PR 08005.015 Idaho

A. PR 00-021 Home Schooling in Idaho

DATE: July 26, 1996

1. SYLLABUS

Home schooling of an elementary or secondary level school student in Idaho can qualify for benefits under title 2 of the Social Security Act. The educational requirements are determined at the local school district level and apply to public, private, or home school situations.

If the student alleges a home school situation, ask the parent(s) to provide the local school district's policies and regulations, and obtain certification from the local school district verifying that those requirements are being met.

In addition to the local school district requirements, the student must meet federal standards for full-time attendance, and all other requirements for payment of benefits.

2. OPINION

In an informal note dated April 23, 1996, you requested that OGC address three specific question. The questions, and the answers to those questions are as follows:

(1) Whether a home schooling situation in Idaho qualifies under section 202(d)(7) of the Social Security Act as a school that provides elementary or secondary education as determined under the law of the state of Idaho.

Brief answer: Home schooling of a elementary or secondary school student in Idaho may qualify under section 202(d)(7)(A) of the Social Security Act ("The Act").

Discussion: Idaho law compels school attendance. Idaho Code 33-202 states, in pertinent part, that "unless the child is otherwise comparably instructed, the parent or guardian shall cause the child to attend a public, private or parochial school..." The phrase "comparably instructed" is interpreted to mean home schooling. Additionally, in 33-203, the Idaho Code recognizes home schooling as follows"

(9) A non-public student is any student who receives educational instruction outside a public school classroom and such instruction can include, but is not limited to, a private school or a home school.

Under The Act 202(d)~7) (I), elementary or secondary school is defined as a "school" which provides elementary or secondary education as determined under the law of the state in which it is located. Idaho recognizes home schooling under this definition.

Thus, while home school situations may provide legitimate instruction, which Idaho has codified is equivalent to public or private school attendance, a home schooled student must still meet the full time requirements that a public or private school student must meet under 202(d)(7)(A) of The Act as well as age requirements and other definitions of student under The Act.

(2) If the requirements in 20 C.F.R. 404.367(b) regarding scheduled attendance of at least 20 hours per week and a course of study of 13 weeks are met by students enrolled in home schooling situations in Idaho, including "dual attendance" arrangements.

Brief Answer: This is a question that must be addressed on a case-by-case basis, depending on the facts of each case. There should be a process by which the home school provider (in conjunction with the school if there is dual enrollment) will certify the hours and weeks requirement of 20 C.F.R. 404.367(b) for Social Security.

Discussion: In the present case, the child's mother indicates that she home teaches her son twenty-five hours per week and he attends three daily classes at the public school for three hours per day. This report is consistent with the report from the local high school that he attends, or has attended, public school for fifteen hours per week. Additionally, both the mother's report and the school report indicate that this arrangement had been in place longer than thirteen weeks. Therefore, in the present case, it appears as though the requirements in 20 C.F.R. 404.367(b) are fulfilled.

(3) What requirements must be followed in home schooling situations; e.g., must specific subjects be taught; are students tested; must parents seek written approval from the school board; are there any specific attendance requirements or verification.

Brief Answer: The Idaho Code does not specifically address the requirements of home schooling situations. Various provisions of the Code address attendance of classes and requirements of instruction, etceteras. Presumably, these same requirements apply to an individual's education, whether or not they are in a public, private or home school situation. They are apparently determined at a local district level.

Discussion:

According to electronic legal research, the only two provisions of the Idaho Code that address home schooling are 33-203 (9) and 39-1201. There are no administrative provisions that implement home schooling pursuant to the Code. There are two cases in Idaho case law that address home schooling. In a 1995 case, the appeals court of Idaho addressed an issue where a home schooling mother claimed she adhered to l.c. 33-202 which requires that a child between seven and fifteen years of age must be instructed in subjects commonly and usually taught in the public schools of the state of Idaho, and if the child's parent or guardian fails to provide this instruction, the child must attend public, private or parochial school during the school year. Miller v. Mangus, 893 P.2d 823, 826 (Idaho App. 1995). Additionally, a 1989 case addresses penalties under l.C. 33-205 that are codified for parents or guardians who do not comply with l.C. 33-202. Bates v. State, 785 P.2d 660, 665 (Idaho App.1989). The B~ case states