COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

P.O. BOX 2120

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA 23218-2120

SUPTS. MEMO NO. 080

April 4, 2008

INFORMATIONAL

TO:

Division Superintendents

 

FROM:

Billy K. Cannaday, Jr.

Superintendent of Public Instruction

 

SUBJECT:

2008 Legislation Impacting Home Instruction

 

This memorandum provides information regarding changes made to 22.1-254.1 of the Code of Virginia governing home instruction during the 2008 General Assembly Session through HB 767 and HB 1183. The changes are effective July 1, 2008.

 

Legislative Changes Related to HB 767

 

Currently 22.1-254.1 of the Code of Virginia provides:

22.1-254.1. Declaration of policy; requirements for home instruction of children.

A. When the requirements of this section have been satisfied, instruction of children by their parents is an acceptable alternative form of education under the policy of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Any parent of any child who will have reached the fifth birthday on or before September 30 of any school year and who has not passed the eighteenth birthday may elect to provide home instruction in lieu of school attendance if he (i) holds a high school diploma; or (ii) is a teacher of qualifications prescribed by the Board of Education; or (iii) has enrolled the child or children in a correspondence course approved by the Superintendent of Public Instruction; or (iv) provides a program of study or curriculum which, in the judgment of the division superintendent, includes the Standards of Learning (SOL) objectives adopted by the Board of Education for language arts and mathematics or provides evidence that the parent is able to provide an adequate education for the child.

HB 767, passed by the General Assembly and approved by the Governor, will be become law on July 1, 2008. This legislation eliminates certain requirements in 22.1-254.1 of the Code of Virginia, including the option that allows parents to enroll their children in correspondence courses approved by the Superintendent of Public Instruction for purposes of meeting the requirements for home instruction. As of July 1, 2008, the Superintendent of Public Instruction will no longer be required to approve these programs. Therefore, the department will not require correspondence programs to submit application materials for approval unless the program offered is a driver education correspondence program as specified in 22.1-205 (see http://www.dmv.virginia.gov/webdoc/citizen/drivers/homeschoolers.asp for additional information.) Beginning July 1, 2008, this department will no longer maintain a list of approved correspondence programs on its website, located at http://www.doe.virginia.gov/VDOE/Parents/corrcour.html.

The provisions of HB 767 continue to allow parents to use a correspondence school or distance learning program as part of a program of study or curriculum in order to meet the requirements for home instruction. However, this bill has deleted the option that allowed parents to provide a program of study or curriculum which in the judgment of the division superintendent include the SOL objectives adopted by the Board of Education for language arts and mathematics. Parents may continue to use the SOL objectives as a basis for their program of study or curriculum under any of the options in 22.1-254.1.A., as of July 1, 2008. However, local school division superintendents no longer have to review the program of study or curriculum provided to ensure that it contains the SOL for language arts and mathematics. Regardless of the parents' chosen option under 22.1-254.1.A., the law continues to require that parents submit a program of study or curriculum.

 

Legislative Changes Related to HB 1183

 

HB 1183, also passed by the General Assembly and approved by the Governor, will become law on July 1, 2008. This legislation affects the evidence of progress requirements outlined in 22.1-254.1.C of the Code of Virginia. Currently, the law states:


22.1-254.1. Declaration of policy; requirements for home instruction of children.

C. The parent who elects to provide home instruction shall provide the division superintendent by August 1 following the school year in which the child has received home instruction with either (i) evidence that the child has attained a composite score in or above the fourth stanine on any nationally normed standardized achievement test or (ii) an evaluation or assessment which the division superintendent determines to indicate that the child is achieving an adequate level of educational growth and progress.

 

HB 1183 specifies two additional options for parents to provide evidence of progress for the child receiving home instruction under option (ii) of this section including: (a) an evaluation letter from a person licensed to teach in any state, or a person with a master's degree or higher in an academic discipline, having knowledge of the child's academic progress, stating that the child is achieving an adequate level of educational growth and progress; or (b) a report card or transcript from a community college or college, college distance learning program, or home education correspondence school. Although it is not specified in the current law, these provisions are already being used by some parents to meet the requirement for evidence of academic progress. The amended law clarifies that these are acceptable options but maintains the requirement that the division superintendent determine that the child is achieving an adequate level of educational growth and progress.

 

Please contact Michelle Vucci, director of the Policy Office, at Michelle.Vucci@doe.virginia.gov or at 804-225-2092 if you have any questions.

 

 

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