Note: This HTML edition of the DOE 2000 Draft Advisory was scanned through
an optical character recognition device. There may be some lingering
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version in .pdf if you have
The Draft Home Education Advisory was originally composed eight years
ago, and has been revised two times. While the Department of Education (DOE) has not issued the Advisory to
all Massachusetts Superintendents, the Department does send the Draft
Advisory to Superintendents who call the Department for advice on troublesome
Thus it is of utmost importance that homeschoolers
throughout the Commonwealth know
1) what advice their superintendents
may be receiving from the DOE, for better and for worse
2) why Massachusetts homeschool organizations
take exception to some parts of the Advisory
Two main trouble spots (indicated below with asterisks) were
spelled out clearly in the cover letter sent with the Annotated Advisory.
Please read the Cover Letter and the
Annotated Advisory. For further discussion of these "trouble
a chronology of the DOE Advisories, and the MHLA position on the current
Advisory, please visit the page, Department
of Education (DOE) Advisories on Home Education.
Department of Education (DOE) August
2000 Draft Advisory
Not for General Distribution
Over the past several years, the Department of Education has received
numerous inquiries about home education policies and procedures from
school districts, parents, and others. The Department issued an advisory
on home education in 1987, after the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
decided the case of Care and Protection of Charles, 399 Mass. 324 (1987).
Charles established the legal guidelines in Massachusetts for the approval
of home education programs for children of compulsory school age. This
updated and expanded Home Education Advisory explains the legal standards
and procedures that apply to home education in Massachusetts and contains
answers to many of the questions about home education which the Department
has been asked since the Charles opinion. It also incorporates two recent
Massachusetts court decisions on home education. Brunelle v. Lynn
Public Schools, 428 Mass. 512 (1998), concerning home visits by public school
officials, and Care and Protection of Ivan, 48 Mass. App. Ct. 87 (1999),
concerning the right of school districts to require that parents provide
essential information regarding their home education plans and provide
verification of their children's progress under those plans.
I. BASIC PRINCIPLES
Massachusetts has a compulsory school attendance law. General Laws Chapter
76, § 1, which applies to all children between the ages of 6 and
16. While the law requires that all children receive an education, it
also recognizes the right of parents to choose from among several educational
options. All children of school age have a right to be enrolled in the
public schools of the city or town in which they reside. Alternatively,
parents may elect to enroll their child in the public schools of another
school district which participates in the state's school choice program
or a charter school, or may choose to send their child to an approved
private school or to educate their child at home. When a child of compulsory
school age is educated outside the public school system, either in a
private school or at home under the guidance of his or her parent(s),
the school district where the private school is located, or in the case
of home education, where the child resides, has a legal duty to review
and approve the program.
Home education in Massachusetts is governed by General Laws Chapter 76, § 1.
It states that a child of compulsory school age must "attend
a public day school [or some other approved school]... but such attendance
shall not be required of a child... who is being otherwise instructed in
a manner approved in advance by the superintendent or the school committee." G.L.
c. 76, § 1 (emphasis added). School districts review and approve home
school proposals under the guidelines set forth in the Charles opinion
discussed below. Although Charles establishes a framework for
the review of home education plans, each school district develops its own
(DRAFT p. 2)
II. APPLYING FOR A HOME EDUCATION PROGRAM
Parents planning to educate their child at home must notify their superintendent
or school committee before removing the child from public school. This
notice may be given at any time before or during the school year. To
avoid miscommunication and ensure compliance with the home education
approval law, parents are encouraged to give this notice in writing.
Some school districts have a home education approval application form
to be completed for this purpose.
A student may not begin a home education program unless and until it has
been approved by the superintendent or school committee of the school district
in which the student resides. When a school district has received notice
of a parent's proposal to educate his or her child at home, the school
district must evaluate the proposed home education plan for the student
and either approve, seek modification of, or disapprove that plan. The
school district should communicate its decision on the parent's home education
proposal to the parent in writing within a reasonable time after home education
approval is sought.
Under Massachusetts law, parents who wish to educate their child at home
as an alternative to public school enrollment must have their home education
plan reviewed and approved by the school district in which their child
resides. G.L. c. 76, § 1.. In the recent case of Care and Protection
of Ivan, the Massachusetts Appeals Court explicitly stated that "prior
approval of the superintendent or [school] committee is a prerequisite
to removal of children from school and to the commencement of a home
schooling program." 48 Mass. App. Ct. 87, 89 (1999).
The standard for approval of a home education plan is set out in the Charles decision. It states that the school district has a duty to ensure that
a home educated student receives instruction that is equal to public schooling
in its thoroughness and efficiency, and in the progress made therein. Charles at 337. In applying this standard, school districts may only subject home
education plans to requirements that are reasonable and essential to the
state's interest in ensuring that all children receive an education. Charles at 336-337. A parent's refusal to provide a school district with essential
information in order to evaluate a home education plan precludes the school
district from reviewing or approving that plan. Ivan at 87-88.
The extent to which a school district may consider certain factors in evaluating
a home education plan is set forth below:
1. Information about the parents academic
credentials or other qualifications.
The superintendent or school committee may consider the parent's competence
to teach the child. Thus, a superintendent or school committee may properly
(DRAFT p. 3)
to the academic credentials or other qualifications of the parent or parents
who will be instructing the child. However, parents who wish to home educate
their child are not required to have attained a certain education level
or to obtain teaching certification. Charles at 339.
2. Evaluation of the academic plan.
When evaluating the adequacy of a proposed home education plan, the superintendent
or school committee may examine the subjects that the child will study
and the length of the proposed home school year and the hours of instruction
in each subject. Charles at 339. In order to ensure instruction "equal
in thoroughness and efficiency" to that offered in the public school,
school officials may compare these factors in the home school proposal
with the state requirements regarding curriculum and the number of hours
of study. Charles at 338-339.
In Massachusetts, all public schools must operate for at least 180 days
each school year and offer instruction in the core subjects of mathematics,
science and technology, history and social science, English, foreign languages
and the arts. G.L. c 69 § ID; 603 C.M.R. 27.03. Public elementary
school students must receive a minimum of 900 hours, and secondary students
must receive at least 990 hours of structured learning time each school
year. Structured learning time is defined as the time during which students
are engaged in regularly scheduled instruction, learning activities, or
learning assessments within the curriculum for study of the core subjects.
603 C.M.R. 27.02.
Although these requirements do not apply to home schoolers, school districts
may inquire into the content, duration and methods of study planned for
the core subjects as a means of determining whether the proposed home
education plan enables the child to progress academically in the areas
which the Commonwealth has identified as essential in preparing students
for future education, employment and effective citizenship.
The educational plan for a home educated student need not replicate the
public school's grade equivalent educational offerings. Indeed, many parents
elect to home educate their children to utilize an alternative approach
to student learning. Home educating parents may employ educational methods
that are quite different from those used in public schools. A home educated
student may study certain subjects and acquire certain skills at different
stages in the learning sequence than those planned for in the public school
curriculum plan. Home educating parents are encouraged to identify and
explain such differences in educational philosophy and methodology when
home education approval is sought. School district officials will then
have the necessary information to evaluate whether, having these pedagogical
differences in mind, the proposed program meets the standard for home education
(DRAFT p. 4)
3. Educational materials and methods.
Parents may select the kind of instructional materials to use for their
child's home education, but Charles allows school officials access
to such materials in order to determine the type of subjects to be taught
and the grade level of instruction for comparison purposes with the curriculum
of the public schools. Charles at 339. School officials may not,
however, use this access to dictate the manner in which the subjects will
Charles at 339. Parents may employ educational methods that are
different from those used in the public schools. This may include teaching
materials that are non-tangible in nature, such as travel, community service,
visits to educationally enriching facilities and places, and meetings with
various resource people. Brunelle at 518.
Districts may keep on file a list of approved instructional materials or
curricular programs, although home schooling parents are not required to
use the materials on these local lists in order for their plan to be approved.
Because approval takes place at the local level, the Department of Education
does not maintain a list of approved materials.
Correspondence courses and commercial curriculum programs (for example,
the Calvert or Abeka curriculum and home study programs) may be submitted
and approved as part of a home education plan. Commercial curriculum organizations
such as those mentioned above are not considered private schools for the
purpose of school district approval; therefore, parents who wish to educate
their child at home using one of these programs must follow the school
district's home education approval procedures.
4. Periodic testing or other evaluation of the student's progress.
In Charles, the court stated that school officials may require periodic
testing or some other agreed-upon form of evaluation of a home educated
student's educational progress.
The superintendent or school committee may properly require periodic standardized
testing of the children to ensure educational progress and the attainment
of minimum standards.... In consultation with the parents, the school authorities
may decide where the testing is to occur and the type of testing instrument
to be used. Where practical, a neutral party should administer the test.
Other means of evaluating the progress of the children may be substituted
for the formal testing process, such as periodic progress reports or dated
work samples, subject to the approval of the parents. Charles at 339-40.
(DRAFT p. 5)
Care and Protection of Ivan, 48 Mass. App. Ct. 87 (1999), reaffirms the
holding of Charles in this regard. In Ivan the court upheld the authority
of a school committee to condition approval of a home education plan on
the requirement that the child's educational attainment be verified through
testing or some other type of evaluation. Ivan at 89.
When a home educating parent does not wish to have his or her child evaluated
through periodic testing, we encourage school officials to work with the
parent to agree on an alternative means of evaluation. Agreed upon evaluations
may include school district review of a portfolio of student work or submission
of dated work samples, independent evaluations by a third party acceptable
to parents and school officials, or any other method agreed to by the parents
and school officials. If no agreement is reached between school officials
and parents on an alternative method of evaluation, school districts may
require standardized testing as a condition of approval of the home education
5. Home visits as a condition of approval.
In the Brunelle decision, the Supreme Judicial Court addressed the
question whether a school district may require home visits as part of its
periodic evaluation of a home education program. The court held that home
visits by public school officials may not be required as a condition of approval
of a home education plan that satisfies other relevant criteria as outlined
in Charles. The court stated that home education proposals can be
made subject only to essential and reasonable requirements, and a home visit
is not presumptively essential to protecting the State's interest in ensuring
that children receive an education. Brunelle at 519. The court did
not, however, rule out the possibility of allowing school districts to require
home visits under special circumstances, stating:
We express no opinion on whether home visits can be required ... if a child
is not making satisfactory progress under a home education plan, if a home
is used to educate children from other families, or if other circumstances
make such a requirement essential, and reasonable standards are formulated
to enforce the requirement. Brunelle at 519.
III. COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT HOME EDUCATION
1. What happens if the school district disapproves or does not respond
to a parent's proposed home education program?
If the school district does not approve the home education plan, the
superintendent or school committee must detail the reasons for the decision,
and allow the parents to revise their proposal to
(DRAFT p. 6)
remedy its inadequacies. If no response is received from the school district
within a reasonable time after home education approval is requested,
parents should contact the superintendent and request a written decision
on their approval request. Delay or lack of response by a school district
does not constitute implied consent to a home education program; home
educating families must obtain express approval before they commence
2. What steps may a school district take if a parent fails to enroll
the child or withdraws the child from school to begin home education
without first obtaining the necessary approval?
Parents are required by law to ensure that if their children are of compulsory
attendance age that they attend either public school or an approved private
school until the parents have received school district approval of their
home education program. If a parent fails to enroll the child in school
or withdraws the child from school to begin home education without first
obtaining the necessary approval, it is the school district's responsibility
to act promptly to enforce the compulsory school attendance law.
Depending on the circumstances, the school district may fulfill this responsibility
by expediting review and approval of the proposed home education program, or
may seek judicial intervention by filing a truancy complaint (General Laws Chapter
76, § 2 and/or § 4) or initiating a care and protection proceeding
(General Laws Chapter 119, § 24). In Ivan, the court held that where a parent
has removed a child from school to home educate the child but refuses to provide
any information to the school committee regarding the proposed home education
plan, it is appropriate for the school committee to file a care and protection
petition on the basis of educational neglect. In situations where the school
committee has received the parents' home education proposal but has rejected
it, the school district has the burden in any subsequent legal proceeding to
demonstrate to the court that the instruction outlined in the proposal fails
to equal "in thoroughness and efficiency, and in the progress made therein," that
in the public school. The filing of a CHINS petition (General Laws Chapter 119, § 39E)
is not an appropriate action to enforce the compulsory school attendance law
in the case of a home education dispute, since it is the parent's decision not
to send the student to public school rather than the student's disobedience of
parental and school authority which is at issue.
3. What steps may a school district take if a family does not comply with its
periodic reporting requirements?
Under Charles and Ivan, superintendents and school committees may require periodic
testing or some other mutually-agreed upon form of evaluation of home educated
students. Therefore, school officials may refuse to grant or rescind home school
approval if parents do not comply with the school district's periodic reporting
When a parent has failed to comply with periodic reporting requirements after
approval of a home education plan has been granted, school officials should
send a letter to parents indicating that home school approval was granted with
the expectation that parents would comply with the school district's periodic
reporting requirements. Parents should be urged to contact the school and indicate
(DRAFT p. 7)
whether they plan to submit the necessary evaluative material. The letter should
inform parents that home school approval will be rescinded if such material
is not submitted within a reasonable period of time. If the parents indicate
that they will not submit the required material or if they fail to respond
within the time period provided, the school district may then rescind home
Once home school approval is rescinded, parents are required by law to enroll
their child in a public or approved private school. If a parent fails to fulfill
this requirement, it is the school district's responsibility to enforce the
compulsory school attendance law, the procedure for which is outlined above
in the answer to question 2.
Charles requires parents to receive home school approval before they remove
their child(ren) from a public or approved private school. Therefore, parents
whose home school approval is rescinded may reapply for approval only after
their child(ren) are enrolled in a public or approved private school.
4. May a school district require home visits as a condition of approving a
home education program?
No. A school district may not require home visits as a condition of approving
a home education program. The Brunelle decision leaves open whether, in certain
limited circumstances, home visits may be warranted. For example, the court
did not consider whether home visits may be required if a child is not making
satisfactory progress under a home education plan, or if a home is used to
educate children from other families. We would advise school officials to
review the circumstances carefully with local counsel before deciding whether
home visits are warranted in individual cases. In any event, home visits with
parental consent are permissible.
5. What happens when parents modify the home education program that has been
approved for their child?
Parents may modify their planned home education program to meet their child's
needs. If the modification involves a significant change in the content or
method of the child's educational program, such a change in plans is, in our
opinion, subject to prior approval by the school district.
6. Are school districts obligated to provide educational materials to parents
who are home educating their child?
Home education is a private alternative to public school education. The school
district has no obligation to provide parents who elect this option with books,
materials, or access to school resources other than to the extent available
to the general public. (Curriculum outlines, for example, are considered public
documents and must be provided within ten days of a written request). As a
matter of local policy, however, a school district may, in its discretion,
allow home educated students to borrow or use public school books or other
(DRAFT p. 8)
7. May home educated students use public school facilities and participate
in public school programs and activities?
Each school district may establish its own policy on the use of its facilities
and participation in its programs by students not enrolled in the public schools.
Home educated students can use school facilities and participate in school-sponsored
activities that are open to the public. As a matter of local policy, a school
district may allow home educated students to use certain school facilities
or to participate in certain school programs or extra-curricular activities
that are not open to the general public (for example: use the school library
or computer lab; play in the school band or orchestra; participate in drama
club; join a sports team). The district must fund any such participation (if
it results in any cost to the district) either through local appropriations
in addition to the minimum required local contribution for net school spending
which the district is required to appropriate under General Laws Chapter 70,
or by charging program fees to participants.
The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) has adopted
a policy which enables school districts to allow home educated students to
participate in interscholastic sports. The MIAA policy contains guidelines
for such participation, including procedures to be followed by school districts
that elect to permit home schoolers to join interscholastic public school
sports teams. The MIAA permits a home educated student to participate on interscholastic
athletic teams if the student's school committee has a policy regarding such
participation and the school committee has approved the student's home education
plan. Home educated students may join teams operated by the public schools
in the district in which they live. If a school district operates an intra-district
choice system (such as Boston and Springfield, where students may attend one
of several schools in the district), and it allows home educated students
to participate on sports teams, the district must assign a home educated student
to a particular school for athletic team participation on the same basis used
for the school assignment of regularly enrolled students.
8. May a school district include home educated students in the student enrollment
count that the district reports to the Department of Education for statistical
and state funding purposes?
Home educated students are not considered to be enrolled in a school district.
Thus they cannot be counted as part of the school's membership, for state
reporting purposes, even if the school district allows them to participate
in some extra-curricular or other school activities. The only exception to
this would be where a student receives home instruction as a supplement to
educational services provided by the school district for which the student
earns academic credit. A student participating in such a hybrid arrangement
is not considered to be home educated for purposes of G.L. c. 76, § 1
if the school district is still supervising, and taking responsibility for,
the student's educational program, including that part of the student's program
that is delivered at home. In these situations, the student may be considered
enrolled in the public school and counted as part of the school's membership
for purposes of state funding.
9. Are home educated students entitled to course credit, a high school diploma,
or a GED?
Course Credit. If a student who has previously been home educated wishes to enroll
in public school, school officials in the school district where the child enrolls
will determine grade placement
(DRAFT p. 9)
and whether to award course credit for work completed while the student was being
home educated. This determination is usually made based on a review of the home
study course content, past evaluation results, assessments to measure academic
achievement, and other criteria.
High School Diplomas. Home educated students are, by definition, not enrolled
in a public school. Because a diploma certifies completion of and graduation
from a public high school, a school district has no obligation to grant a diploma
to a student who has been home educated. The school committee has the discretion,
however, to determine whether and under what circumstances a student who has
been educated at home may receive a high school diploma. The school committee
may provide a home educated student with a letter or certificate which indicates
that the student participated in an approved home education program and describes
the content of the program and the results of any academic tests administered
by the school district.
The Education Reform Act of 1993 authorized the Board of Education to establish
statewide public high school graduation standards (called competency standards),
which will be implemented no earlier than the graduating class of 2003. Although
these standards do not, by their terms, apply to home school programs, they may
enable school districts to more readily compare the knowledge and skills of home
educated students to that of their public school peers. The discretion to award
a diploma to a home educated student will, however, remain with the school district.
General Educational Development test (GED). With regard to the GED, home educated students
are subject to the same requirements as all other registrants. In order to take the GED test, a
registrant must be at least 16 years old and must not be enrolled in a public or private school. Those students between the ages of 16 and 19 must provide a letter from the last school attended stating that the student has officially withdrawn. Any person, including a home educated student, who is 19 or older may take the GED without providing such a letter.
10. May parents home educate a child with a disability who needs special education?
Yes. Parents of a child with a disability who needs special education may home
educate their child if they can provide the child with a home-based program that
equals in thoroughness and efficiency and in the progress made therein the educational
program that would be available to the student if he or she were enrolled in
public school. In evaluating a proposed home education plan for a student who
has been identified to have special education needs, the school district must
consider the particular capabilities and needs of that child and evaluate the
proposed program content, instructional materials and monitoring procedures and
the competency of the parents or proposed instructors, having in mind the individual
child's special needs.
If a school district finds that a parent's proposed home education plan will
not meet the special educational needs of the child, the district should allow
the parents to revise the plan before denying approval. If the parent of a special
education student withdraws the student from school and commences home education
without an approved plan, the district may initiate truancy proceedings against
the parent or file a care and protection petition on behalf of the child. Additionally,
if the parent has rejected special education services which the public school
has offered to provide to the child and school officials think that, as a result
of the parent's decision, the child is being denied an
(DRAFT p. 10)
appropriate education, the school district may file an appeal with the Bureau
of Special Education Appeals.
Pursuant to a recent amendment to Mass. General Laws c. 71B, the Massachusetts
Special Education Law, school age children with disabilities who reside in Massachusetts
and who meet the applicable eligibility requirements are entitled to publicly
funded special education services regardless of whether they are educated in
a public or non-public school setting. Thus, school districts in which eligible
home schooled students reside must provide such students with the opportunity
for evaluations, determinations of eligibility, and receipt of special education
services in accordance with the state and federal laws that apply to eligible
public school students.
Detailed information about the special education evaluation, program planning,
and appeal process is available from the administrator of special education of
any school district or from the Massachusetts Department of Education.
11. If a student is unable to attend school for a period of weeks or months due
to a temporary disability and the school district arranges for tutoring while
the student is in the hospital or at home, is home education approval required?
No. Students who are enrolled in the public schools but are unable to attend
the school to which they are assigned due to a temporary medical disability,
are eligible for home or hospital-based educational services under the Massachusetts
Special Education Regulations. The home or hospital- based services required
under those regulations are public school services, funded and directed by the
public school district in which the student is enrolled. A physician initiated,
publicly provided home or hospital-based education program under the special
education regulations is legally distinct from a parent initiated, privately
provided home education program and is, therefore, not subject to the approval
process described in this Advisory.
12. Who approves home education for secondary students who are tuitioned-out
(attending public schools in another school district at their home district's
A town that does not operate its own schools must make arrangements regarding
home education plan approval with the town to which it tuitions students. A town
that tuitions out students in some grade levels, but not others, may make separate
provisions for the approval of home education plans for students in the different
grades. For example, if a town operates its own K - 8 schools, but tuitions out
students in grades 9 - 12 to the high school in a neighboring district, the town
may oversee approval of home education plans for students in grades K - 8, while
contracting with the district to which it tuitions high school students to oversee
home education plan approval for those students.
13. Who approves home education for students who have been enrolled in the public
schools under the school choice program?
General Laws Chapter 76, § 1 provides that the superintendent or school
committee of the town
(DRAFT p. 11)
in which the student resides is responsible for approving the student's proposed
home education program. The law does not provide any exception to this rule
for students who are enrolled in a school choice district at the time that their
application for home education approval is made.
14. May a student participate in a school choice program part-time while also
receiving a home education?
No, since students who have been approved for home education are not enrolled
in any public school system but, rather, are privately educated by their parents
as an alternative to public school enrollment. However, there may be circumstances
in which a student participates in and receives academic credit for classes
attended in a school choice district and also receives some instruction at
home. In such a situation, the student is not considered home educated for
purposes of G.L. c. 76, § 1, and remains enrolled in the school choice
district, if the district retains responsibility for supervising and evaluating
the student's progress in the educational program, including those services
delivered at home.
15. Will the new state learning standards affect the home education approval
Pursuant to its authority under the Massachusetts Education Reform Act, the Board
of Education has adopted curriculum frameworks and learning standards for core
academic subjects. While the Act does not directly affect local decisions about
the process and criteria for approval of home education programs, school districts
evaluating a proposed home education program may consider the extent to which
the program addresses the knowledge and skills set forth in the state standards.
16. What role will the new statewide student assessments play in home education
The statewide assessments (Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System, or
MCAS) required by the Education Reform Act measure student progress toward meeting
the learning standards set forth in the Massachusetts curriculum frameworks.
The assessments are administered to public school students in grades 4, 8 and
10. Since children in approved home education programs are not enrolled in public
school, they are not required to take the MCAS tests. Moreover, the assessment
guidelines required by the Education Reform Act do not directly affect the assessment
guidelines established by Charles, which states that a school district may require
home educated children either to take standardized achievement tests or to participate
in another evaluation as agreed by the school district and the home educating
Some school districts and parents have asked whether children in home education
programs may participate in MCAS testing, with the agreement of the school district
and the parents. At this early stage of the MCAS program, the answer is no,
because of administrative costs and other complicating factors. In the future,
after the MCAS is fully implemented, the Department of Education will consider
whether and under what circumstances it is feasible to permit children in home
education programs who wish to take the MCAS tests to do so.
17. Is school district approval required if a parent wishes to home educates
child who is under age 6 or is age 16 or older (i.e., not of compulsory school
(DRAFT p. 12)
No. In Charles the court stated that school committees may enforce, through
the approval process under G.L. c. 76, § 1, certain reasonable educational
requirements similar to those required for public and private schools. Charles at 336. Under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 76, § 1 and Massachusetts
Board of Education regulations, school attendance is required for children
ages 6 to 16. The authority of a school committee to require prior approval
of a home education plan extends only to children of compulsory school age.
A school district may, in its discretion, review and approve a home education
plan for a student age 16 or older at the request of the student's parent.
Some parents seek such approval as a means of providing the documentation that
may be required if their child applies to college or technical school.
18. Are school districts required to have a written policy on home education?
No. Neither the compulsory attendance law nor the Charles decision requires
school districts to have a written policy on home education. Some districts
elect to deal with home education-related questions on a case by case basis
as they arise. Others, particularly those districts with a significant number
of home educating families, have found that having a written policy and set
of procedures saves time and reduces confusion for both school staff and home
educating parents. Whether to adopt a formal home education policy, as well
as the contents of that policy, is a decision to be made by local school officials
based on the needs of their school district.
19. What resources are available to assist parents who are interested in educating
their children at home?
The Department is aware of five Massachusetts organizations that provide parents
with information and assistance regarding home education, each from a distinct
religious, philosophical, or pedagogical perspective. These groups, which are
private, and are not affiliated with or endorsed by the Massachusetts Department
of Education, are:
[Refer to the original .pdf file for these names. We do not include them here
since most of them are out of date in some way.]
20. What role does the Massachusetts Department of Education play with respect
to home education?
Approval and oversight of home education is a local, rather than state, function
in Massachusetts. Therefore, the Department of Education is not involved in
setting policy overseeing school district practices, or otherwise enforcing
the Commonwealth's home education law. The Department does not collect data
from school districts concerning the incidence of home education, and does
not maintain a repository of school district home education policies. When
asked, the Department attempts to provide school officials and parents with
information and answers to questions about the legal requirements for home
education. This Advisory has been prepared to assist us in fulfilling that
limited role. We hope it will be of assistance both to parents considering
or participating in home education, and to school district officials whose
job it is to protect the public interest in the education of all children by
reviewing plans for the home education of students whose parents elect this