By Carolyn Martin (CHEC Director of Government Relations)
Government Funding Puts Spotlight on Homeschool Law
Did you know that the Homeschool Law is actually an exemption to the Compulsory Attendance Law which mandates all children attend public school? The homeschool law acknowledges that parents can lawfully provide for their children’s education free from government oversight.
Over the last several years there have been efforts to expand government-funded homeschool programs, by either creating new programs or gobbling up private programs. These programs have brought much unwanted attention to the homeschool law. During the Colorado Board of Education (BOE) meeting last week (February 15th), the staff leading the conversation regarding their proposed rules around financing public schools stated that they are seeing de facto Education Saving Accounts (ESAs) or Vouchers being established through some third-party education contractors. Additionally, CDE has seen programs asking for reimbursement for classes taught by parents. CDE staff told the BOE, “Parent-led instruction would not count as publicly funded instruction … A child enrolled in homeschool parent-led instruction is part of the nonpublic home-based education program (homeschool law). Protections exist for this. A parent who provides instruction … shall not be subject to the Colorado educator licensing act … so there’s a protection for homeschooling parents because they are providing the instruction. The legislature further emphasizes this point by noting that CDE does not have jurisdiction over homeschool” (emphasis added). Government funding that reimburses parents for educational expenses or teaching is against the law.