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Pennsylvania Bill Would Eliminate Superintendent Review of Home Schooling

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Pennsylvania lawmakers approved a bill in October that would remove local superintendents from the home-schooling evaluation process. 

Proponents of the bill said the change eliminates a duplication of effort by district officials and unnecessary red tape for the parents of home schoolers, according to a story by Tribune Total Media. Currently, an evaluator, who is hired by the students' parents, reviews home schoolers' work annually. The evaluator's report along with the student's portfolio is then assessed by the superintendent or a district-level administrator who also must determine if the coursework complies with the home-schooling law.

The Home School Legal Defense Association has spent almost a decade lobbying for legislation to free home-schooling families from the district-level portfolio review. Dewitt Black, senior counsel for the Home School Legal Defense Association, told Tribune Total Media that the requirement was "overkill" and "created a double-jeopardy situation for home-schooling families and more administrative work for school superintendents."

But some critics believe the superintendent's assessment is crucial for home schoolers.

During testimony about the bill in March, the Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators presented research that found superintendents' were twice as likely to identify inadequate home-school education programs than the evaluators. 

Meanwhile, Rachel Coleman, executive director for the Massachusetts-based Coalition for Responsible Home Education, said in a statement that the Pennsylvania bill removes a "critical level of accountability," that protects home schoolers from "neglectful parents and derelict evaluators." The group is urging Gov. Tom Corbett to veto the bill.

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