A Huge Change in Ohio…
July 5, 2023
“Ohio law consists of the Ohio Constitution, the Ohio Revised Code and the Ohio Administrative Code. The Constitution is the state’s highest law superseding all others. The Revised Code is the codified law of the state while the Administrative Code is a compilation of administrative rules adopted by state agencies.”
Since 1989, home education has been tucked away in the Ohio Administrative Code under the authority of the State Board of Education.
Today marks a huge change in home education in Ohio! The Ohio General Assembly has approved the state’s 2-year budget (HB33) and in this legislation the definition of home education has been moved from the Ohio Administrative Code and formally placed in the Ohio Revised Code. Home education is now defined in codified law and has also been simplified for all home educating families. State regulations that have been in place for over 30 years will now be repealed.
We are so thankful for the Lord’s care and provision for all homeschool families in Ohio. This is a day to celebrate and rejoice!! In this alert we wish to explain what has transpired and how it will affect families moving forward.
In His service,
Understanding the Statute
RC 3321.042 New Law
The primary statute is RC 3321.042. It provides the following NEW requirements for families who are home educating their children. These changes to state policy will be effective on the 91st day after Governor DeWine files HB33 with the office of the Secretary of State.
- Home education is defined as “the education of a child between the ages of six and eighteen years of age, that is directed by the child’s parent.”
- The child must receive instruction in the subject areas of English language arts, mathematics, science, history, government, and social studies.
- Home educated children are exempt from Ohio’s compulsory attendance law.
- Home educating parents must notify the superintendent of their school district of residence within 5 days after commencing home education OR moving into a new school district OR withdrawal from a public or nonpublic school. Every school year thereafter the notification deadline is August 30.
- The annual notification shall only include the following information: Parents name(s) and address, child name(s), and an assurance that the child will receive instruction in the six subject areas listed above.
- The exemption from compulsory attendance is effective immediately upon the superintendent’s receipt of the notification. The superintendent is required to issue a written acknowledgement to the parent within 14 days of receiving the notification.
- If a child is enrolled in a public school following any period of home education, he/she shall be placed at the appropriate grade level, without discrimination or prejudice, based on the policies of the child’s district of residence.
- If there is evidence that the child is not receiving instruction in the six required subjects, then that child could be subject to the state truancy laws.
Link to HB33
Click on “Enrolled” version and scroll to page 5164
What does this mean for the new school year?
With the transition from “regulations” to a “statute” that will not go into effect for 90 days, our notification for this year will require one additional step…and it’s a simple one.
At the beginning of the school year, families will need to submit their usual “notification of intent” (NOI) under the current regulations. This will be the same process we have used for years and will include your brief outline and list of basic teaching materials. For families who are renotifying for a subsequent year, the notification must include your assessment report. One extra step needed for this year will be to include a separate letter that will comply with the new law. We have created a template for this new notification letter and it can be found HERE. You are free to use this form or create a document on your own that includes the required information. Please make sure to send your packet in a way that provides confirmation of receipt.
This additional step is only necessary as we transition to this new statute during the 2023-2024 school year. August 30th will be the new deadline to file your single letter of notification…no more packets!!
To summarize what the new law will look like year after year…here are some key points to consider.
- There will be no more packets of materials submitted to the school district as a notification of intent.
Parents will continue to have the freedom to plan for their instructional year as will best meet the academic needs of their children. But, moving forward, the outline of intended curriculum and list of materials will not be required for submission to the school district.
- There will no longer be a requirement to submit an assessment report with your annual re-notification.
CHEO encourages parents to assess their children on a regular basis that suits their family. You can plan to stay in touch with your assessor and ask for their help in administering norm-referenced assessments or providing a review of work samples. The difference with this new legislation is that you will not be required to submit a report to the school district.
- The notification process will be much simpler – but there are still clear deadlines to be considered and followed. Home educating parents must notify the superintendent of their school district of residence within 5 days after commencing home education OR moving into a new school district OR withdrawal from a public or nonpublic school. Every school year thereafter the notification deadline is August 30.
For this reason, it will be important to have delivery confirmation – either through the traditional postal service or in a response to an email submission.
- Home educating parents will now be able to issue work permits for their children instead of going through the local superintendent.
“Beginning on the effective date of this amendment, an age and schooling certificate may be issued by a parent of a child over sixteen years of age who is exempt from enrollment pursuant to section 3321.042 of the Revised Code.” RC 3331.04 (C)
The homeschool regulations put in place over 30 years ago were created by homeschool pioneers who bravely fought for families who wished to chart a new educational course for their children. We are grateful for Diana Fessler and others who worked to craft careful language that would stand the test of time. This, along with elected representation on the State Board of Education, provided a stable environment for home education to thrive in Ohio.
But there has been a definite legislative priority shift in Columbus as the partially elected state board of education has been stripped of its authority over student policies. When it became apparent that SB 1 was to be folded into the state budget process, we diligently worked with legislators and HSLDA to provide the above changes to protect home educators from being placed under the newly appointed director without elected representation.
While HSLDA has always classified the Buckeye state as “moderately regulated” for home education, the majority of states across the country are considered to be “low regulation or no notice”. We have faithfully operated under moderate regulations, but we are confident this change and the simplification will benefit families.
CHEO acknowledges that this enormous work has not been done in a vacuum. This has been a complex process to navigate and has demanded an enormous amount of time and energy. CHEO appreciates the faithful service of HSLDA, particularly Amy Buchmeyer, Esq., staff attorney for Ohio and State Representative Sarah Fowler Arthur. We are grateful for their dedicated work on this issue.
On a personal note…it is important to remember that we serve a sovereign heavenly Father who cares deeply about our families and our children. We are grateful for the freedom we have in Ohio to home educate and to raise our children to reflect our Savior in the world around us. With this new freedom comes tremendous responsibility – not a responsibility to be perfect (not possible), but a responsibility to be faithful and to strive for excellence in our homes. We are confident that families will continue to faithfully pursue the highest standards of education for their students.