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West Virginia
West Virginia

April 11, 2016

County Cuts Homeschoolers’ Options


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Homeschool families in McDowell County were disturbed when they were notified that their children would be “required” to participate in the state testing at the public schools this year. In a brief letter sent to families countywide earlier this year, the attendance director gave parents two weeks to verify with the district that their children “will participate in the [West Virginia] General Summative Assessment.”

Mike Donnelly MIKE DONNELLY Contact attorney for West Virginia

Concerned members contacted HSLDA about the letter. Michael Donnelly, HSLDA’s attorney for West Virginia, quickly responded with a letter of his own.

Although state testing is one of four options available to homeschooled families to fulfil the assessment requirements of state law, very few families choose this option. Most prefer a nationally normed standardized test or a portfolio review by a certified teacher. McDowell County misstated the law asserting that the portfolio review option would only be available for children below 3rd grade, and made no mention of the alternative assessments.

Donnelly admonished the attendance director, explaining that homeschool families were not required to participate in the state testing but had several lawful options available for assessment. He demanded that the district correct its policy and cease making unlawful demands of the county’s homeschooling community.

Since Donnelly sent his cautionary letter there have been no reports of the district attempting to coerce homeschool families to participate in the state testing.

HSLDA understands that many West Virginia families may have questions regarding assessments since the new homeschool law, H.B. 4175, was passed. We have created a Q&A page to answer basic questions about how the new law affects your homeschool. If you’re a member family and have additional questions, please contact our West Virginia legal team for advice specific to your situation.

Your membership and support allow HSLDA to stand up to government officials who willfully or ignorantly misstate legal requirements for homeschooling. As the homeschooling movement continues to grow, misunderstandings and issues of this nature will likely continue at all levels—individual, local, state, national, and even international. That’s why organizations like HSLDA, whose sole mission is to advance freedom for home education, are essential. If you’re not already a member, will you join us today? And please tell your homeschooling friends about the importance of standing together to defend our precious right to teach our children!