Liz McCormick Published

Bill To Reduce Homeschooler Assessments Moves Through Committee

Mike Azinger - January 17 2019.jpg

The Senate Education Committee approved a bill Tuesday that will allow parents of homeschoolers to submit their child’s academic assessment only once in that child’s homeschool career.

Under current law, homeschoolers in West Virginia must provide an academic assessment to their local county school board at the end of grades 3, 5, 8 and 11. The goal is to ensure that the child is where they need to be academically.

Senate Bill 541 would change this and allow homeschool students to submit only one academic assessment by June 30 of the first year in which the child is homeschooled. If the county school board deems the child is performing well, then no other tests will be required.

Sen. Mike Romano, D-Harrison, said he opposes the bill, arguing that some homeschool parents may let their students fall behind.

“I think we make a terrible mistake when we close our eyes to the education of our kids for 12 years,” Romano said. “I wouldn’t want that to happen in public school, wouldn’t want it to happen in private school, wouldn’t want it to happen in parochial school, [and] wouldn’t want it to happen to homeschoolers.”

Supporters of the bill, such as Senate Finance Chair Eric Tarr, R-Putnam, argued that one assessment is enough to see if a child isn’t doing well in homeschool or if there’s a problem at home.

“In the first year, those types of problems are going to be seen,” Tarr said. “If you have somebody who’s been showing that they’re adequately serving their child and their educational purposes for a year, they’re not going to suddenly turn and go the other way.”

Other supporters argue that ultimately, a student’s education should be between the parent and child.

“The parents have a passion for their children,” said the bill’s lead sponsor Sen. Mike Azinger, R-Wood. “They love their children, and they homeschool their kids for a reason.”

Senate Bill 541 passed out of committee and now heads to the full Senate.