Virginia homeschooling parents say state standard testing ‘doesn’t feel right’ for their kids
A Virginia couple who has been homeschooling their children is petitioning to be exempt from a local policy requiring documentation of their studies, including standardized testing, on religious grounds WSET-TV reported.
“Being subjected to the test itself makes them feel like they are being scrutinized,” Stephanie Dent told WSET. “For them, spiritually, right now, it doesn’t feel right.”
Dent and her husband, Jeff Dent, have been home-schooling their children since 2012 and are Universalists. State law allows local school boards to decide whether to grant religious exemptions for homeschooled students.
Up until this year, the Dents provided officials in Campbell County with standardized test records to satisfy the county’s mandate for evidence that their children’s education was progressing.
“Aside from reading, writing and arithmetic everything else is done as much as humanly possible in real life,” Jeff Dent told WSET. His wife added that their studies include both prayer and meditation.
“A lot of it happens in vivo when you’re outside with the chickens and you hear a breeze go through the trees,” she said.
However, the Dents were not able to fulfill a district request for notarized statements from a minister, saying they do not attend the local Universalist church. The district asked for the statements to back up their petition for a religious exemption.
Instead, the Dents will argue their case before the local school board next month, and can appeal to circuit court if their request is denied. Assistant superintendent Robert Arnold has reportedly indicated he will recommend that the board do so due to the lack of documentation from a minister.
“That really separates those who congregate from those who do not, instead of recognizing their personal religious belief” Stephanie Dent was quoted as saying.
Watch WSET’s report, as aired on Thursday, below.
[h/t The Friendly Atheist]