HEAC Update

A brief update on the goings on of the Home Education Advisory Council:

The Annual report was presented to the Board of Education via Zoom on July 9th and was approved. Rules were approved by the Board of Education on August 13. To the best of my knowledge, JLCAR is the next step in the process. The Joint Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules is made up of Senators and House Representatives. There will be opportunity for public discussion later on in the process. A detailed outline of the process is forthcoming. More info on JLCAR is available here.

The rules reiterate that it is the parent’s duty to provide the child’s education in a home education program, choosing the who, what, when, where, why and how. Instruction can be direct or outsourced. The Commissioner used the example of a parent providing food for their child. A parent rarely grows all their own food; instead choosing to utilize grocery stores, farmer’s markets, and restaurants. Similarly, a parent may utilize co-ops, online classes, other parent teachers, music lessons, etc. in their own child’s education.

Many new homeschoolers are submitting their letters of intent and receiving back letters of acknowledgement that are either incorrect (ie: showing acknowledgement for only this 2020-2021 school year) or asking for additional information that goes beyond statutory requirements, or asking parents to fill out the district’s own paperwork (not required). The commissioner is working on contacting each SAU to remind them of their responsibilities as a participating agency. HEAC will be formally voting to request a Technical Advisory be sent to all districts reminding them of their legal requirements per statute, their role as PAs, and the time frame of response to the homeschoolers who are declaring their intent.

HEAC will address the equal access statute with Commissioner Edelblut regarding accommodations, curricular and co curricular, social activities, special ed, and COVID protocols during this school year.

Many parents are homeschooling for this year and intend to send their children back to school after this year is complete. HEAC will look into how to assist homeschoolers, specifically high schoolers, with getting credit for this year. How will credits be received by the local districts, and how can they count towards a high schooler’s graduation? Will proficiency need to be demonstrated? These questions and more will be addressed.

Having public input is invaluable to the functioning of HEAC. We are a council that advises the Commissioner based on the needs of the community. Please join our Zoom meetings and bring your questions and stories; see the schedule below. We are here to help you with your homeschooling journey.

Thursday January 28
Thursday February 18 (moved for midwinter break) (place holder)
Thursday March 25
Thursday April 22 (place holder)
Thursday May 27
Thursday June 17 (moved to coincide with school schedule) (place holder)

By Kitty Michelotti
HEAC Chair