Agency of Education Proposes New Home Study Oversight Regime

On Thursday, Secretary Dan French (Agency of Education) joined the House Education Committee to discuss new home study legislation that the Agency of Education (AOE) is asking for.

They are seeking to bring the home study oversight more in line with neighboring states. The current program is overly complex and not properly staffed. He couldn’t remember exactly, but during the pandemic over 5,000 students were home schooling, but these days it is back down to 2,500 or so. This seems like a good time to re-evaluate since interest has dropped off.

Chairman Conlon also asked about reporting and oversite of student progression. French reiterated that parents or local school districts would develop plans and student reports that annually are reviewed by staff at AOE etc.  He called it more “subjective process involvement” and the new rules would be largely limited to the areas of statutory interest regarding academic progress.

Representative Stone asked about assessments for disabled students by districts at the family’s request; she wondered about where that funding comes from if it’s done by the district. French pointed out these fall under the rubric of “essential state interests” and so it’s paid from Education Fund under the special education line item. Services negotiated under an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) are funded from the same sources as though the student were attending the school. He added the new draft rules he is proposing will have no impact on these areas of obligation.

Conlon observed French was attempting to simplify the rules language and process for both the AOE staff and the parents which he supports generally. French agreed.

There were some more general questions about what an approved course of study is, the minimum course of study in the current standards, etc.

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