Georgia State Laws

MAJOR CHANGE TO GEORGIA HOMESCHOOL LAW

 

 

Governor Deal signed the Comprehensive Education Bill, HB 283, on May 7, 2013 and it goes into effect on July 1, 2013.

 

Go to www.house.ga.gov. Enter 283 in the empty box and click on search. Click on "current version" to read Section 23, the section pertaining to the home study law, of HB 283.

 

All attendance reporting to the Georgia Department of Education (DOE) or to the local superintendent has been struck from the law.

 

Homeschooling families are no longer required to submit any attendance reports to the State Department of Education or to any local school superintendent.

 

Beginning July 1, 2013 and thereafter, parents or guardians are ONLY required to submit an annual Letter of Intent to Utilize a Home Study Program.

 

The best and easiest way to do this is by email using the form at the DOE website. www.doe.k12.ga.us. Click on Home Schools under Parents. Scroll down and click on "Submit an Online Declaration of Intent Form". You may also submit this form by mail.

 

 

These are the records that parents must keep in their school files:

 

An annual attendance record. 

An annual assessment report for reading, language arts, mathematics, social studies, and science.

Test results from standardized testing required to be administered every 3 years starting in the third grade.

 

These records must be kept for a minimum of 3 years. We recommend that you keep them at least for the duration of your homeschooling years. It may be prudent to keep them longer to prove school attendance.

 

Although not explicitly required by law to keep formal attendance records showing 180, 4.5 hour school days or the equivalent, GHEA recommends that you do so. A sample form will be available at the GHEA web site.

 

 

                   FURTHER CHANGE TO THE GEORGIA HOME STUDY LAW

 

The parent or guardian shall have the authority to execute any document required by law, rule, regulation or policy to evidence the enrollment of a child in a home study program, the student's full-time or part-time status, the student's grades, or any other required educational information.

 

This part of the law gives the parent the authority to generate documents which verify that their home study program is in or has been in compliance with the Georgia home study law. A sample letter is available at the GHEA web site.

 

These documents will be used:

 

   to verify attendance for the Department of Driver Services for driving permits and licenses

   for work permits for employment

   to receive state or federal assistance

   for University, College or TECH college admission requirements

   or for any other reason that requires compliance with state law or verification of school attendance.

 

The State Department of Education will no longer generate compliance or attendance letters for parents or students.

 

 

 

HSLDA's Interpretation:

Compulsory Attendance Ages: "between 6th and 16th birthdays." Official Code of Georgia Annotated � 20-2-690.1. However, if a child is under 6 and has attended more than 20 days in a public school, he is then subject to the compulsory attendance laws. � 20-2-150(C).

Required Days of Instruction: 180 days. Ga. Code Ann. � 20-2-690(c)(5).

Required Subjects: A basic academic educational program that includes, but is not limited to, reading, language arts, math, social studies, and science. Ga. Code Ann. � 20-2-690(c)(4).

Home School Statutes: Ga. Code Ann. � 20-2-690(c).

  1. Parents must submit a declaration of intent to home study to the State Department of Education thirty days after the establishment of the home study program and by Sept. 1 every year thereafter. This declaration must include the names and ages of students, the location of the home school, and the time the parents designate as their school year. Ga. Code Ann. � 20-2-690(c)(2).
  2. The home school must provide "a basic academic educational program." Ga. Code Ann. � 20-2-690(c)(4). (see "subjects" above).
  3. Each school day must consist of four and one-half hours. Ga. Code Ann. � 20-2-690(c)(5).
  4. Attendance records must be kept with your records for a minimum of three years. GHEA recommends you keep every year. The records will "not be used for any purpose except providing necessary attendance information." in accordance with HB283.
  5. Parent must write an annual progress report and retain it for three years. Ga. Code Ann. � 20-2-690(c)(8).
  6. "Parents or guardians may teach only their own children in the home study program... but the parents or guardians may employ a tutor who holds at least a high school diploma or GED to teach such children." � 20-2-690(c)(3). No specific amount of hours required for tutor to teach.
  7. According to the Attorney General of Georgia, the local superintendent does not the have the authority to require parents to affirmatively produce evidence of their continuing compliance with the law in the operation of home study programs or require the production of documents. Although the superintendent has the authority to "request" such materials, he cannot require parents to submit them. 1986 Op. Att'y. Gen. No. U86-19.
  8. This statute resulted from a home school decision by the Georgia Supreme Court, Roemhild v. Georgia, 251 Ga. 569, 308 S.E.2d 154 (Ga. 1983), which found the former law to be "unconstitutionally vague." Roemhild, 308 S.E. 2d at 159. The court reasoned: "...we conclude that the statute is not sufficiently definite to provide a person of ordinary intelligence, who desires to avoid its penalties, fair notice of what constitutes a "private school..." Roemhild at 158. "Furthermore, the statute violated a second due process value in that it impermissibly delegates to local law enforcement officials, judges, and juries the policy decision of what constitutes a private school." Id.

Teacher Qualifications: The "teaching parent" must have at least a high school diploma or a GED. Or the parents may employ a private tutor who has a high school diploma or GED. Ga. Code Ann. � 20-2-690(c)(3).

Standardized Tests: Children must take a national standardized achievement test every three years beginning at the end of the third grade. "Test scores are not required to be submitted to public school authorities." Ga. Code Ann. � 20-2-690(c)(7). Parent must write an annual progress report and retain it for three years. Ga. Code Ann. � 20-2-690(c)(8).

THIS ANALYSIS DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE GIVING OF LEGAL ADVICE.

The analysis has been reproduced with permission from the Home School Legal Defense Association

 

The Actual Law

20-2-690. Requirements for Homeschooling Parents

(a) This subpart recognizes the existence of public schools, private schools, and home study programs as educational entities ...
(c) Parents or guardians may teach their children at home in a home study program which meets the following requirements:
(1) The parent, parents, or guardian must submit within 30 days after the establishment of a home study program and by September 1 annually thereafter a declaration of intent to utilize a home study program to the State Department of Education. (2) The declaration shall include a list of the names and ages of the students who are enrolled in the home study program, the address where the home study program is located, and a statement of the 12 month period that is to be considered the school year for that home study program. Enrollment records and reports shall not be used for any purpose except providing necessary enrollment information, except with the permission of the parent or guardian of a child, pursuant to the subpoena of a court of competent jurisdiction, or for verification of attendance by the Department of Public Safety for the purposes set forth in subsection (a.1) of Code Section 40-5-22;
(3) Parents or guardians may teach only their own children in the home study program, provided the teaching parent or guardian possesses at least a high school diploma or a general educational development diploma, but the parents or guardians may employ a tutor who holds a high school diploma or a general educational development diploma to teach such children;
(4) The home study program shall provide a basic academic educational program which includes, but is not limited to, reading, language arts, mathematics, social studies, and science;
(5) The home study program must provide instruction each 12 months to home study students equivalent to 180 school days of education with each school day consisting of at least four and one-half school hours unless the child is physically unable to comply with the rule provided for in this paragraph;
(6) Attendance records for the home study program shall be kept and shall be submitted annually to the State Department of Education. Attendance records and reports shall not be used for any purpose except providing necessary attendance information, except with the permission of the parent or guardian of a child, pursuant to the subpoena of a court of competent jurisdiction, or for verification of attendance by the Department of Public Safety for the purposes set forth in subsection (a.1) of Code Section 40-5-22;
(7) Students in home study programs shall be subject to an appropriate nationally standardized testing program administered in consultation with a person trained in the administration and interpretation of norm reference tests to evaluate their educational progress at least every three years beginning at the end of the third grade and records of such tests and scores shall be retained but shall not be required to be submitted to public educational authorities; and
(8) The home study program instructor shall write an annual progress assessment report which shall include the instructor´s individualized assessment of the student´s academic progress in each of the subject areas specified in paragraph (4) of this subsection, and such progress reports shall be retained by the parent, parents, or guardian of children in the home study program for a period of at least three years.
(d) Any person who operates a private school without complying with the requirements of subsection (b) of this Code section or any person who operates a home study program without complying with the requirements of subsection (c) of this Code section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine not to exceed $100.00.
(e) The State Board of Education shall devise, adopt, and make available to local school superintendents, who shall in turn make available to administrators of private schools and parents or guardians with children in home study programs, such printed forms and procedures as may be reasonably necessary to carry out efficiently the reporting provisions of this Code section, but such printed forms and procedures shall not be inconsistent with or exceed the requirements of this Code section.

 

20-2-690.1. Compulsory Attendance

(a) Every parent, guardian, or other person residing within this state having control or charge of any child or children between their sixth and sixteenth birthdays shall enroll and send such child or children to a public school, a private school, or a home study program that meets the requirements for a public school, a private school, or a home study program ...

20-2-698. Children Found Away From Home

Any peace officer may assume temporary custody, during school hours, of any child subject to compulsory school attendance who is found away from home and who is absent from a public or private school or a home study program without a valid written excuse from school officials or from the parent or guardian in charge of the home study program.

20-2-701. Reporting of Failure to Comply.

(a) Local school superintendents as applied to private schools and home study programs or visiting teachers and attendance officers as applied to public schools, after written notice to the parent or guardian of a child, shall report to the juvenile or other court having jurisdiction under Chapter 11 of Title 15 any child who is absent from a public or private school or a home study program in violation of this subpart. If the judge of the court places such child in a home or in a public or private institution pursuant to Chapter 11 of Title 15, school shall be provided for such child.

 

The Association will serve and assist any home schooling family or support group in Georgia, however, GHEA is a Christian organization and the counsel and direction of the organization will be Christian.


GHEA • 258 Sandy Lake Cir. • Fayetteville, GA 30214
Telephone: (770) 461-3657 • Fax: (501) 638-5264
E-mail: info@ghea.org