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West Virginia

September 11, 2003

West Virginia's Wayne County Board of Education Chafes at State Law

The Wayne County, West Virginia, board of education is irritated with state law.

For instance, state law permits home school families to file a simple notice. The board has referred to it as an "application."

State law does not require a board of education to take any action when it receives a notice. The board has said applications must be "approved."

State law allows parents to homeschool if they have a GED or high school diploma or equivalent. In an article dated January 22, 2003, however, the Herald-Dispatch reported that several homeschool "applications" were not approved because "some board members are trying to get the message across they don't agree with recent state legislation allowing parents to teach their children with minimal qualifications." (Parents with such "minimal" qualifications actually do quite well: their children score at the 80th percentile, according to a 1997 study by Dr. Brian D. Ray.)

In an article dated July 2, 2003, the Herald-Dispatch reported that Wayne County Board of Education members discussed requiring "progress reports" from homeschoolers. No such "progress reports", of course, can be required under state law. (A single assessment is required: a standardized test or a review of a portfolio submitted by June 30.)

Disagreeing with the wisdom of any law is every citizen's right. However, public officials have a duty to uphold the law whether or not they agree with it. We will keep a careful eye on this board.