In the fall of 2020, CHEWV reported about a worrisome trend across WV: counties pushing to enroll homeschoolers in order to assign Eligibility Information System (EIS) numbers to them. This 2020 push included other disturbing actions like home visits and approval processes, none of which were legal. As parents better understood the actual requirements of the WV law and pushed back, things settled down.
However, “settled down” is not the same as “went away.” Sometimes when we assume things are okay and we let down our guard, the issue reemerges. Unfortunately, the push for EIS assignment is still alive and well.
What is the EIS?
The Eligibility Information System (EIS) is a data system designed for tracking students. Several states’ school systems utilize the system to track student data such as addresses, DOB, grade level, and performance.
While all children who are enrolled in public school are assigned tracking numbers, homeschoolers theoretically are not – at least those who have never been enrolled in public school. Neither are homeschoolers required to submit information such as grade level – making it more difficult to use EIS with homeschoolers.
EIS and Homeschooling
The push to assign EIS numbers to homeschoolers came to the attention of HSLDA in 2021 according to Mike Donnelly’s recent report.
Donnelly notes, “I learned that West Virginia Code 18-2-5h grants the board authority to set up a statewide database. However, I found no authority for the database to include home educated students.”
Despite this, Donnelly reported that homeschoolers in Randolph County were assigned WVEIS numbers as of 2022. CHEWV has heard similar reports from several other counties as well.
How to Respond
If you are troubled by this trend to track your students, there are several action steps you should take. First, stay closely connected with CHEWV and/or WVHEA as well as HSLDA. Read newsletters and news articles to stay abreast of what is happening so that you’re prepared to respond.
Do not submit more information about your student than is required by WV law. Be aware that all information you submit to counties can potentially be tracked.
While there is healthy debate about homeschool accountability, it’s wise to understand all sides. Search the Scriptures for accountability boundaries set up by God. Then, when you go to the polls, vote for candidates who will promote godly practices in accordance with His will and way. Pray fervently – for protection and for wisdom. As I Timothy 2:1-2 urges us, also pray for those in authority:
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life…
Know the Law
It’s important that you know the WV homeschooling law. Ask questions. Read it for yourself. Study the wording. Obey the law, but do not submit more than the law requires. Disobeying the law merely brings attention to this issue. It supports the argument that homeschoolers can’t be trusted.
Instead, be above reproach. If you don’t think we should have to do something, actively appeal for the law to be changed. As we celebrated on the fourth of July, we are a government of the people and by the people. We have supportive legislators right now in the WV legislature. Work the process!