TN 28 (02-17)

PR 08005.040 Oklahoma

A. PR 17-043 Oklahoma State Law Requirements for Year-Round Homeschooling

Date: February 8, 2017

1. Syllabus

This precedent supersedes PR 05-247. Oklahoma law allows for homeschooling as an “other means of education”. The law requires that homeschooling be for the full term the schools of the district are in session which is a requirement of six hours of instruction per day for 180 days, or not less than a total of 1,080 hours each school year (with 30 total hours allowed for each school year for teacher professional meetings).

2. Opinion

QUESTIONS PRESENTED

This memorandum responds to your request for an opinion regarding whether an eighteen-year-old claimant, homeschooled by his mother, qualifies as a full-time student of a secondary school and is therefore entitled to receive continued child’s insurance benefits (also referred to as student benefits) on the number holder’s account. See 42 U.S.C. § 402(d)(1)(B), (7)(A); 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.350(a)(5), 404.367. Specifically, you asked whether year-round homeschooling for four hours a day is sufficient under Oklahoma law to pay student benefits to N~ (N~), son of N2~ (number holder). The Social Security Administration (SSA or agency) initially denied N~’s application for student benefits using the criteria from a prior legal opinion, which stated that Oklahoma law requires a minimum of six hours of school per day. See Program Operations Manual (POMS) PR 08005.040.A. PR 05-247, Oklahoma State Law Requirements for Home Schooling (NH D.O~, SSN~, A H~, Student) (OGC Legal Opinion No. 05-1735) – REPLY (Sept. 23, 2005). N~ requested reconsideration, arguing that the six-hour requirement is for public schools in Oklahoma, not homeschools. If a homeschool is not by definition a public school, you asked if the same six-hour requirement applies to homeschools. If the six-hour requirement does not apply to homeschools and N~’s four-hour instruction is sufficient to meet the state law requirement, you asked whether OGC Legal Opinion No. 05-1735, published to the POMS at PR 08005.040(A), is still valid or should be archived.

ANSWER

We believe that N~’s homeschooling of a maximum of four hours a day, totaling 704 hours for the school year, is insufficient for him to be a full-time student under Oklahoma law, which requires the homeschool program as an “‘other means of education’ to be provided for the full term the [public] schools of the district are in session.” Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 70, § 10-105. Although you did not ask this question, we also believe that the evidence indicates that N~ does not meet the full-time attendance requirements under federal law. See 20 C.F.R. § 404.367(c). We conclude that N~ is not entitled to child’s benefits after age eighteen on the number holder’s account because he does not meet the full-time attendance requirements under state or federal law. In addition, given amendments to Oklahoma’s laws regarding the full term of the school year, OGC Legal Opinion No. 05-1735 should be archived and replaced with this opinion, which clarifies and further explains the Oklahoma compulsory attendance requirements based upon current law. See POMS PR 08005.040(A).

BACKGROUND

As we understand the facts, in November 2012, N~ began receiving child’s benefits on the number holder’s account. When N~ attained age eighteen in April 2016, the agency terminated his child’s benefits. N~ resides in G~, Oklahoma.

On February 7, 2016, N~ completed Form SSA-1372-BK page 2, Student’s Statement Regarding School Attendance, where he represented that he attended homeschool twenty hours per week during the 2015-2016 school year, from September 2015 through July 2016.1 He reported that he expected to graduate in May 2017. N~’s mother, the number holder, signed and dated Form SSA-1372-BK page 3, Certification by School Official, certifying that the information N~ provided was “correct according to the school’s records.” The number holder confirmed that the school’s course of study was at least thirteen weeks in duration and that the school operates on a yearly basis. See POMS RS 00205.275(F) (procedure to document the homeschool decision, which includes a student giving Form SSA-1372-BK to the homeschool parent/teacher for certification).

On March 30, 2016, the number holder described N~’s homeschooling in a letter to the agency, stating that N~’s homeschool days were “four or more hours in length and we have never taken summer break, spring break, fall break, or Christmas breaks.” She explained that the homeschooling was year-round because N~’s ability to get back on task after taking breaks had proven too difficult. On April 13, 2016, the number holder clarified to the agency that N~’s homeschooling consisted of five days per week and a maximum of four hours each day.

Attendance logs provided to the agency for the 2015-2016 school year differ from the above statements regarding N~’s homeschool attendance. An attendance record dated July 25, 2016 and completed by the number holder indicated that during the 2015-2016 school year, N~ took breaks of four consecutive days in September, five consecutive days in early November, a winter break from December 28 through January 1, and a two-week break at the beginning of August. While this attendance log shows that N~ had a total of 242 days of instruction from August 2015 to August 2016, it also shows that there were at least eight weeks of less than twenty hours of instruction. In addition, the attendance log shows that N~’s total number of hours for the 2015-2016 school year was at most 968 hours (242 days of four hours of instruction per day).

As for the 2016-2017 school year, on August 11, 2016, N~ completed a second Form SSA-1372-BK page 2, Student’s Statement Regarding School Attendance, where he represented that he attended homeschool twenty hours per week during the 2016-2017 school year, from August 17, 2016 through May 23, 2017.

However, a July 25, 2016 attendance record, which appears to indicate the number holder’s attendance plan for the 2016-2017 school year, includes at least nine weeks of less than twenty hours of instruction between August 15, 2016, and May 31, 2017, and allows for a winter break in December 2016 and a spring break in March 2017. While this attendance log shows that N~ would have a total of between 175-176 days of instruction from August 2016 to May 2017,2 it also shows at least twelve weeks during which he would have less than twenty hours of instruction. In addition, the attendance log shows that N~’s total number of homeschool hours would be at most 704 (176 days of four hours of instruction per day).

ANALYSIS

Entitlement to Child’s Insurance Benefits After Age 18 for Full-Time Students

Section 202(d)(1)(B) of the Social Security Act (Act) provides for the payment of child’s benefits to certain applicants over the age of eighteen, who are full-time elementary or secondary school students. See 42 U.S.C. § 402(d)(1)(B), (6)(A)(i), (7)(A); 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.350(a)(5), 404.351(a), 404.367. SSA’s POMS refers to these benefits as student benefits. See POMS RS 00205.001. The agency considers a claimant in a homeschool to be a “full-time elementary or secondary school student” if:

(1) the student attends a school that provides elementary or secondary education as determined under the law of the state in which the school is located, which can be a homeschool that complies with state law;

(2) the student is in full-time attendance in a day or evening non-correspondence course of at least thirteen weeks duration and carries a subject load considered full-time for day students under standards and practices set by the state in which the student resides;

(3) the student attends school at least twenty hours per week (subject to exceptions);

(4) the student is not being paid while attending the school by an employer that required or requested that the student attend the school;

(5) the student is in grade 12 or below;

(6) the student is not subject to provisions relevant to nonpayment of benefits to prisoners.

See 20 C.F.R. § 404.367.

The agency’s POMS further explains these regulations with regard to homeschools and states that student benefits are payable to a student in a homeschool program if: (1) the student meets the federal standards for full-time attendance; (2) the law of the state in which the home school is located recognizes home school as an educational institution; (3) the home school the student attends meets the requirements of the state where he resides; and (4) the student meets all other requirements for benefits. POMS RS 00205.275.

Thus, the agency looks to state law, including state law full-time attendance requirements, to determine whether a student’s homeschool renders him eligible for student benefits. See 42 U.S.C. § 402(d)(7)(C)(i); 20 C.F.R. § 404.367(a)(1), (b). Here, Oklahoma law applies. You asked whether N~’s homeschooling complies with Oklahoma’s law, but we also address whether he meets the federal standards for full-time attendance as the evidence indicates that he may not. See 20 C.F.R. § 404.367(a)(1), (b), (c); see also POMS RS 00205.300(A) (a student is in full-time attendance if he meets both state and federal standards for full-time attendance).

Whether N~’s Homeschooling Complies with Oklahoma Law for Full-Time Attendance

We first address whether N~’s homeschool attendance of four hours per day is in accordance with Oklahoma law. Oklahoma law has not changed with regard to homeschooling since we issued an opinion in 2005; however, as we address below, since 2005, Oklahoma law has been amended with regard to the full term school year definition for public schools.3 See POMS PR 08005.040(A).

As indicated in our previous opinion, while Oklahoma law allows for homeschooling, our research has found little in the way of State law requirements or guidance regarding homeschooling in Oklahoma.4 There is no statutory definition of a homeschool and homeschooling in Oklahoma is largely unregulated. However, the Oklahoma Constitution guarantees the right to an education at home: “The legislature shall establish and maintain a system of free public schools wherein all the children of the State may be educated.” Okla Const. art. XIII, § 1 (emphasis added). The constitution also states, “The Legislature shall provide for the compulsory attendance at some public or other school, unless other means of education are provided, of all the children in the State . . . .” Id. § 4 (emphasis added). “It is significant that imperative words, words of mandatory duty, are used in prescribing the state’s duty, but only permissive words are used with respect to attendance at public schools. Education may be furnished without attendance at any school, public or private.” Consol. Sch. Dist. No. 12 v. Union Graded Sch. Dist. No. 3, 94 P.2d 549, 551 (Okla. 1939); see also Sheppard v. State, 306 P.2d 346, 353, 356 (Okla. Crim. App. 1957) (citing Consol. Sch. Dist. No. 12, 94 P.2d at 551) (the requirement to attend public schools is permissive as long as other means of education are provided and such other means of education are adequate). Thus, Oklahoma law allows for home schooling as a means to satisfy the Oklahoma Constitution’s compulsory attendance requirement. See 20 C.F.R. § 404.367(a)(1); POMS RS 00205.275(B) (the law of the state in which the homeschool is located recognizes homeschool as an educational institution, which the POMS RS 00205.200 defines as a school that provides elementary or secondary education). As noted, however, our research has found little in the way of State law requirements or guidance regarding homeschooling.

Oklahoma compulsory attendance law requires that homeschooling be “for the full term the schools of the district are in session.” Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 70, § 10-105. We consider what is meant by this “full term” requirement. The State statute implementing compulsory school attendance prohibits a parent or guardian from neglecting or refusing to compel a child to attend a public, private, or other school “unless other means of education are provided for the full term the schools of the district are in session or the child is excused as provided in this section.” Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 70, § 10-105. The statute defines public schools as “all free schools supported by public taxation . . . .” Id. § 1-106. Because public taxation does not support homeschools, homeschools are not public schools; rather, a homeschool is an “other means of education.”5 See Swanson v. Guthrie Indep. Sch. Dist., No. I-1, 942 F.Supp. 511, 514-515 (W.D. Okla. 1996) (citing Wright v. State, 209 P. 179 (Okla. Crim. App. 1922), aff’d, 135 F.3d 694 (10th Cir. 1998)) (noting that the child’s parents “have a state constitutional right to home school their daughter” and that “the Oklahoma courts have clearly found that home schooling satisfies the ‘other means of education’ requirement,” but also noting that such “other means of education” must be equivalent to public schools). The plain language of the compulsory attendance law expressly requires that homeschools, as other means of education, must be “provided for the full term the [public] schools of the district are in session.” Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 70, § 10-105. Thus, per the plain language of the compulsory attendance statute, we must look to Oklahoma law defining the full term for a public school to determine the full term for a homeschool. See State v. Young, 989 P.2d 949, 955 (Okla. Crim. App. 1999) (“Statutes are to be construed to determine the intent of the Legislature, reconciling provisions, rendering them consistent and giving intelligent effect to each,” and further, “[i]t is also well established that statutes are to be construed according to the plain and ordinary meaning of their language.”). Accordingly, because the plain language of the law requires that homeschools be provided for the full term session as public schools, we now turn to state law defining the full term for public schools.

Oklahoma law provides that a full school year for all public schools in Oklahoma consists of six hours of instruction per day for 180 days, or not less than a total of 1,080 hours each school year (with 30 total hours allowed for each school year for teacher professional meetings). Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 70, §§ 1-109(A), (B) (providing that a school year shall be in session for not less than 180 days, or for not less than 1,080 hours each school year, but allowing for 30 hours each school year for professional development), 1-111(A) (providing that a “school day shall consist of not less than six (6) hours devoted to school activities.”). Thus, the length of the school day may be adjusted as long as the total number of hours is at least 1,080 hours each school year. Id. §§ 1-109(A)(2), 1-111(A); see also id. § 4516 (pertaining to the school calendar and stating that “schools and classes shall be conducted for a total of no less than one hundred eighty (180) days or no less than one thousand eighty (1,080) hours during the academic year.”).

As stated, the compulsory attendance law states that the “other means of education” must be “provided for the full term the schools of the district are in session.” Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 70, § 10-105. The law says that the public schools must be in session either 180 days for six hours per day, or at least 1,080 hours a school year. Thus, we believe a reasonable interpretation of the constitutional and statutory provisions regarding compulsory school attendance for the “full term the schools of the district are in session” is that homeschooling must be conducted for 180 days of six hours of instruction, or for not less than a total of 1,080 hours, as this is the “full term” that the public schools must be in session. See id. § 18-110(B) (“Any school district that does not maintain school for a full term pursuant to Section 1-109 of this title shall have its State Aid reduced . . . unless it has received written approval to maintain school for less than a full term from the State Board of Education.”) (emphasis added).

Oklahoma courts resist interpreting the law as requiring homeschooling to meet the exact requirements of public schools, but indicate that they must be “equivalent.” See Swanson, 942 F.Supp. at 514-515 (citing Wright v. State, 209 P. 179 (Okla. Crim. App. 1922)). For example, in interpreting a prior version of the compulsory attendance statute, the Oklahoma Criminal Court of Appeals concluded that so long as the child’s education was not neglected, under the Constitution and laws of Oklahoma, parents have a right to supervise the education of their children if it is done in “a proficient and fitting manner.” See Wright, 209 P. at 180 (finding erroneous jury instructions that “a school month shall consist of four weeks of five days each, of six hours per day.”). The Wright court emphasized that whether education is supplied in good faith and whether it is equivalent to that afforded by the State are questions of fact. Id. at 180-81. However, the statute Wright interpreted required that “other means of education” be provided for two-thirds of the term of public schools, rather than the full term that the current statute requires. Id. at 179.

In 1973, the Oklahoma Attorney General’s office stated that the test in Oklahoma for determining whether a private school or “home instruction” meets the requirements of the state’s compulsory school attendance statute is that “the instruction must be supplied in good faith and equivalent to that afforded by the State.” See 73 Okla. Op. Att’y Gen. 129 (Okla. A.G. 1973) (citing Wright, 209 P. at 180-81). Neither the Attorney General’s opinion nor Oklahoma case law have defined the term “equivalent” in the context of providing home instruction.

Therefore, we believe it is reasonable to interpret the plain language of the compulsory attendance law requirement that the homeschool be “provided for the full term the [public] schools of the district are in session” and to apply the plain meaning of “equivalent” to conclude that homeschooling must be provided for the same 180 days for six hours per day, or 1,080 total hours for the full term that is required of public schools.6 See Swanson v. Guthrie Indep. Sch. Dist., No. I-1, 135 F.3d 694, 699 (10th Cir. 1998) (noting that “parents simply do not have a constitutional right to control each and every aspect of their children’s education and oust the state’s authority over that subject.”).

Here, N~’s attendance projection for the 2016-2017 school year was for a maximum of four hours a day for 175-176 days. Because the daily hours of instruction were shortened from 6 hours to 4 hours, N~ would need to show 1,080 total hours of instruction to establish that he attended homeschool for the full 2016-2017 term. Having shown a projected attendance of a maximum of four hours a day for 175-176 days, he has indicated no more than 704 hours of instruction and has thus failed to demonstrate that he attended his homeschool for the full term the public schools of the district are required to be in session. Therefore, N~ does not meet the attendance requirements of Oklahoma law.

Whether N~ Meets the Federal Standards for Full-Time Attendance

We also address whether N~ meets the federal standards for full-time attendance. The regulations specify that “[t]o be considered in full-time attendance, your scheduled attendance must be at the rate of at least 20 hours per week.”7 20 C.F.R. § 404.367(c). As detailed in the background section, N~ provided the agency with conflicting evidence on this issue. The attendance logs indicate that N~ does not meet the twenty-hour per week regulatory attendance requirement, despite the number holder’s statements to the agency. See 20 C.F.R. § 404.367(c); POMS RS 00205.300, RS 00205.310. Therefore, we are unable to conclude that N~ meets the federal full-time attendance requirement.

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, based on the specific facts of this case, we find that N~’s homeschooling of four hours of instruction per day, totaling 704 total hours for the 2016-2017 school term, is insufficient to meet the attendance requirements for a full-time student under both agency regulations and State law. This is not to say, however, that four hours per day is inherently insufficient, because there could be a situation where a student would attend homeschool four hours per day, more than twenty hours per week, and still attain the total required hours of 1,080 for the school term. Under the facts presented here, however, N~ has not established that he meets the attendance requirements under state or federal law.8

In light of amendments to Oklahoma law, we recommend replacing our 2005 opinion with this opinion, which clarifies and expands upon our prior opinion by discussing Oklahoma’s full term requirement and the alternative attendance requirement of 1,080 total term hours. See POMS PR 08005.040(A).

Traci B. Davis

Acting Regional Chief Counsel

By: Jamie L. Barnhill

Assistant Regional Counsel

B. PR 05-247 Oklahoma State Law Requirements for Home Schooling (NH David O. H~, SSN ~, Aaron D. H~, Student) (OGC Legal Opinion No. 05-1735) - REPLY

DATE: September 23, 2005

1. SYLLABUS

Oklahoma recognizes home schooling under its public education and compulsory attendance laws. To meet the requirements of the compulsory attendance statutes, the home school instruction must be supplied in good faith and be equal to that provided by the state, but there is no requirement that a home school teacher have a teaching certificate. A school day in Oklahoma consists of not less than six hours of school activities.

The child's parent or guardian must provide:

  • Evidence that the instruction that the child receives in his/her home school program equivalent to the instruction provided by the state; and

  • Documentation that the home school provides instruction for at least six hours per instruction day.

The student must also meet federal standards for full-time attendance and all other requirements for payment of benefits.

2. OPINION

The purpose of this memorandum is to respond to your request for our opinion regarding whether a specific home school would qualify under section 202 (d)(7)(C)(i) of the Social Security Act (the Act) as a school that provides elementary or secondary education as determined under Oklahoma law. See 42 U.S.C. § 402 (d)(7)(C)(i). Specifically, you asked whether Aaron D. H~, who is being home schooled by his mother, qualifies as a full-time student of an elementary or secondary school and, therefore, is entitled to receive benefits on the record of David O. H~. After reviewing the facts and relevant law, we do not have sufficient information to determine whether or not Aaron's home school qualifies as an educational institution under State law and, thus, whether Aaron's home school student status entitles him to benefits on Mr. H~ record.

According to your request, Aaron attained the age of eighteen in February 2005. He applied for Social Security auxiliary benefits on Mr. H~ record in April 2005, contending that he was still in school. The claim was processed in May 2005, but benefit payments have been delayed until a determination is made regarding whether Aaron's home school meets the educational institution requirements. Aaron submitted Form SSA-1372, Student's Statement Regarding School Attendance, on which he stated that he has been home schooled by his mother, Ms. Lori H~, since September 3, 2003, with the school term at issue commencing on August 30, 2004. The SSA-1372 also indicates that Aaron attends the home school full-time 30 hours per week with an expected graduation date of May 2005. The form is signed by Aaron and his mother. No school official has certified the form.

Additional materials you have submitted include an informational printout from the Oklahoma State Department of Education's website entitled "State Superintendent Sandy G~ Welcomes Homeschoolers." See http://www.sde.state.ok.us/pro/homesch.html. This website provides general information and resource links regarding home schooling in Oklahoma. One resource link from the website includes the requirements for high school graduation in Oklahoma. See "Earning Skills for Success, Oklahoma Requirements for High School Graduation" dated July 4, 2004, from the Oklahoma Department of Education (attached). This informational document references the State law requirements for graduation in Oklahoma. Id. There is also another printout from the Home Educators Resource Organization (HERO) of Oklahoma regarding the status of State law on home schooling. This self-described private not-for-profit organization operates a separate informational website for home schooling. See http://oklahomahomeschooling.org.

In an effort to further develop the facts, Mr. Johnie D~, an SSA employee, contacted Ms. H~ on May 11 and May 16, 2005. See computer query entitled "Report of Contact" dated May 11, 2005, and form SSA-5002, Report of Contact, dated May 17, 2005. Mr. D~ contacted Ms. H~ in order to obtain background information as to Aaron's home schooling. According to Ms. H~, Oklahoma State law does not require attendance records or progress testing for home schooled children. Id. Additionally, there is no requirement for home school instructors to register with the State. Id. Ms. H~ stated that she follows the State's school term with the latest being from August 30, 2004, to May 31, 2005. Finally, Ms. H~ stated that she offers instruction to Aaron 30 hours per week, or six hours per day for 180 days. Id.

As you know, the child of a wage earner may receive benefits after age eighteen if he is a full-time elementary or secondary school student. 20 C.F.R. § 404.350(a)(5). A student receiving home school instruction in accordance with the law of the state in which he resides is considered a full-time elementary or secondary school student. 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.367(a)(1), (c). As Aaron resides in Oklahoma, Oklahoma State law applies. Id.

Our research has found little in the way of State guidance regarding home schooling in Oklahoma. There is no comprehensive definition as to what constitutes a home school under State law. Our research indicates that the legal basis for home schooling in Oklahoma derives from the State's public education and compulsory attendance laws. The Oklahoma State constitution provides that, "[t]he Legislature shall establish and maintain a system of free public schools wherein all the children of the State may be educated." Okla. Const. art XIII, § 1 (emphasis ours). However, the Oklahoma constitution goes on to state that, "[t]he Legislature shall provide for the compulsory attendance at some public or other school, unless other means of education are provided, of all the children in the State who are sound in mind and body, between the ages of eight and sixteen years, for at least three months in each year." Okla. Const. art. XIII, § 4 (emphasis ours). In interpreting the aforementioned State constitutional sections, the Oklahoma Supreme Court stated that, "[i]t is beyond the power of the legislative agencies of this State, under our constitution, to require a parent to send his child to the public schools if he affords him reasonable educational facilities at a sectarian, denominational, or private school." Oklahoma RY. Co. v. St. Joseph's Parochial School, 127 P. 1087, 1088 (Okla. 1912). The Court did not define what they meant by the term "private school." Id.

The statutory section implementing compulsory school attendance provides that, "[i]t shall be unlawful for a parent, guardian, or other person having custody of a child who is over the age of five (5) years, and under the age of eighteen (18) years, to neglect or refuse to cause or compel such child to attend and comply with the rules of some public, private or other school, unless other means of education are provided for the full term the schools of the district are in session or the child is excused as provided in this section." Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 70, § 10-105 (2005).

In interpreting a prior, but similar, version of the State's compulsory school attendance statute, the Oklahoma Criminal Court of Appeals concluded that so long as the child's education was not neglected, under the Constitution and laws of Oklahoma, parents have a right to supervise the education of their children if it is done in "a proficient and fitting manner." See Wright v. State, 209 P. 179, 180 (Okla. Crim. App. 1922)(reversing a criminal conviction under the State's compulsory attendance statute for defendant parents who home schooled their children, one of whom was a former teacher). Additionally, the Court in Wright emphasized that whether such "independent facilities for education," apart from the public schools, are supplied in good faith and equivalent to those afforded by the State, are questions of fact for the jury and not questions of law for the court. Id. at 181. Building upon these prior cases, the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals also concluded that while the State has a mandatory duty to provide for public education, the requirement to attend public schools is permissive if other means of education are provided. See Sheppard v. State of Oklahoma, 306 P.2d 346, 353 (Okla. Crim. App. 1957)(court reversing and dismissing criminal prosecution against parent who home schooled her children for violation of State compulsory attendance statute even though parent's qualifications to teach were never clearly defined).

In 1973, the Oklahoma Attorney General's office stated that the test in Oklahoma for determining whether a private school or "home instruction" meets the requirements of the State's compulsory school attendance statute is that, ". . . the instruction must be supplied in good faith and equivalent to that afforded by the State." See 73 Op. Att'y Gen. 129 (1973)(citing to Wright v. State, 209 P. at 180-81). Additionally, the Oklahoma Attorney General's Office concluded that there is no requirement that a private teacher or tutor hold a teaching certificate. Id.

Neither the Attorney General's opinion nor Oklahoma case law have defined the term "equivalent" in the context of providing home instruction. However, the term equivalent has been defined to mean (1) equal in value, force, amount, effect, or significance or (2) corresponding in effect or function; nearly equal; virtually identical. See Black's Law Dictionary at 561 (7th ed. 1999). New Jersey, which has a similar compulsory education law, requires a showing of academic equivalence. See State of New Jersey v. Massa, 231 A.2d 252, 257 (N.J. Co., June 1, 1967).

Based upon the evidence submitted, statutes, case law, and the 1973 Attorney General's opinion concluding that home instruction must be supplied in good faith and be "equivalent" to that afforded by the State, our Office cannot determine whether Aaron has been attending a home school in accordance with Oklahoma law. In order to evaluate whether Aaron's home school instruction has been supplied in good faith and is academically equivalent to that of the public schools, we need to know the curriculum he has been taught over the 2004-05 school term./ As a practical guide, we are referring to the previously mentioned Oklahoma State Department of Education's "Earning Skills for Success, Oklahoma Requirements for High School Graduation" dated July 2004. This publication accurately described the State law requirements for graduation that existed for the 2004-05 school term. See Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 70, § 11-103.6. We note that the "Report of Contact" computer query dated May 11, 2005, from Mr. D~ indicated that Ms. H~ was going to submit a copy of her teaching curriculum.

Additionally, while Ms. H~ did not maintain time and attendance records regarding Aaron's home schooling, State law contemplates that if a child receives "other means of education," it must be provided for the full term the schools of the district are in session. Okla. Stat. tit. 70, § 10-105. Consequently, the Social Security Administration would need a statement from Ms. H~, as opposed to a report of contact query, documenting that she taught Aaron for six hours per day for at least 175 days. See Okla. Stat. tit. 70, § 1-109 (2005)(a school year for all public schools in Oklahoma shall consist of at least 180 days of instruction reduced up to 5 days for teacher professional development); see also Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 70, § 1-111 (2005)(a school day shall consist of not less than 6 hours of school activities). Finally, form SSA-1372, Student's Statement Regarding School Attendance, requires that the form be certified by a school official. We suggest that the form be properly completed in accordance with its own instructions.

The information you have provided does not establish that Aaron has been home schooled in accordance with State law and procedures. Accordingly, we cannot conclude that Aaron qualifies as a full-time student according to Oklahoma State law.

Tina M. W~
Regional Chief Counsel
By: Thomas C. S~
Assistant Regional Counsel


Footnotes:

[1]

. N~ left the month field of this form blank when entering the date that the school year ended. In a second form dated August 11, 2016, for the 2016-2017 school year, N~ stated that he had previously attended his homeschool from August 3, 2015, to July 22, 2016.

[2]

. Although the numbers in the margin of the attendance log total 175, the check marks in the calendar indicate attendance of 176 days. Therefore, N’s attorney appears to calculate that N~ attended 175 homeschool hours but the data appears to show 176 hours.

[3]

. See Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 70, § 1-109, as amended by Okla. Laws 2006, ch. 250 (H.B. 2367), § 1, effective July 1, 2006 and Okla. Laws 2009, ch. 103 (H.B. 1864), § 1, effective April 24, 2009; Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 70, § 1-111, as amended by Okla. Laws 2009, ch. 103, § 2, effective April 24, 2009.

[4]

. The Oklahoma State Department of Education’s website provides a “Home School Page,” and provides a list of “resources available to parents educating their children at home,” but no mandatory requirements. See http://sde.ok.gov/sde/home-school (last visited Jan. 27, 2017).

[5]

. For exampl