TN 13 (03-08)

PR 08005.037 North Dakota

A. PR 11-080 Changes to Home School Requirements in North Dakota – REPLY

DATE: March 25, 2011

1. SYLLABUS

North Dakota law pertinent to a home school parent’s educational requirements and home education program requirements has changed, and this opinion modifies PR 08-067 (2/20/08).

Parent’s Educational Requirements through July 31, 2011

•  A parent with a high school diploma or a general educational development certificate (GED) may supervise a home education program without monitoring.

•  A certified teacher must monitor a parent who does not have either a high school diploma or a GED. The teacher must monitor the parent for the first two years the parent supervises home education.  If the child in the home education program receives a composite standardized test score below the national fiftieth percentile, the certified teacher must continue to monitor the education during the following school year or longer if the child has not achieved the fiftieth percentile. If testing is not required during the first two years, the period of monitoring may not be extended, unless the parent and the monitor mutually agree. If a parent completes the monitoring requirements for one child, monitoring is not required for other children for whom the parent supervises home education. 

Parent’s Educational Requirements after July 31, 2011

To qualify to supervise a home education program, a parent must: 

•   Be certified to teach in North Dakota; or

•   Have a baccalaureate degree; or

•   Meet or exceed the cut-off score of the National Teacher Examination given in ND; or

•   Have a high school diploma or a general educational development certificate (GED). In this case, a certified teacher must monitor the parent for the first two years the parent supervises home education.  If the child in the home education program receives a composite standardized test score below the national fiftieth percentile, the certified teacher must continue to monitor the education during the following school year or longer if the child has not achieved the fiftieth percentile.  If testing is not required during the first two years, the period of monitoring may not be extended, unless the parent and the monitor mutually agree.  If a parent completes the monitoring requirements for one child, monitoring is not required for other children for whom the parent supervises home education. 

Home Education Program Requirements

Effective July 1, 2009, the legislature revised the required units that approved public and non-public high schools must make available to students.  The revised units clarified the following:

•   English language arts must be from a sequence that includes literature, composition, and speech;

•   One unit of math must be Algebra II and another unit must be a course for which Algebra II is a prerequisite;

•   Science must include one unit of physical science and one unit of biology;

•   History must include one unit of problems of democracy or one-half unit of United States government and one-half unit of economics, in addition to one world history unit and one United States history unit;

•   A Native American language may satisfy the foreign language requirement;

•   Students must take one unit of an advanced placement course or one unit of a dual-credit course;

•   Career and technical education units must be “from a coordinated plan of study recommended by the department of career and technical education and approved by the superintendent of public instruction.”

Effective August 1, 2007, the legislature also required public and non-public high schools to make available to each student, at least once every 2 years, one-half unit of North Dakota studies, with an emphasis on the geography, history, and agriculture of the state. 

2. OPINION

QUESTION PRESENTED

You submitted a draft revision of POMS PR 08005.037 (Status of Home Schooling in North Dakota) for our review. Specifically, you asked us to clarify the educational qualifications a parent will need to supervise a home education program after July 31, 2011.  You also asked whether the parental monitoring requirements will remain the same after that date, and if a parent will still be required to meet or exceed the cut-off score of the national teacher examination administered in North Dakota, in order to supervise a home education program. 

SHORT ANSWER

We recommend that you amend the draft revision of POMS PR 08005.037 to include two parental qualifications sections—one that reflects the law through July 31, 2011, and one that reflects the law after that date. The first section should be entitled “Parent’s Educational Requirements through July 31, 2011” and state specifically that a parent who has either a high school diploma or a GED may supervise a home education program without monitoring through July 31, 2011. (Currently, the draft revision requires the reader to infer this result.)  The second section should be entitled “Parent’s Educational Requirements after July 31, 2011” and list the four ways a parent may qualify to supervise a home education program after July 31, 2011.  The draft revision does not reflect these options. Both parental qualifications sections should include the statutory limitations on monitoring described below. Lastly, rather than a “requirement” per se, meeting or exceeding the cut-off score of the national teacher examination administered in North Dakota is one of four educational options a parent may satisfy in order to qualify to supervise a home education program after July 31, 2011.

Discussion

Parental Educational Requirements through July 31, 2011

The draft revision of the POMS correctly states that through July 31, 2011, a parent who does not have either a high school diploma or a GED may supervise home education with monitoring. See N.D. Cent. Code § 15.1-23-03 (effective through July 31, 2011).  For clarity, however, the first parental qualifications section should be entitled “Parent’s Educational Requirements through July 31, 2011” and state specifically that a parent with a high school diploma or a GED may supervise a home education program without monitoring. Currently, the revised draft states what happens when a parent does not have either credential.  The reader must infer that through July 31, 2011, there are no monitoring requirements for a parent with a high school education or a GED. We believe that adding the recommended language will make the qualifications through July 31 2011, easier to understand and highlight the shift in monitoring requirements after July 31, 2011, for parents who have a high school diploma or a GED (discussed below).

In addition, the first section should include the following statutory limitations on monitoring.  If testing is not required during the first two years of monitoring, the period of monitoring may not be extended, unless the parent and the monitor mutually agree. See id. § 15.1-23-06 (effective through July 31, 2011). Moreover, if a parent completes the monitoring requirements for one child, monitoring is not required for other children for whom the parent supervises home education. See id. (effective through July 31, 2011). 

Thus, with our recommendations, the first parental qualifications section of the draft revision of the POMS would read as follows:

Parent’s Educational Requirements through July 31, 2011

  • A parent with a high school diploma or a general educational development certificate (GED) may supervise a home education program without monitoring.

  • A certified teacher must monitor a parent who does not have either a high school diploma or a GED.  The teacher must monitor the parent for the first two years the parent supervises home education. If the child in the home education program receives a composite standardized test score below the national fiftieth percentile, the certified teacher must continue to monitor the education during the following school year or longer if the child has not achieved the fiftieth percentile. If testing is not required during the first two years, the period of monitoring may not be extended, unless the parent and the monitor mutually agree.  If a parent completes the monitoring requirements for one child, monitoring is not required for other children for whom the parent supervises home education. 

Parental Educational Requirements after July 31, 2011

N.D. Cent. Code § 15.1-23-03 (effective after July 31, 2011) provides as follows:   

[a] parent may supervise home education if the parent:

1. Is licensed to teach by the education standards and practices board or approved to teach by the education standards and practices board:

2. Holds a baccalaureate degree;

3. Has met or exceeded the cutoff score of a national teacher examination given in this state or in any other state if this state does not offer such a test; or

4. Meets the requirements of section 15.1-23-06.[ This section allows a parent with a high school diploma or a GED to supervise home education with monitoring for the first two years.

These options are not reflected in the draft revision. Thus, we recommend that you amend the draft revision to include a second parental qualifications section that reads as follows:

Parent’s Educational Requirements after July 31, 2011

To qualify to supervise a home education program, a parent must:

  • Be certified to teach in North Dakota; or

  • Have a baccalaureate degree; or

  • Meet or exceed the cut-off score of the National Teacher Examination given in ND; or

  • Have a high school diploma or a general educational development certificate (GED).  In this case, a certified teacher must monitor the parent for the first two years the parent supervises home education. If the child in the home education program receives a composite standardized test score below the national fiftieth percentile, the certified teacher must continue to monitor the education during the following school year or longer if the child has not achieved the fiftieth percentile. If testing is not required during the first two years, the period of monitoring may not be extended, unless the parent and the monitor mutually agree.  If a parent completes the monitoring requirements for one child, monitoring is not required for other children for whom the parent supervises home education. 

National Teacher Examination Cut-Off Score “Requirement”

You asked whether a parent must still satisfy the “requirement” that he or she meet or exceed the cut-off score of the national teacher examination given in North Dakota, in order to supervise home education after July 31, 2011. We note that this provision does not apply at present, through July 31, 2011.  After this date, meeting or exceeding the national teacher examination cut-off score is not a “requirement” per se but one of four ways a parent may qualify to supervise a home education program after July 31, 2011.  In North Dakota, persons wishing to become certified as teachers must take The Praxis SeriesTM tests.  We contacted the North Dakota Education Standards and Practices Board and Educational Testing Service (ETS), which administers the Praxis tests. A representative from each organization confirmed that individuals do not need a college degree or even a high school diploma or GED to take the Praxis tests in North Dakota.  Therefore, it appears that after July 31, 2011, a parent with only a high school diploma or a GED or less who meets or exceeds the cut-off score of the national teacher examination administered in North Dakota may qualify to supervise home education without monitoring. The recommended language discussed above incorporates this option. 

CONCLUSION

We recommend that you amend the draft revision of the POMS as described above to include two parental qualifications sections that list the qualifications necessary to supervise home education with and without monitoring through July 31, 2011, and after this date. We have provided suggested language for both sections. 


John J. L~

Acting Regional Chief Counsel, Region VIII

By: ____________
Yvette G. K~
Assistant Regional Counsel

B. PR 08- 067 Status of Home Schooling in North Dakota (NH - Joseph D~)

DATE: February 20, 2008

1. SYLLABUS

North Dakota recognizes home schooling in the form of "home education," which is an educational program in the child's home, supervised by the child's parent(s) in accordance with the law. Parent's Educational Requirements

To qualify to supervise a home education program, a parent must:

"Be certified to teach in North Dakota; or

"Have a baccalaureate degree; or

"Meet or exceed the cut-off score of the National Teacher Examination given in ND; or

"Have a high school diploma or a general educational development certificate. In this case, a certified teacher must monitor the parent for the first two years the parent supervises home education. If the child in the home education program receives a composite standardized test score below the national fiftieth percentile, the certified teacher must continue to monitor the education during the following school year or longer if the child has not achieved the fiftieth percentile.

Home Education Program Requirements

The home education program must include four hours of education per day for a minimum of 175 days per year, and it must include instruction in the subjects required by law to be taught to students in the public schools. Public school courses include English, mathematics, science, social studies, health, physical education, fine arts, foreign language, and career and technical education.

Additional Requirements

"A parent who plans to supervise home education must file an annual statement with the superintendent of the public school district in which the child lives within 14 days of beginning the home education. The statement must include the names and addresses of the parent who will supervise and the child who will receive the education; the child's date of birth and grade level; the qualifications of the parent who will supervise the home education; a list of any courses or extracurricular activities the child plans to attend in the public school district; a copy of the child's immunization record; and proof of the child's identity.

"A parent who supervises home education must keep an annual record of the child's courses and the child's academic progress assessments, including any standardized achievement test results.

"A child receiving home education in grades 4, 6, 8, and 10 must take either a standardized achievement test used by the public school in the school district in which the parent lives or a national standardized achievement test. The child must take the test in his or her learning environment or in the public school, and a certified teacher must administer it.

2. OPINION

Issue

You have requested an opinion on whether the home schooling of Hannah D~ for the period of May 2006 through May 2007 qualifies her to receive student benefits, effective May 2006, on the record of Joseph D~, SSN ~.

Short Answer

As discussed below, Hannah's home schooling qualifies her to receive student benefits for the months of May 2006, and September 2006 through May 2007.

Facts

You provided us with a copy of the "Statement of Intent to Home Educate," completed by Hannah's mother in August 2006; a copy of the mother's master of physical therapy degree; a November 2007 letter from the mother, in which she stated the length of the school year and described Hannah's high school curriculum 1 ; a "transcript" or record of the courses that Hannah took in the 9th through 12th grades; a copy of Hannah's "Senior Recital" musical program; a copy of the May 2007 commencement program (the graduates’ names are not listed); Haanah’s PSAT test scores from 2005; her ACT test scores from June 2006; and her SAT test scores from November 2006 and December 2006.

Discussion

Section 202(d) of the Social Security Act (the Act), 42 U.S.C. § 402(d), provides, in pertinent part, that the child of a retired, disabled, or deceased wage earner (WE) is eligible to receive benefits on the WE's account if at the time of application she "either had not attained the age of 18 or was a full-time . . . secondary school student and had not attained the age of 19 . . . ." 42 U.S.C. § 202(d)(1)(B). A "full-time" secondary student is one "who is in full-time attendance as a student at . . . [a] secondary school, as determined by the Commissioner of Social Security (in accordance with regulations prescribed by the Commissioner) in the light of the standards and practices of the school[] involved . . . ." 42 U.S.C. § 402(d)(7)(A). A secondary school is a school that provides secondary education "as determined under the law of the state or other jurisdiction in which it is located." Id. § 402(d)(7)(C).

Under the Commissioner's regulations, home schooling is an appropriate type of secondary education if it complies with the law of the state or other jurisdiction in which the student resides. 20 C.F.R. § 404.367(a)(1); see POMS § RS 00205.275. The first question to be resolved, therefore, is whether Hannah's home education met state requirements. To this end, POMS § RS 00205.275 mandates full development and documentation of the home schooling issue.

Public school attendance is compulsory for children between the ages of 7 and 16 in North Dakota with certain exceptions, one of which is that the child is receiving "home education."2 N.D. Cent. Code §§ 15.1-20-01, 15.1-20-02. "Home education" means an educational program for a child, based in the child's home and supervised by the child's parent or parents in accordance with certain statutory provisions. Id. § 15.1-23-01.

A parent is qualified to supervise a program of home education if the parent is certified to teach in North Dakota; has a baccalaureate degree; or has met or exceeded the cutoff score of the national teacher examination given in North Dakota, or in any other state if North Dakota does not offer such a test. Id. § 15.1-23-03. A parent who has a high school diploma or a general educational development certificate also is qualified to supervise home education, but must be monitored by a certified teacher during the first two years the parent supervises home education. And, if the child being instructed receives a composite standardized achievement test score below the fiftieth percentile nationally, monitoring must continue during the following school year or longer if the child has not achieved the 50th percentile. Id. § 15.1-23-06.

Home education must be provided for at least 4 hours per day for a minimum of 175 days per year. Id. § 15.1-23-04. In addition, home education must include instruction in those subjects required by law to be taught to public school students. Id. In order to graduate from high school, a student must have completed at least 21 units of coursework from the minimum required curriculum offerings established by statute. Id. § 15.1-21-02.1. Those course offerings include:

a. 4 units of English language arts;

b. 4 units of mathematics;

c. 4 units of science;

d. 4 units of social studies, including 1 of world history and 1 of United States history;

e. ?? unit of health; f. ?? unit of physical education during each school year, provided that once every four years the unit must be a concept-based fitness class that includes instruction in the assessment, improvement, and maintenance of personal fitness;

g. 2 units of fine arts, at least one of which must be music;

h. 2 units of the same foreign language; and

i. 2 units of career and technical education.

Id. § 15.1-21-02.3

A parent intending to supervise home education must file an annual statement with the superintendent of the public school district in which the child resides within 14 days of beginning home education, which includes the names and addresses of the parent who will supervise and the child who will receive home education; the date of birth and grade level of the child; the qualifications of the parent who will supervise home education; a list of courses or extracurricular activities in which the child intends to participate in the public school district; a copy of the child's immunization record; and proof of the child's identity. Id. § 15.1-23-02.

Every parent supervising home education also must maintain an annual record of courses taken by the child and the child's academic progress assessments, including any standardized achievement test results. Id. § 15.1-23-05.

A standardized achievement test used by the public school in the school district in which the parent resides, or a nationally normed standardized achievement test, must be given to each child receiving home education in grades 4, 6, 8, and10; it must be given in the child's learning environment or the public school, and must be administered by a certified teacher. Id. § 15.1-23-09.

The facts provided show that in August 2006, Hannah's mother completed and filed with the superintendent of the school district in which she and Hannah reside, a statement of her intent to supervise home education for Hannah. The statement indicates that Hannah was in the 12th grade. The statement further indicates that Hannah's mother has a baccalaureate degree. You provided a copy of the mother's master of physical therapy degree, which by implication, shows that she holds a baccalaureate degree.

Thus, Hannah's mother was qualified to supervise home education and did not need to be monitored. And for the 2006-07 school year, she timely filed with the appropriate party the required statement of intent.

Hannah's mother maintained a "transcript" or annual record of Hannah's high school courses. The transcript shows that Hannah completed the required 21 units or "credits" of coursework from the statutory minimum required high school curriculum offerings. She had 4 units of English, 3 units of mathematics; 3 units of science; 3?? or 4 units of social studies; ?? unit of health; 2 units of physical education; 2?? units of fine arts (youth symphony); and 2?? units of foreign language (Spanish), for a total of at least 21 units. Thus, Hannah met the high school coursework requirement under North Dakota law.

Hannah's mother stated that the curriculum she used to teach Hannah was ABEKA (Abeka), which consists of 170 instruction days per school year. Although this is 5 days less that the statutory minimum of 175 days per year, the curriculum does not include any extra activities, according to Hannah's mother. She did not state how many hours per day Hannah attended classes. The Abeka website states that high school class time is based on 50 minutes of class time, plus homework, for each course. See http://www.abekaacademy.org. Thus, a simple calculation shows that for the 2003-04 school year (9th grade), Hannah attended 5.4 hours of Abeka classes per day, plus 1?? units of non-Abeka classes; for the 2004-05 school year (10th grade), she attended 5.8 hours of Abeka classes per day, plus 1?? units of non-Abeka classes; for the 2005-06 school year (11th grade), she attended 5 hours of Abeka classes per day, plus ?? units of non-Abeka classes; and for the 2006-07 school year (12th grade), she attended 2.5 hours of Abeka classes per day, plus 2 units of non-Abeka classes. Hannah's mother did not indicate where the non-Abeka classes were taken, but, presumably, Hannah attended the local public school for these classes, which would have required travel time to and from home. Attendance includes the required time for changes in student stations. See POMS § RS 00205.310B.

Thus, Hannah attended classes for at least 4 hours per day for the 9th-11th grades, even if only her home education Abeka classes are considered. For the 2006-07 school year (12th grade), her combined attendance at Abeka and non-Abeka classes, plus presumed travel time, shows that she met statutory attendance requirement, as well.

Although Hannah's mother provided the results of Hannah's college entrance tests (PSAT, SAT, ACT), the results of required public school standardized achievement tests were not provided. We contacted the home education coordinator for Grand Forks (North Dakota) Public Schools, who stated that on her 10th-grade standardized achievement test, Hannah scored in the 96th percentile for reading and math (telephone interview, 1/24/08). Based on this information, Hannah met the statutory requirement for home education standardized achievement testing.

Thus, based on the facts presented and independently obtained, Hannah complied with all North Dakota state requirements for high school home education.

The second question in determining whether Hannah met the federal requirements for full-time attendance (FTA) as a high school student, for the period May 2006 through May 2007. See POMS § RS 00205.275B. The Commissioner's regulations provide that a student's "scheduled attendance must be at the rate of at least 20 hours per week" unless certain exceptions apply. 20 C.F.R. § 404.367(c); see also POMS § RS 00205.300C.4

Presumably, Hannah was not attending school for the time period between the 2005-06 and 2006-07 school years (June 2006 through August 2006). As discussed above, Hannah attended 5 hours of Abeka classes per day, or 25 hours week of home education for the 2005-06 school year.

Thus, her home schooling alone met the federal requirements for FTA for May 2006. For the 2006-07 school year, she attended 2.5 hours of Abeka classes per day, or 12.5 hours per week. She also attended 2 units of non-Abeka classes per day. With travel time included, this would have amounted to at least 8 hours per week, for a total school attendance of 20.5 hours per week. Thus, Hannah's school attendance appears to have met the federal requirements for FTA for September 2006 through May 2007.

Conclusion

Accordingly, we advise that:

(1) Hannah complied with all North Dakota state requirements for high school home education.

(2) Hannah's school attendance met the federal requirements for FTA for the months of May 2006 and September 2006 through May 2007.

Sincerely yours,
Deana R. E~-L~

Regional Chief Counsel, Region VIII

By: ____________
Thomas H. K
Assistant Regional Counsel


Footnotes:

[1]

Hannah's mother also stated that Hannah is attending Concordia College as a freshman. 1961 Stout Street, Suite 1001A, Denver, Colorado 80294 copy of the May 2007 commencement program (the graduates' names are not listed); Hannah's PSAT test scores from 2005; her ACT test scores from June 2006; and her SAT test scores from November 2006 and December 2006.

[2]

Hannah attained age 18 in May 2006. Because she was over 16 during the relevant period she was not subject to the compulsory attendance law.

[3]

POMS § RS DEN00205.275D.1.c., which appears to be based on a 1999 opinion by our office, see Memorandum from Regional Chief Counsel, Denver, to Regional Commissioner, Denver, Status of Child As Full-Time Secondary School Student - Education - North Dakota (February 23, 1999), needs to be revised to incorporate the requirements of N.D. Cent. Code § 15.1-21-02.1, which became effective July 1, 2005. These amendments require a student to complete 21 units of coursework from the minimum required curriculum offerings described above. Although POMS § RS DEN00205.275D.1.c indicates it was updated in 2006, it does not incorporate the July 2005 North Dakota statutory changes. The POMS provision should also be updated to reflect the 2007 North Dakota statutory amendments, see N.D. Cent. Code § 15.1-21-02.2, which state that beginning with the 2008-09 school year, in order to graduate from high school, a student must successfully complete four units of English language arts; two units each of mathematics and science; three units of social studies; one unit of physical education; and one unit of a foreign or Native American language, fine arts, or career and technical education. We will submit proposed language to update the North Dakota provisions of POMS § RS DEN00205.275D.1.c. by February 22, 2008.

[4]

We express no opinion as to whether Hannah's attendance needed to be verified on Form SSA-1372. See POMS § RS 00205.350.


To Link to this section - Use this URL:
http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/1508005037
PR 08005.037 - North Dakota - 04/26/2011
Batch run: 04/26/2011
Rev:04/26/2011