Associate Victoria Simoes Beck gives some insight on homeschooling and how it affects boards of education in this rendition of "The ABCs of School Law" blog.
New Jersey’s compulsory education law, which requires every child between the age of six and 16 years old to attend school, can lead people to assume that all school-age children are receiving their education within the walls of some school building, whether that school is a public, private or parochial school, but some families in New Jersey have opted to educate their children at home.
Under N.J.S.A. 18A:38-25, parents and guardians are permitted to provide school-aged children with an “equivalent instruction elsewhere than at school,” which includes the confines of their own home. The parental ability to “homeschool” their children was addressed by the New Jersey courts in State v. Massa, a 1967 case in which the parents of a homeschooled student were found to be providing their child with an education which was “academically equivalent to that provided in the local public school.”
It may also be easy for a local Board of Education to think that it bears no responsibility for homeschooled students. However, local districts are mandated with the enforcement of the compulsory education law – therefore if a Board of Education has evidence that a school-age child is not being educated, then the Board should request some sort of documentation to confirm that the child is receiving the “equivalent instruction” required by law.
Keep in mind, while the law does not require Boards of Education to review and approve the homeschool curriculum or program, if a Board suspects that a school-aged child in its district is not receiving the required education, it would be advisable to consult with the Board Attorney as to possible courses of further action.
For more information, contact the attorneys in Parker McCay’s Public Schools and Education Department.
The content of this post is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion. You should consult a lawyer concerning your specific situation and any specific legal question you may have.