BASIC (12-06)

PS 08005.011 Florida

A. PS 06-047 Home Schooling Requirements, Florida - Claimant - Elizabeth S~ Wage Earner - Chester B., S~

DATE: January 13, 2006

1. SYLLABUS

The State of Florida recognizes home schooling as a “home education program.” There is no requirement that the parent hold a valid Florida teaching certificate. A home education program does not have to meet the state's requirements of a school day.

Florida law requires the home education program to meet the following requirements:

* The parent must submit a written notice to the district school superintendent of the county in which the parent resides of his/her intent to provide a home education program. The notice must include names, addresses, and birth dates of the children who will be enrolled in the program, and the parent must sign the notice.

* The parent must keep a portfolio with a record of educational activities that coincide with the instruction and a list of reading materials used. The portfolio must also contain samples of writings, worksheets, workbooks, or creative materials used or developed by the student. There is no requirement that the superintendent inspect the portfolio.

* The parent must provide for an annual educational evaluation that demonstrates the student's educational progress at a level consistent with his/her ability. The parent must file a copy of the evaluation each year with the district school superintendent's office in the county in which the student resides. The parent must choose one of the following annual educational evaluation methods:

* A teacher, chosen by the parent, who holds a valid regular Florida certificate to teach academic subjects at the elementary or secondary level evaluates the student's educational progress after reviewing the portfolio and talking to the student;

* The student takes a national standard student achievement test administered by a certified teacher;

* The student takes a state student assessment test used by the school district and administered by a certified teacher, with the location and testing conditions approved by the school district;

* An individual who holds a valid, active license as a psychologist or school psychologist evaluates the student; or

* The student is evaluated with any valid measurement tool agreed to by the district school superintendent of the district in which the student resides and the student's parent.

The district school superintendent will notify the parent in writing if the student demonstrates that he/she has not made educational progress consistent with his/her ability. The parent will have one year from the date he/she receives this written notification to provide remedial instruction to the student. At the end of the year, the student will be reevaluated, and continuation in a home education program is contingent on the student's demonstration of educational progress consistent with his/her ability.

Ask the parent to submit evidence that state requirements are met.

2. OPINION

In considering this claim for Child's benefits, you asked whether the home school the child attends meets the requirements of Florida law. Having considered the evidence presented by your office and the applicable federal and state law, it is our opinion that the home school the child attends seems to meet the requirements of the Florida home school law

FACTS

The claimant, Elizabeth S~ (Claimant), turned 18 on September 21, 2005. Claimant is currently home schooled by her mother, Diane S~. On July 6, 2005, Claimant's mother submitted a letter from Pascoe Palace Productions indicating that Claimant achieved test results on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills commensurate with her ability for grade 11. On August 17, 2005, the state of Florida certified the mother's request to home school Claimant for the 2004-2005 school year and acknowledged the mother's request to home school Claimant for the 2005-2006 school year.

Statutory Authority

The statutory requirements for a home education program in the state of Florida are as follows:

1002.41 Home Education Program

(1) A “home education program” is defined in § 1002.01. The parent is not required to hold a valid regular Florida teaching certificate.

(a) The parent shall notify the district school superintendent of the county in which the parent resides of her or his intent to establish and maintain a home education program. The notice shall be in writing, signed by the parent, and shall include the names, addresses, and birth dates of all children who shall be enrolled as students in the home education program. The notice shall be filed in the district school superintendent's office within 30 days of the establishment of the home education program. A written notice of termination of the home education program shall be filed in the district school superintendent's office within 30 days after said termination.

(b) The parent shall maintain a portfolio of records and materials. The portfolio shall consist of the following:

1. A log of educational activities that is made contemporaneously with the instruction and that designates by title any reading materials used.

2. Samples of any writings, worksheets, workbooks, or creative materials used or developed by the student. The portfolio shall be preserved by the parent for 2 years and shall be made available for inspection by the district school superintendent, or the district school superintendent's agent, upon 15 days' written notice. Nothing in this section shall require the district school superintendent to inspect the portfolio.

(c) The parent shall provide for an annual educational evaluation in which is documented the student's demonstration of educational progress at a level commensurate with her or his ability. The parent shall select the method of evaluation and shall file a copy of the evaluation annually with the district school superintendent's office in the county in which the student resides. The annual educational evaluation shall consist of one of the following:

1. A teacher selected by the parent shall evaluate the student's educational progress upon review of the portfolio and discussion with the student. Such teacher shall hold a valid regular Florida certificate to teach academic subjects at the elementary or secondary level;

2. The student shall take any nationally normed student achievement test administered by a certified teacher;

3. The student shall take a state student assessment test used by the school district and administered by a certified teacher, at a location and under testing conditions approved by the school district;

4. The student shall be evaluated by an individual holding a valid, active license pursuant to the provisions of s. 490.003(7) or (8); or

5. The student shall be evaluated with any other valid measurement tool as mutually agreed upon by the district school superintendent of the district in which the student resides and the student's parent.

(2) The district school superintendent shall review and accept the results of the annual educational evaluation of the student in a home education program. If the student does not demonstrate educational progress at a level commensurate with her or his ability, the district school superintendent shall notify the parent, in writing, that such progress has not been achieved. The parent shall have 1 year from the date of receipt of the written notification to provide remedial instruction to the student. At the end of the 1-year probationary period, the student shall be reevaluated as specified in paragraph (1)(c). Continuation in a home education program shall be contingent upon the student demonstrating educational progress commensurate with her or his ability at the end of the probationary period.

(3) A home education program shall be excluded from meeting the requirements of a school day.

(9) Home education program students may receive testing and evaluation services at diagnostic and resource centers, in accordance with the provisions of § 1006.03(3). FLA. STAT. ANN. § 1002.41 (2005).

ANALYSIS

Social Security regulation 20 C.F.R. § 404.367(a)(1)(2005) provides that claimant is a full time elementary or secondary school student if the Claimant is “instructed in elementary or secondary school at home in accordance with a home school law of the State or other jurisdiction in which [the Claimant] reside[s].” The home school law for the State of Florida is set out above. According to the information supplied by your office, Claimant appears to comply with § 1002.41 because the mother notified the school district in writing that she intended to home school Claimant. FLA. STAT. ANN. § 1002.41(a)(1). Section 1002.41(c) requires that the parent provide for an annual educational evaluation pursuant to one of five different criteria. FLA. STAT. ANN. § 1002.41(c). On July 6, 2005, Claimant's mother submitted a letter from Pascoe Palace Productions indicating that Claimant achieved sufficient test results on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills to satisfy the state testing and evaluation requirement. FLA. STAT. ANN. § 1002.41(c)(3).

The statute also requires that the parent maintain “a portfolio of records and materials” related to their home school program. FLA. STAT. ANN. § 1002.41(b). The statue requires that “[t]he portfolio shall be preserved by the parent for 2 years and shall be made available for inspection by the district school superintendent, or the district school superintendent's agent, upon 15 days' written notice. Nothing in this section shall require the district school superintendent to inspect the portfolio.” FLA. STAT. ANN. § 1002.41(b)(2). The request to inspect the student portfolio is at the discretion of the superintendent, but the inspection of the portfolio is not required for certification. Overall, it appears that Claimant's home school meets the requirements for a home school in the state of Florida based on the evidence presented.

Sincerely,
Mary Ann S~
Regional Chief Counsel
J. Samuel C~
Assistant Regional Counsel


To Link to this section - Use this URL:
http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/1608005011
PS 08005.011 - Florida - 12/15/2006
Batch run: 05/28/2009
Rev:05/28/2009