Henry “Corby” Dillon is a certified teacher in the West Virginia public schools, as well as a homeschooling parent. He also holds a doctorate in leadership. But even with his qualifications and experience in the school system, he was told by his county school board that he was not qualified to conduct an annual portfolio assessment for his own child.

A member of HSLDA, Dillon reached out to our legal team for assistance.

One of the annual assessment options available to homeschooling families under West Virginia law is a portfolio assessment, in which “samples of the child’s work are reviewed by a certified teacher who determines whether the child’s academic progress for the year is in accordance with the child’s abilities” (WV Code 18-8-1c). There is nothing in the law preventing a parent who is a certified teacher from conducting an assessment of their own child.

However, the Wayne County Board of Education said that parents are not permitted to assess their own child.

Common Mistake

Dillon isn’t the first homeschooling parent to encounter this kind of confusion from a county board of education. HSLDA often deals with government education officials who misinterpret or misunderstand the law.

HSLDA will always help our members and advocate that government officials act within the boundaries of the law. Here the law was clear, and we are pleased that we were able to help.

I wrote a letter to the Wayne County Board of Education explaining that Dillon is qualified to assess his own child under the provisions of the homeschool law. The board quickly replied, explaining that there had been a misunderstanding and that Dillon’s assessments would not be challenged. We appreciate their prompt retraction and correction.

Aiming for Change

Dillon, who is running for delegate in Wayne and Mingo counties, thanked HSLDA for intervening.

“I really appreciated your help in resolving this issue. Even though I have a PhD and have been a public school teacher for a long time, I was kind of surprised how the board handled this. I’m running for delegate to make sure that we do better for the folks in my county and to make West Virginia a place that respects freedom and liberty."

West Virginia is unique in having two homeschooling parents, Delegate Dr. Joseph Ellington and Senator Patricia Rucker, who have been leading the education committees of both houses of the legislature. Sen. Rucker recently announced that she is running for Senate president, and has been replaced as chair of the Senate Education Committee by Sen. Amy Grady, a public school teacher who has also been supportive of homeschooling.

HSLDA has also worked for many years with our friends in state advocacy groups, including Christian Home Educators of West Virginia and the West Virginia Home Educators Association, to make the Mountain State a friendlier place to homeschool.