TN 2 (01-07)

PS 08005.024 Massachusetts

A. PS 07-053 Home School Requirements in the States in the Boston Region

DATE: Jan 17, 2007

1. SYLLABUS

Massachusetts does not have a statute specifically about home schooling, but it provides by statute that attendance in a public school is not required if a child is otherwise taught in a way approved in advance by the superintendent or school committee. The following subjects are required: spelling, reading, writing, English language and grammar, geography, arithmetic, drawing, music, the history and constitution of the United States, the duties of citizenship, health education, physical education, and good behavior.

Standards and requirements for home schools can vary among school districts in the state. Before removing a child from a public school, the parent must obtain in advance approval to home school from the local school committee. In addition to that requirement, a particular school committee may examine the competency of the parent to teach the child but may not require certification or an advanced degree; the school committee must have access to the textbooks and lesson plans; it may consider the length of the home school year and the hours of instruction in each subject; and it may require periodic standardized testing to ensure educational progress.

Ask the parent to submit evidence from the local school committee of compliance with the school district's requirements.

2. OPINION

In response to your request for a survey of state laws regarding the requirements for home schooling in the states in the Boston Region, we provide below a summary of the applicable laws for each New England state. If you have any questions about how these laws would apply to the facts of any specific claim for child's benefits, please let us know.

Attendance at school is required for persons age 6 by December 31 of the school year to 16.

Massachusetts does not have a specific statute addressing home schooling. However, bystatute public school attendance is not required of a child who is being "otherwise instructed in a manner approved in advance by the superintendent or the school committee." Required subjects are "orthography, reading, writing, the English language and grammar, geography, arithmetic, drawing, music, the history and constitution of the United States, the duties of citizenship, health education, physical education and good behavior." Public schools must be operated for a minimum of 180 days. However, there is no set guideline for the number of days of instruction required for home school students.

As a result of the decision of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts (SJC) in Care and Protection of Charles, 399 Mass. 324 (1987), which held that the right of parents to educate their children at home must be reconciled with the state's interest in the education of its citizens, the standards and rules governing home schools can vary from school district to school district within the state. The SJC ruled that approval to home school must be obtained from the local school committee in advance, prior to removal of the child from the public school. Beyond that requirement, a particular school committee may examine the competency of the parent to teach the child, but may not require certification or an advanced degree; the school committee must have access to the textbooks and lesson plans to be used; it may consider the length of the home school year and the hours of instruction in each subject; and it may require periodic standardized testing to ensure educational progress.

See Mass. Gen. Laws. Ann. ch. 71, §1, ch. 76, §1; 603 CMR §§ 8.02, 27.03, 27.04;Care and Protection of Charles, 399 Mass. 324 (1987)


To Link to this section - Use this URL:
http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/1608005024
PS 08005.024 - Massachusetts - 02/05/2007
Batch run: 01/27/2009
Rev:02/05/2007