I knew something was up when parents in Muhlenberg County, Kentucky, started calling to report receiving a strange letter from the local public school district. The message came from the director of pupil personnel, and it demanded that families submit their homeschool records.
In the letter, dated February 24, school officials stated that the district was conducting a “homeschool review.” Officials added that the purpose of this review was to ensure “all Muhlenberg County student are enrolled and progressing in their various forms of education.”
All homeschool families in the county were told to include attendance records and “student progress reports” in their submission packets. The correspondence asserted that when Kentucky law referenced scholarship reports, it meant that school officials could request “student growth charts or coursework completed.” School officials generously provided a stamped envelope for families to submit all the documents.
What the Law Says
While Kentucky law does require homeschool parents to maintain attendance and scholarship records (otherwise known as report cards), families are not required to turn over these records at the whim of local school officials.
Under the Best Practices Document, an agreement between Christian Home Educators of Kentucky (CHEK) and the Kentucky Directors of Pupil Personnel, these records should only be requested if there is evidence that an individual family is not educating their children or if they failed to submit their notice within the first two weeks of the school year. All families who submit their notice within the first two weeks of the school year are presumed to be operating a bona-fide school.
After reviewing Muhlenberg County School District’s letter, I wrote a response, pointing out that their request for records from all homeschool families was contrary to Kentucky law and the Best Practices Document. On behalf of our members, we declined to provide the requested information unless officials could show specific evidence that an individual family was not educating their children in accordance with Kentucky law.
We expect school officials to drop their review of all homeschool records in Muhlenberg County.
Is It All About Enrollment?
Interestingly, the message sent to all homeschool families in the county ended with an invitation to “consider Muhlenberg County Public Schools for your child’s education future . . . we would enjoy having you rejoin our school community as we would work together to help your child reach their goals and make Muhlenberg County a great place to call home.”
This puts an interesting twist on the apparent motivation for the letter.