The numbers of home-schooled students statewide — 21,897 in 2012 — and in Cumberland County — 606 — are proportionally small compared to those attending Pennsylvania’s public schools, but the monitoring and ensuring the efficacy of the home-schoolers’ education remains an essential public interest.
The General Assembly in its last session weakened that public supervision when it passed and sent to the governor legislation that would no longer requir school district oversight of a home-schooled student’s work That removes an essential level of quality control from the compulsory education process and caters blatantly to the Home School Legal Defense Association, a national advocacy group that pushed for the bill’s passage.
The change to the state’s education law was opposed by the Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators last month in legislative hearings.
The nonprofit Coalition for Responsible Home Education said on its website that by “removing superintendents from the evaluation process, they have removed a critical level of accountability, leaving too many home-schooled children at the whim of neglectful parents and derelict evaluators.”
Under Pennsylvania’s home-schooling requirements, yearly examination is required of a portfolio of a home school students work by an evaluator who certifies the progress then submits the documents to the area’s district superintendent for a determination of compliance.
Pennsylvania and New York have some of the strictest superintendent oversight rules regarding home-schooled students. Leaving certification of home-school education to evaluators alone, as House Bill 1013 would allow, abrogates public responsibility.
The bill now goes to the governor’s desk for signature.
He should veto it.