You have requested information regarding the educational institution (EI) requirements
for each state in the Chicago region. Section 202(d)(7)(c)(i) of the Social Security
Act defines an elementary or secondary school as a school which provides elementary
or secondary education, respectively, as determined under the law of the state in
which it is located. This definition also appears in 20 C.F.R. § 404.367 which addresses
the federal full-time attendance requirement for student benefits. 20 C.F.R. § 404.367(a)(1)
provides that a student is instructed in an elementary or secondary education at home
if such education is provided in accordance with the home school laws of the state
in which the student resides. The Program Operations Manual System (POMS) provides
that a home schooled child is eligible for student benefits if the student meets the
federal standards for full-time attendance , the law of the state in which the home school is located recognizes a home school
as an EI, and the home school attended by the student meets the requirements of the
state laws in which the home school is located. POMS RS 00205.275(B). A home school instructor must submit evidence that the school meets the state
requirements for home schools. POMS RS 00205.275(C). The following is a survey of the state law requirements for EIs and home schools
in each of the states in the Chicago region.
Illinois law requires whoever has custody or control of a child between the ages of
7 and 16 years to see that the child attends a public school in the district where
the child resides. 105 ILCS § 5/26-1 (2000). A child attending a private or parochial school is exempted from this requirement,
as long as the education includes instruction in the branches of education taught
to children of corresponding age and grade in the public schools and the education
is being given in the English language. 105 ILCS 5/26-1(1). “Private school” has been interpreted by the courts to include home schools “where the teacher is competent, the required subjects are taught, and the child
receives and education at least equivalent to public schooling.” People v. Harrell, 34 Ill. App. 2d 205, 208, 180 N.E.2d 889, 890 (1962), citing People v. Levisen, 404 Ill. 574, 90 N.E.2d 213 (1950). Parents and guardians who choose the home school
option have the burden of showing that they have, in good faith, provided adequate
instruction in the required branches of learning. Levisen, 34 Ill. at 578, 18 N.E.2d at 215-16.
An Attorney General's opinion regarding the right of parents to instruct their disabled
child in the home issued in 1991, confirms the holdings in both Harrell and Levisen, and further cites People v. Berger, 109 Ill. App. 3d 1054 (1982) (upholding parents' conviction under 105 ILCS 5/26-10
because they took daughter out of school for alleged sickness but failed to provide
instruction at home or a valid medical excuse), to support the proposal that “there must be an organized, coherent plan for educating the child in a home school
using appropriate materials and teaching methods, in order to satisfy section 26-1
of the School Code.” 1991 Ill. AG LEXIS 45, 1991 Op. Atty Gen. Ill. 92.
An education “equivalent to public schooling” must include instruction in the branches of education taught in the public schools.
105 ICLS 5/26-1(1); see Levisen, 404 Ill. at 578, 90 N.E.2d at 215. Courses requisite for a high school diploma are:
(1) three years of language arts; (2) two years of mathematics, one of which may be
related to computer technology; (3) one year of science; (4) two years of social studies,
at least one of which must be history of the United States or a combination of U.S.
history and American government; and (5) one year chosen from music, art, foreign
language (which includes American Sign Language) or vocational education. 105 ICLS
§ 5/27-22. Additionally, Illinois requires five hours of school work per day (105 ILCS § 5/18-8.05(F)(1))
in a school year which includes at least 176 days of actual student attendance for
a total of 880 hours per year. 105 ILCS §§ 5/10-19 and 5/18-8.05(F)(1). A parent or
guardian home schooling his or her child should be prepared to present information
regarding the courses to be taught with a specific emphasis on the branches of learning
taught in the public schools, the length of time instruction is offered, including
days per year and hours per day, the competency of the teacher and a basis upon which
the child's performance will be compared to public school children of corresponding
age and grade level. See Levisen, 404 Ill. at 577, 90 N.E.2d at 215; Harrel, 34 Ill. at 208, 180 N.E.2d at 890-91.
Indiana law states that it is unlawful for a parent to fail, neglect or refuse to
send a child to public school for the full term “unless the child is being provided with instruction equivalent to that given in
the public schools.” Ind. Code § 20-8.1-3-34. Home schools may satisfy the requirements of this statute.
Ind. Code § 20-8.1-3-17(h)(2); Mazanec v. North Judson-San Pierre School Corp., 614 F.Supp. 1152, 1159 (N.D. Ind. 1983), affirmed 798 F.2d 230 (7th Cir. 1986).
Generally, a child is subject to the compulsory attendance law from the earlier of
the date the child officially enrolls in a school or the beginning of the fall term
for the school year in which the child will turn 7 years of age, until the child graduates,
reaches the age of 16 but less than 18, and meets the withdrawal requirements of Ind.
Code § 20-8.1-3-17(j), or reaches the age of 18. Ind. Code § 20-8.1-3-17(b). However,
a child whose parent or guardian intends to enroll the child in a nonaccredited, nonpublic
school or to provide the child with instruction equivalent to that given in a public
school, is not subject to the compulsory attendance law until the child reaches the
age of 7. Ind. Code § 20-8.1-3-17(h). The parent or guardian of a such a child must
certify to the superintendent of the relevant school corporation of their intention.
In order for a student to satisfy the compulsory attendance law at a nonpublic school,
the student must attend school each year for the number of days the public schools
are in session in the school corporation (district) in which the student is enrolled
in Indiana, or, if the student is enrolled in a school outside of Indiana, for the
number of days the public schools are in session where the student is enrolled. Ind.
Code § 20-8.1-3-17(d). Indiana law requires public school students to receive five
hours a day of instruction for grades one through six and six hours per day for grades
seven through twelve. Ind. Code § 20-10.1-2-1(b). A school year is to include at least
180 days of instruction. Ind. Code § 20-10.1-2-1(c). Instruction must be given in
English. Ind. Code § 20-8.1-3-17(a). Instruction must be given in the following subjects:
(1) language arts, including English, grammar, composition, speech and second language;
(2) mathematics; (3) social studies and citizenship, including the histories, constitutions
and governmental systems of Indiana and the United States; (4) sciences; (5) fine
arts, including art and music; (6) health education, physical fitness, safety and
the effects of alcohol, tobacco, drugs and other substances on the human body; and
(7) any additional studies selected by each governing body subject to revision by
the state Board of Education. Ind. Code § 20-10.1-4-5. However, the state exempts
from the curriculum requirements set forth in Indiana Code chapters 20 and 21, schools
which are nonpublic, nonaccredited and not otherwise approved by the Indiana state
board of education. Ind. Code § 20-8.1-3-17.3.
Case law indicates that parents and guardians opting for a home school exemption to
compulsory attendance have the burden of showing that the home program provides an
education equivalent to that offered in the public schools. See Mazanec, 614 F.Supp. at 1159-60. Indiana does not have any codified law regarding the qualifications
of the home school instructors.
In Michigan, every parent, guardian or person having control and charge of a child
from the age of six to the child's sixteenth birthday must send the child to a public
school for the entirety of the school year. Mich. Stat. § 380.1561(1). A child is
exempt from the compulsory attendance law if the child is regularly attending and
being taught in a state-approved, nonpublic school which teaches subjects comparable
to those taught to children of corresponding age and grade level in the public schools
of the district in which the nonpublic school is located. Mich. Stat. § 380.1561(3)(a).
The Michigan Department of Education (MDOE) has interpreted “comparable” curricula as instruction in mathematics, reading, English, science, social studies
at all grade levels, and the Constitutions of the United States and Michigan, the
history and present form of civil government of the nation and the state, and the
political subdivisions and municipalities of the state in high school. http://www.mde.state.mi.us - Parents, Home Schools, “Information on Nonpublic and Home Schools,” p.4. A child is also exempt from the compulsory attendance law if the child is taught
at home by a parent or legal guardian in an organized educational program in the subject
areas of reading, spelling, mathematics, science, history, civics, literature, writing
and English grammar. Mich. Stat. § 380.1561(3)(f). A child being educated at home
may be exempted from compulsory attendance under either subsection (a) or subsection
(f) of the state's compulsory education law. Mich. Stat. § 380.1561(4).
Under subsection (3)(a), a home school may be considered a nonpublic school if it
is in compliance with the Private, Denominational and Parochial Schools Act. Mich.
Stat. § 388.551 et seq. In order to be in compliance with the Act, qualifying nonpublic
school teachers must (1) obtain a Michigan teaching certificate (Mich. Stat. § 388.553),
(2) obtain a substitute, full-year or emergency teaching permit, or (3) obtain a bachelor's
degree. When a nonpublic school claims to object to the certification requirement
on the grounds of sincerely held religious beliefs, however, the minimum education
requirements for teachers are waived. People v. DeJonge, 442 Mich. 266, 268, 501 N.W.2d 127, 129 (1993). The state of Michigan, however,
may still require teacher certification for home instruction pursuant to subsection
(3)(a), which is not based on religious convictions. People v. Bennett, 442 Mich. 316, 327-28, 501 N.W.2d 106, 111-12 (1993); Mich. Stat. § 388.553. Additionally,
although nonpublic schools must provide a basic curriculum, including courses in reading,
mathematics and writing, the instruction is not required to be identical to that of
a public school. Snyder v. Charlotte Public School Dist., 421 Mich. 517, 540, 365 N.W.2d 151, 162 (1984). In Clonlara, Inc. v. State Board of Education, 442 Mich. 230, 242, 501 N.W.2d 88, 94 (1993), the Michigan Supreme Court found that
the Nonpublic School Act did not require such a school to be in session for the 180
days required of public schools, as required by Mich. Adm. Code § R 340.10(4).
If a child is exempted from the compulsory education law under the home school provision,
subsection (3)(f), the following conditions apply as listed on the MDOE website: (1)
the home school is not a nonpublic school; (2) the Michigan Department of Education
has no role with the home school family; (3) the home school does not report to the
Department of Education; (4) the intermediate and local school district is responsible
for interpreting and enforcing the compulsory attendance law; (5) there are no minimum qualifications for teachers except that they must be the parents
or legal guardians of the children; (6) the home school family must provide an organized educational program in the subject
areas of reading, spelling, mathematics, science, history, civics, literature, writing
and English grammar. http://www.mde.state.mi.us - Parents, Home Schools, “Information on Nonpublic and Home Schools”, Attachment B1.
In Minnesota, the parent of a child is primarily responsible for insuring that the
child acquires knowledge and skills essential for effective citizenship. Minn. Stat.
§ 120A.22, Subd. 1. A parent is a parent, guardian or other person having legal custody
of a child. Minn. Stat. § 120A.22, Subd. 3. All children between the ages of seven
and 16 must receive instruction. Minn. Stat. § 120A.22, Subd. 5. For the purposes
of the compulsory attendance law, a school is a public school or a nonpublic school,
church or religious organization, or a home school where the child is instructed according
to the dictates of Minn. Stat. §§ 120A.22 and 120A.24. Instruction must be given in
at least the following subject areas: (1) basic communication skills including reading,
writing, literature and fine arts; (2) mathematics and science; (3) social studies
including history, geography and government; and (4) health and physical education.
Minn. Stat. § 120A.22, Subd. 9. Instruction and materials must be in the English language.
A home school instructor must meet at least one of the following requirements: (1)
hold a valid Minnesota teaching license in the field and the grade level taught; (2)
be directly supervised by someone with a valid Minnesota teaching license; (3) successfully
complete a teacher competency exam; (4) provide instruction in a school that is accredited
by an agency recognized according to the dictates of Minn. Stat. § 123B.445, or recognized
by the commissioner; (5) hold a bachelor's degree; or (6) be the parent of a child
annually assessed for performance under the dictates of Minn. Stat. § 120A.22, Subd.
11. Minn. Stat. § 120A.22, Subd. 10. Subdivision 11 provides that each year every
child not enrolled in a public school must be performance tested against a nationally
norm-referenced standardized achievement test. The district superintendent and the
person in charge of the child's instruction must agree on the specific test to be
used as well as the administration and location of the test. If the test does not
assess all subject areas enumerated in Minn. Stat. § 120A.22, Subd. 9, the parent
must assess the child's performance in the applicable subject area(s); this requirement
applies only to parents who do not meet the requirements of subdivision 10, clauses
1-3. Minn. Stat. § 120A.22, Subd. 11, clause (b). If the above mentioned tests indicate
that the child's performance on the total battery score is at or below the 30th percentile
or one grade level below the child's age, the parent is required to obtain additional
evaluation of the child's abilities and performance in order to assess whether the
child has learning problems. Minn. Stat. § 120A.22, Subd. 11(c).
Minnesota statute § 120A.24 requires the person in charge of providing instruction
to a child to submit the following information to the superintendent of the district
in which the child resides: (1) the name, birth date and address of each child receiving
instruction by October 1 of each school year; (2) the name of each instructor and
evidence of compliance with one of the requirements specified in Minn. Stat. § 120A.22,
Subd 10; (3) a yearly instruction calendar; and (4) for each child instructed by a
parent who only meets the requirement of Minn. Stat. § 120A.22, Subd. 10, clause (6),
a quarterly report card on the achievement of the child in each subject area specified
in Minn. Stat. § 120A.22, Subd. 9. The person in charge of instructing the child must
make available documentation indicating that the subjects required in Minn. Stat.
§ 120A.22, Subd. 9 are being taught, including class schedules, copies of materials
used for instruction and descriptions of the methods used in assessing performance.
Minn. Stat. § 120A.24, Subd. 2. A nonpublic school, person or other institution which
is accredited by an agency recognized according to Minn. Stat. § 123B.445, or the
commissioner, is exempt from the above listed requirements of Minn. Stat. § 120A.24,
except for reporting the name, birth date and address of the student to the superintendent.
Minn. Stat. § 120A.24.
Ohio requires the parent, guardian or other person having charge or care of the child
of compulsory school age to send the child to school or a special education program
that conforms to the minimum standards prescribed by the state board of education
for the full time of the session, which cannot be less than 32 weeks per school year.
ORC § 3321.04. A child of compulsory school age is between the ages of 6 and 18, or
a child under the age of 6 who has been enrolled in kindergarten, unless the child
has been withdrawn from kindergarten after consultation with the child's teacher and
principal. ORC § 3321.01(A).
A child may be excused from future attendance at or past absence from a school or
special education program if the child is being instructed at home subject to certain
conditions and the approval of the superintendent of the city or exempted village
school district or the educational service center in which the child resides. ORC
§ 3321.04(A) and 3321.04(A)(2). Home instruction must be by a person qualified to
teach in the branches of required instruction and any additional branches the needs
of the child may warrant as determined by the superintendent. ORC § 3321.04(A)(2).
In home school situations, the superintendent approving the excuse must file in his
or her office, a copy of the excuse along with papers showing how the qualifications
of the person providing the home instruction were determined. ORC § 3321.04(A)(2).
The home school excuse becomes void upon the cessation of proper home instruction. Id.
Additionally, the parent or guardian of a home schooled child must supply certain
information to the superintendent. OAC § 3301-34-03(A).
The parent must supply:
the school year in which the notification (of intent to home educate) is made;
the name and address of the parent;
the name and address of the person(s) who will be teaching the child the subjects
to be listed below;
full name and birth date of the child to be home educated;
assurance that the home education will include the following, excepting any concept,
topic or practice that conflicts with the sincerely held religious beliefs of the
parent: language, reading, spelling and writing; geography, history of the United
States and Ohio, and national, state and local government; mathematics; science; health;
physical education; fine arts, including music; and first aid, safety and fire protection;
a brief outline of the intended curriculum for the current year;
a list of textbooks, correspondence courses, commercial curricula and other basic
materials the parent intends to utilize in the home education;
assurance that the child will be given at least 900 hours of home education each school
assurance that the home teacher has one of the following qualifications: a high school
diploma or the certificate of high school equivalence or standardized test scores
demonstrating high school equivalence or other equivalent credentials found appropriate
by the superintendent, or, lacking any of these, the home teacher must work under
the direction of a person with an undergraduate degree from a recognized college until
the child's test results demonstrate reasonable proficiency or until the home teacher
obtains a high school diploma or certificate of equivalence;
a signed affirmation that the information supplied is correct.
Courts have upheld the requirement that a parent wishing to home school his or her
child must apply to the superintendent for approval of the program. See State v. Schmidt, 29 Ohio St.3d 32, 505 N.E.2d 627 (1987). Additionally, it has been judicially determined
that it is not sufficient that a parent maintain that the home education being provided
is equivalent to that being provided in the public schools, if the parent applied
to but did not obtain the approval of the superintendent and failed to appeal the
denial to Juvenile Court. See Akron v. Lane, 65 Ohio App. 2d 90, 416 N.E.2d 642 (1979). On the other hand, superintendent approval
is conclusive evidence of a home school's compliance with the minimum education requirements
of Ohio. Memorandum from Regional Chief Counsel, Chicago, to Ass't Reg. Comm.-MOS,
Chicago, Requirements For Home Schooling In Ohio To Be A School Under Section 202(d)(7) Of
The Social Security Act, at 3 (March 1, 1991).
In Wisconsin, the compulsory school attendance law generally requires the person having
control of a child between the ages of 6 and 18 to attend either a public or private
school “regularly” during the full period and hours, excepting religious holidays, that the school in
which the child should be enrolled is in session, until the term in which the child
turns 18. Wis. Stat. § 118.15(1)(a) (1999). A child engaged in a home-based program
which meets all of the criteria under Wis. Stat. § 118.165(1), may substitute that
instruction for public or private school attendance. Wis. Stat. § 118.15(4). The administrator
of a home-based educational program must submit to the Department of Public Instruction
by October 15, a statement of the enrollment of elementary and/or high school age
students and a report indicating whether the program meets all of the criteria under
Wis. Stat. § 118.165(1). Wis. Stat. § 115.30(3) (1999). It should be noted that the
state defines a “home-based private educational program” as a program provided to a child by the child's parent or guardian, or by a person
designated by the parent or guardian; if the program provides for more than one family
unit, it is not a home-based private educational program. Wis. Stat. § 115.001(3g)
Wisconsin statute § 118.165(1) requires at least 875 hours of instruction each school
year. Wis. Stat. § 118.165(1)(a)-(c). The institution must also provide a sequentially
progressive curriculum of instruction in the fundamentals of reading, language arts,
mathematics, social studies, science and health. Wis. Stat. § 118.165(1)(d). The institution
is not required to include in its curriculum any concept, topic or practice in conflict
with its religious doctrines or to exclude any concept, topic or practice consistent
with its religious doctrines. Id. Additionally, the institution must not be operating the educational program for the
purposes of circumventing the compulsory school attendance law of the state. Wis.
Stat. § 118.165(1)(e).
Wisconsin does not have statutory requirements regarding teacher qualification for
home schools. However, it is important to remember that the state defines a home school
on the basis of a single family unit.
These are the current requirements for home schooling in each of the six states in
Thomas W. C~
Chief Counsel, Region V
Assistant Regional Counsel