May 28, 2002

New York District: Our Test or Else

The school district in Yonkers, New York, recently sent out a letter to many home schoolers in the district that tried to force them all to take standardized tests every year. Home School Legal Defense Association immediately took action to protect our members in the area.

New York law does require an assessment of students' progress each year. Parents have different options for students not in high school, including assessments by a certified teacher, peer review panel, or some other person agreed upon by the superintendent. Instead of recognizing these options, Yonkers simply tried to make everyone take a standardized test.

In addition, Yonkers set up a "default" test for home schoolers to use. Their letter stated that if parents chose not to use the TerraNova test, they would have to seek the approval of the superintendent in order to use another one. Under the New York regulations, parents are allowed to choose any nationally normed standardized test.

HSLDA wrote to Yonkers, informing the district that neither of these requirements was allowed by law. We will be monitoring their actions carefully to make sure that home schooling freedom is safe.