Please Don’t Call the WVDE
Some homeschool parents are concerned about getting assessment results in time for the June 30th deadline in light of the COVID-19 guidelines and the cancellation of test centers.
Both the WVHEA and CHEWV have been in contact with the state BOE. Dr. Derek Lambert has spoken with and emailed both organizations. John Carey is also conferring with legislative leadership and attorneys.
Here is what we know thus far:
* The state DOE assures us that they believe county superintendents will show understanding if assessment results are delayed.
* Because state DOE attorneys have a large number of issues to address at present, this issue will be addressed by them in the coming weeks.
IT’S ESSENTIAL TO UNDERSTAND THAT OUR ANNUAL ASSESSMENT REQUIREMENT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE SCHOOL SYSTEM. Homeschool requirements are legislated; we homeschool under the requirements of State Code 18-8-1. The only reason we have conferred with the state DOE is because there is a possibility that the State Superintendent could make an emergency rule that would hold the weight of law until the legislators again meet. However, whether he can or not hasn’t been determined by attorneys.
THEREFORE, IT’S IMPORTANT THAT HOMESCHOOLERS DO NOT BOMBARD THE STATE DOE WITH PHONE CALLS OR EMAILS. Please let the two state groups work on your behalf. Overwhelming the DOE will only slow down the process.
Please understand that the fact that we homeschool under state code, not under the DOE, is a very positive blessing! While that means the school system might not be able to relieve this immediate burden, it also assures that they cannot change aspects of homeschool requirements at other times either. That’s why we have been able to combat attempts to “approve” homeschooling, “approve” homeschool curriculum, or otherwise add to the requirements of 18-8-1. Only legislative bills can affect the requirements of WV homeschoolers – which is why we remain active each legislative session.
While we all try to figure out what to do right now with assessments, here are some options to consider:
* Online testing. Both state organizations are prepared to help you with that option.
* Private testing. Both state organizations offer private testing in homes.
* If testing options do not work, portfolio review may be a viable alternative. Several reviewers on our list have offered to work with families who need help this year. Before worrying, we highly recommend that you contact some reviewers and ask what they’d need to see and how you could provide the material to them. Keep in mind that options like photographing work, uploading content, speaking over the phone, and Skyping do exist. You might be surprised at how doable this might be for a creative teacher! And on the side, you could be given some valuable pointers! Before panicking because you have not kept a portfolio, start with the facts instead – from the reviewers. Each teacher, like each parent, is different, so be prepared to touch base with a few and ask questions. Most are well aware of the issue at hand! They want to help.
Unfortunately, there is an expectation from the school system that several homeschool families never turn in assessments at all. That puts all homeschoolers at a disadvantage when asking for an extension. As a community, we should assertively discourage any “working around” the law. Skipping grades or otherwise avoiding submission of assessment results every 2-3 years as required, is harmful to the entire homeschool community! Be willing to speak up to any homeschooling parents you know who are not homeschooling with integrity.
Both WVHEA and CHEWV have been serving homeschoolers in this state for over 30 years. We are here to help. To contact CHEWV about assessment options, contact Becky Price at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And please help us quickly disseminate accurate information by forwarding to your local groups and homeschooling friends.