UVA Study Questions Virginia’s Religious Exemption Policy

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September 17, 2012

8:21 PM

According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, a University of Virginia study questions Virginia’s religious exemption option for education. Religious exemptions excuse children from attending public schools if parents feel it impedes on their religious beliefs. Religious exemptions are granted by local school districts, and don’t require parents to homeschool their children or for them to meet any state-mandated education requirements. Critics of the study have pointed out that though as many as 7,000 students do not attend public school under the policy, there is no evidence to suggest that the students go uneducated, and that the religious exemption policy is vital to protecting religious values.

Read the full story here: http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/V/VA_RELIGIOUS_EXEMPTIONS_VAOL-?SITE=VARIT&SECTION=STATE&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

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About Author

Zach Hardy
  • Zach Hardy

Zach Hardy '15 is an English major from Richmond, Va. He was previously Chief Staff Writer, Online Editor and Associate Online Editor.

(5) Readers Comments

  1. Tia Murchie-Beyma
    September 18, 2012 at 6:22 PM

    Oh, dear. This isn't journalism, Flat Hat. Professor Andrew Block's September 11 report may have flaws, but it does not "reveal" or claim what your headline indicates. In a nutshell: religious exemption, used by a minority of homeschooling families in Virginia, has no reporting requirements. That's it. A legitimate discussion of the rights and responsibilities of the state versus those of individual citizens is one thing -- but parroting the coverage of another publication which in turn did the same is not cool. My homeschooled daughters don't let the Richmond Times-Dispatch do their homework. I don't think you should, either. Go (do some research) Tribe. Tia Murchie-Beyma (W&M '87)

  2. Amelia Wilson
    September 19, 2012 at 11:48 AM

    As a graduate of W&M, I am terribly disappointed in the quality of the journalism and scholarship displayed here. The headline is utterly inaccurate, and reflects either a deliberate distortion or a failure to read and/or understand the UVa study in question. That study does NOT state that "thousands of students go uneducated each year." It merely points out that Virginia statute does not specifically require parents claiming a religious exemption from compulsory attendance at public school to document to government officials what education they provide to their children. Professor Block and his students stated that it is theoretically possible that children being homeschooled under the RE are not being adequately educated -- not that it is a certainty. Notably, the study involved no contact with RE families and their children at all. -Amelia Vinroot Wilson, '92

  3. Amelia Wilson
    September 19, 2012 at 3:49 PM

    Thank you for the greatly improved reporting! I'm quite impressed with the fact that you revised the story after having received feedback. This is a much more balanced representation. Kudos.

  4. Tia Murchie-Beyma
    September 19, 2012 at 9:18 PM

    Awesome revision! Well-balanced. Thank you, Zach. Certainly a topic worthy of discussion -- which is easier when people have the facts. Tia Murchie-Beyma '87

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