WESTFIELD, N.J. – The public school system in Westfield, New Jersey tried to teach some homeschooling parents a lesson, but soon had the tables turned on them about state laws that apply to homeschoolers.
After the family withdrew their child from the Westfield district in order to homeschool, they were shocked by the letter they received from the assistant superintendent of schools telling them they must adhere to the Common Core Standards.
The assistant superintendent told them they would have to submit a letter of intent and an outline of their curriculum which “must follow New Jersey Common core content standards.” After that, they were to wait for the superintendent to approve their curriculum. And if approved, she would give them permission to homeschool.
Enter Home School Legal Defense Fund Senior Counsel Scott A. Woodruff. He wrote to the assistant superintendent that the policy the district was referring to conflicts with current New Jersey Department of Education policy regarding homeschooling. In fact, it appeared to be based almost entirely on the long-discarded policy of former Education Commissioner Leo Klagholz.
The district quickly backed off and wrote back to Woodruff. He tells EAGnews that the school now contends that “the New Jersey parents need to be mindful that they should be following New Jersey Core content standards.”
He wrote a second letter telling the schools that that is not necessary and that is not the law.
Concerning that the ACT and the SAT have been brought into alignment with the Core, Woodruff said “homeschooled kids are going to do great on the math and reasoning sections of any of those tests because the net impact of Common Core is to dumb down the ACT test and the SAT test. So the homeschooled kids who are given rigorous curriculum, rigorous instruction at their home are going to do fine.”
Woodruff told EAG that it’s unfortunate that an Examiner.com article stated, “New Jersey is in full implementation of Common Core. In order to abide by homeschool laws, New Jersey parents must provide curriculum that is equivalent to Common Core because that is what the schools are using,” which is what the assistant superintendent was incorrectly asserting.
He says the author of that article took information from his HSLDA article and “reformatted it and added her own editorial comment.” Woodruff says he’s not in agreement with a number of her statements.
He says some of those New Jersey homeschooling parents that have read it are deeply concerned. He said he and homeschool leaders in the state are trying to alleviate the fears of those parents that have been calling and he’s emailed the author asking her to make some corrections and clarifications.
Those who want to learn more about this and about homeschooling in general can go to the HSLDA website to see Woodruff’s comments concerning the Westfield situation and other homeschool issues.