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H.862

Introduced by   Committee on Education

Date:

Subject:  Education; home study programs

Statement of purpose:  This bill proposes to direct that the commissioner of education specify the content of a report by a licensed teacher of progress made by a student enrolled in a home study program; to specify and authorize use of certain standardized achievement tests to evaluate the progress of a home study student; to exempt a home study student who is 13 years of age or older from the requirements to study physical education, comprehensive health education, and the fine arts; and to stipulate that a home study program which has successfully completed two consecutive years of home study is not required to submit an annual curriculum narrative.

AN ACT RELATING TO HOME STUDY PROGRAMS

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1.  16 V.S.A. § 166b is amended to read:

§ 166b.  HOME STUDY PROGRAM

(a)  Enrollment notice.  A home study program shall send a written enrollment notice to the commissioner whenever it intends to enroll a child. Enrollments at home study programs shall expire on July 1.  If a home study program intends to re-enroll a child for the following school year, a new notice under this section is required and may be submitted at any time after March 1.  The commissioner shall accept and review enrollment notices upon receiving them.  A notice under this subsection shall include the following:

(1)  The name and age, by year and month, of the child.

(2)  The names, mailing addresses, town of legal residence, and telephone numbers of the parents or guardians of the child.

(3)  For each child enrolled during the preceding year, any assessment of progress required under subsection (d) of this section.

(4)  For each child not previously enrolled in a Vermont public school or Vermont home study program, independent professional evidence on whether the child is handicapped has a disability.  A comprehensive evaluation to establish eligibilities for special education is not required, but may be ordered by a hearing officer after a hearing under this section.

(5)  For Subject to the provisions of subsections (k) and (l) of this section, for each child being enrolled for the current year, a detailed outline or narrative which describes the content to be provided in each subject area of the minimum course of study, including any special services or adaptations to be made to accommodate any handicapping condition in accordance with applicable state and federal law disability.  Methods and materials to be used may be included but are not required.

(6)  The school district in which the home study program is located.

(7)  The names, addresses, telephone numbers, and signatures of the persons who will provide the instruction ongoing instruction in the subject areas specified in subdivisions 906(b)(1), (2), (4), and (5) of this title.

(8)(7)  The signature signatures of all custodial parents or guardians who are legally authorized to make educational decisions for the student.

* * *

(d)  Progress assessment.  Each home study program shall assess annually the progress of each of its students.  Progress shall be assessed in each area of the minimum course of study, as defined in subsection (i) of this section, by one or more of the following methods:

(1)  A licensed Vermont teacher.  A report in a form designated by the commissioner, by a teacher licensed in Vermont who is not the parent or legal guardian of the student.  In determining the form of the report, the commissioner shall consult with parents who have provided home study programs for their children.  Nothing in this section shall be construed to require the commissioner to consult with parents on an individual basis regarding the form of a teacher report.

(2)  A teacher from an approved Vermont independent school.

(3)  A report prepared by the parents, the student’s instructor, or a teacher advisory service report from a publisher of a commercial curriculum together with a portfolio of the student’s work that includes work samples to demonstrate progress in each subject area in the minimum course of study.

(4)  A report prepared by the parents or the student’s instructor together with a portfolio of the student’s work.

(5)(3)  The complete results of a standardized achievement test administered by a qualified person approved by the commissioner, administered in a manner approved by the testing company, and scored in accordance with this subdivision.  In selecting the list of tests to be approved, the commissioner shall:

(A)  Consult with parents who have provided home study programs for their children.  Nothing in this section shall be construed to require the commissioner to consult with parents on an individual basis regarding the test to be administered as a progress assessment for their own home study programs. 

(B)  Select at least four tests to be scored by a testing company, and  at least four tests to be administered and scored by a teacher licensed in Vermont who is not the parent or legal guardian of the student.  

(6)  The complete results of a standardized achievement test administered by an approved Vermont school, at the option of the school or school district.

* * *

(i)  As used in this section, “minimum course of study” is defined as in section 906 of this title.  The minimum course of study required under this section shall be provided every school year, and the educational content provided shall be adapted in each area of study throughout the school year to the age and ability of each child and adapted to any handicapping conditions disability of the child.  Nothing in this section requires that a home study program follow the program or methods used by the public schools.  In this section, “minimum course of study” means:

(1)  For a child who is less than 13 years of age, the subject areas listed in section 906 of this title.

(2)  For a child who is 13 years of age or older, the subject areas listed in subdivisions 906(b) (1), (2), (4), and (5) of this title, and other subject areas selected by the home study program.  However, the child’s progress in the elective areas shall not be subject to the annual progress assessment.  

* * *

(k)  A Vermont home study program which has successfully completed the last two consecutive school years of home study with any enrolled child, provided those two years fall within the most recent five years, shall not thereafter be required to submit an annual detailed outline or narrative describing the content of the minimum course of study.  For the purposes of this subsection, successful completion of a home study program shall mean that, in each of the two consecutive years, the program has not been disallowed by order of a hearing officer, the previously enrolled student made age- and ability-appropriate progress in all subject areas of the minimum course of study, and the home study program has otherwise complied with the requirements of this section. 

(l)  A home study program which has successfully completed two consecutive school years of home study as defined in subsection (k) of this section shall not be exempt from any other requirements of this section and shall annually submit a description of special services and adaptations to accommodate any disability of the child, consistent with subsection (i) of this section.  In addition, the program shall submit a detailed outline or narrative describing the content to be provided in each subject area of the minimum course of study as part of its enrollment notice for each child for the school year in which the child reaches the age of 12.

Sec. 2.  TRANSITIONAL PROVISION

In school years 2006, 2007, and 2008, notwithstanding the provisions of 16 V.S.A. § 166b(k), a Vermont home study program which has successfully completed the last three consecutive school years of home study with any enrolled child, provided those three years fall within the most recent five years, shall not thereafter be required to submit an annual detailed outline or narrative describing the content of its curriculum.



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us