West Hill Farm & Ranch

New Homeschool Law Changes!

Here is the text from the PA Dept. of Education regarding the new Homeschool Diplomas:


– Parent-issued diploma: Act 196 of 2014 modified the law to allow parents to award a state-recognized home education diploma to their children. The Act became effective for diplomas granted beginning October 31, 2014. The requirements for this diploma follow.

Requirements:

(1) The supervisor must submit an affidavit to the superintendent of schools in their district of residence for the student’s twelfth grade (graduation) year

(2) The student must complete the graduation requirements of the law while enrolled in the home education program (see the Curriculum section)

(3) The home education evaluator fulfills the legal requirements as a secondary level home education evaluator (see the Evaluators section)

(4) The evaluator’s twelfth grade evaluation for the student is submitted to the school district and this evaluator co-signs the diploma confirming the student has completed the graduation requirements of the law

(5) The diploma is awarded to the student on a standardized form developed by PDE

From HSLDA:  Homeschool Law Significantly Improved. 

by Senior Counsel Dee Black


On October 31, 2014, Governor Tom Corbett signed into law House Bill 1013, legislation that significantly improves the homeschool law of Pennsylvania. Here’s what the new law does:


  • Eliminates the public school superintendent’s review of a student’s portfolio at the end of the school year to determine whether the student is receiving an “appropriate education.” The parent will continue to be required to have the student’s program evaluated by a qualified person of the parent’s own choosing, but the superintendent must accept an evaluator’s finding that an appropriate education is occurring.
  • Requires that a high school diploma issued by the parent or an approved diploma-granting organization be given the same rights and privileges by the Commonwealth, including the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency, as other diplomas.
  • Establishes an administrative procedure to resolve any claim by the superintendent that the parent has failed to comply with any aspect of the homeschool law. Under the old law, this procedure was only used to determine whether the student was receiving an appropriate education.
  • Clarifies that the home education program may continue during the time of any appeal from an adverse ruling by a hearing examiner.


The changes in the law are effective immediately. This means that parents homeschooling this year in Pennsylvania are not required to submit their portfolios, standardized test results, or any other materials to superintendents for evaluation at the end of the school year. They still must compile and maintain the same records and materials in their portfolios, but they need only submit their evaluator’s certification that their children are receiving an appropriate education.

Special appreciation goes to Representative Mark Gillen (Dist. 128), who championed the effort to get this bill passed and shepherded it through the legislature. Credit also goes to the Christian Homeschool Association of Pennsylvania (CHAP), which sponsored two lobby days at the Capitol for homeschoolers to speak with their legislators about HB1013 and continually encouraged homeschoolers to contact senators and representatives about supporting the bill. This victory is the result of a concerted effort by all freedom-loving homeschoolers in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania Homeschool Law Update:

The text of the homeschool law has been published, and you can read the law at the link above. 


What does all this mean to you?

1.  Standardized Testing – By law, students in grades 3, 5 and 8 must STILL BE TESTED.  Results MUST be included in the portfolio for the evaluator to review.  Results do NOT get submitted to the school district anymore.  As an evaluator I will continue to expect to see standardized test results for students in grades 3, 5 and 8.

2.  Portfolios – EVERYTHING remains the SAME about portfolios EXCEPT that portfolios will only need to be evaluated once.  You are NOT required to hand the portfolio in to the school district.  All elements of the portfolio must still be present for a legal evaluation to be conducted.  More info on what is required for portfolios and documentation can be read about on my page entitled: 
PORTFOLIO AND DOCUMENTATION

3.  Evaluations – EVERYTHING remains the SAME about evaluations and letters of evaluation except that ONLY the evaluation LETTER needs to be submitted to the school district by June 30 each year.  You can either submit the evaluation letter by registered mail with a signature confirmation form or visit the school district office and get a letter of receipt.  


4.  Diplomas – This part of the PA Dept of Education website IS updated, however, according to the Home School Legal Defense Association, the "Department of Education has Created an Unauthorized Diploma."   HSLDA has determined the “new” diploma is outside the realms of the new law.  Read about it here.