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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Beginning Homeschooling - Minnesota Compulsory Reporting

ed. note:  I apologize for the increasing spacing as you go further down...the blog composer keeps adding them and I will have to come back to correct that later!  Sorry for the difficult read!

By request, I am adding the eight slides pertaining to the Minnesota Compulsory Reporting section of my Beginning Homeschooling presentation.  DISCLAIMER:  This is my interpretation of the law.  I am not a lawyer.  Use the MACHE FORM for compulsory reporting and you will have provided all the information required by Minnesota State Law.

Our right to educate our children at home goes right along with the right stated in Canon Law.

From the January/February 2010 Home School Court Report, Michael P. Donnelly, ESQ wrote to Minnesota Home Educators: 
As more and more new homeschoolers get involved without personal experience of past battles, it’s important that we work together to hold the line on compliance.  For example, what do you do when the superintendent calls and asks for his or her annual visit?  This is an uncommon request for most homeschoolers, and many would be ignorant of the fact that in lieu of this legally sanctioned visit to your home, you can provide the superintendent three items – class schedules, copies of materials used for instruction and a description of methods used to assess student achievement. …” 
 I highly recommend checking out MACHE, Minnesota Association of Christian Home Educators.

The Minnesota Law MN Statute 120A.22 requires that the local public school district be notified of your intent to home school by October 1st of each year.  Every home educating parent with children between the ages of seven and 16 must annually report the information required in Minnesota Statute 120A.24.
Nothing in Minnesota law specifies exactly how non-public educators are to make their annual report only that it is due by October 1 each year and certain information is to be communicated.  So, what do you report?
You do report a child who is 7 years old, but not a child who has turned 16 by October 1. A child who turns 7 during the school year can be reported following their birthday. Don't forget to send in their address!  (The MACHE form has all of this on it.)

You may submit a photocopy of immunization history from your health provider. Notarization is necessary if you sign the conscientious exemption to immunizations statement.   Conscientious exemption: No student is required to have an immunization which is contrary to the conscientiously held beliefs of his/her parent or guardian.   You can find  a form for MN immunizations and conscientious objection here.

Slide 40
The name of the instructor and evidence of meeting the requirements of teaching your child at home which are:  licensed teacher, some supervised directly by a licensed teacher, someone who has passed a teacher competency exam, someone that is already teaching in a recognized school, someone that has a bachelor’s degree or IS THE PARENT OF THE CHILD. 

IF THE TEACHER’S ONLY QUALIFICATION IS “PARENT”:  a quarterly report of the achievement of each child in the required subjects must also be submitted.
Annual Instructional Calendar/Quarterly report card: Specific dates for report card submission are not mandated by statute. Parents must be responsible to submit this information in a timely fashion. Only grades for the required core curriculum subjects have to be submitted.  This may simply be Pass/Fail. Nothing in statute requires you to use report cards from the school district. Prepare your own report card and proofread it carefully

Slide 42

Your school is autonomous from all other educational institutions.You may have year-round school.
Following the local government school calendar or that of a private school may make scheduling for other activities easier.
Indicate beginning and end of year dates and when major  breaks occur for holidays. 
Required Days of Instruction: None.

Slide 43
Standardized Tests: Children not enrolled in an accredited program or public school “must be assessed using a nationally norm-referenced standardized achievement examination.” The test, administration, and location of the test must be agreed to by the district superintendent. Minn. Stat. Ann. § 120A.22 Subd.11
Minnesota law does not require homeschools that are accredited by a recognized Minnesota accrediting association to administer standardized tests. Minn. Stat. Ann. § 120A.22 Subd. 11(d). Accrediting associations such as TEACH or HBGAA are free to set their requirements for standardized testing.
Parents who do not meet teacher requirements 2(a), (b), or (c) above must assess their children in required subject areas not covered by the test. Minn. Stat. Ann. § 120A.22 Subd.11(b).
Children who score below the thirtieth percentile, or one full grade below children of the same age, must be evaluated for learning problems. Minn. Stat. Ann. § 120A.22 Subd.11(c).
Parents have equal authority with the superintendent in the selection and administration of these tests. The name, tester and test location of your child’s annual standardized test OR simply telling them that the testing will be arranged at a later date (simply drop a note in the mail saying what test your child will be taking, who will be administering the test and where it will take place).

Slide 44
Parents must be prepared to document that the required subjects are being taught. This documentation must include class schedules, copies of materials used for instruction and description of method used to assess student achievement indicating that the subjects required are being taught. Minn. Stat. Ann. § 120A.24, Subd.2.
The law Minn. Stat. Ann. § 120A.26 Subd.1 also says the school superintendent can visit the homeschool, but that is a violation of your 4th amendment rights, so as an alternative, a parent who is providing instruction at home may choose to present the documentation identified above rather than have the superintendent visit the home.
Slide 45Photocopy this completed report and retain it in your permanent record file.  Mail a REGISTERED Mail copy to the school superintendent by October 1st.


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