifically stating that their homeschool was “not approved” and requesting more detailed 10th grade educational objectives.

Questioning the motive and purpose of this request, Mrs. Kauffman asked HSLDA about an appropriate response. She’d been homeschooling successfully for six years without any problems, so why would the school now be scrutinizing her educational objectives?

Dan Beasley (HSLDA’s contact attorney for Pennsylvania) wrote the principal to clarify that the same statute requiring parents to file an outline of proposed education objectives also states that these documents “shall not be utilized by the superintendent in determining if the home education program is out of compliance.”

Let Parents Choose

Public schools are free to develop and critique their own educational objectives, but parents are in the best position to determine the most appropriate objectives for their homeschooled children.

Beasley also addressed the overarching problem with the principal’s request: school districts do not have the authority to withhold “approval” of home education programs. He explained that parents who follow Pennsylvania’s statutory requirements are authorized by law to educate their children at home. Their decision to do so is not subject to the approval of public school officials.

Altoona Area School District responded favorably to Beasley’s letter, quickly notifying the family that everything was in order.

Mrs. Kauffman sent HSLDA a note of thanks:

“I want to thank you again for your willingness to be our spokesperson for this issue, for doing the legwork, and [for] answering all of our questions and emails. I appreciate your phone call and the kindness you have shown me and our family.”

We genuinely consider it a privilege to serve homeschool families by answering questions and advocating on their behalf. If there’s a way we can assist you or a family you know, please contact us.