New Law Removes Accountability and Credentialing from Homeschooling Requirements

Passed as a part of the education overall bill, Issue 1, a new law will remove accountability and credentialing requirements for homeschooled students and their guardians. Proponents argue that the new law removes unnecessary paperwork and gives parents more flexibility. Critics worry that some students will not receive the quality education they deserve and will be left behind.

Fewer Restrictions on Homeschooling

In October, the new law will remove all previous homeschool reporting requirements. This includes submitting several forms to the superintendent including curriculum, a textbook list, and proof the home teacher has a diploma. The parents also were required to administer standardized tests to their child and report those scores to the district to prove they are on track. 

Starting in October, homeschooling parents only have to send a single letter to the superintendent with their child’s name, birthday, address and intent to homeschool.

In addition to removing these reporting and credentialing requirements, the new law also:

  • Excuses a child from attending school if the child is receiving home education in core subject areas supervised and directed by the child’s parent, instead of if the child is receiving education from a “qualified” person.
  • In the event of cessation of proper home instruction, removes the district superintendent’s explicit power to recall previously excused absences and pursue truancy charges.
  • Prohibits the Director of Education and Workforce (formally Ohio Department of Education) from adopting any additional rules regarding home education.

Proponents Argue More Flexibility Leads to Tailored Learning

According to WFMJ News, supporters feel tailored learning from parents could be a better path for some children. 

Amy Buchmeyer, a staff attorney at Home School Legal Defense Association argues, “What this does is it frees parents up to focus on educating and not teaching towards an assessment at the end of the year,” “It doesn’t limit them, it allows them to focus on where their kid is at with their education.”

She continues, ““What you’re giving this child is the one on one education that a parent can provide because they know their student best.”  

Educators, Administrators, and Advocates Worry Less Accountability Equals More Problems

Critics, including educators and school administrators, worry that a lack of accountability can create serious problems for students, school districts, and communities.

Poland Superintendent Craig Hockenberry told WFMJ News that he supports homeschooling because it’s best for some families – but he is concerned some students might fall through the cracks under this new law. 

“There are some kids that may not be progressing properly, may not be learning to read and write very well, need social interactions, mental health support, medical support and we no longer can evaluate that or deliver any service to them at all,” he said. 

Opponents are also concerned that this law will allow for more incidents like the revelation in February that an Ohio-based homeschooling network was disseminating neo-Nazi propaganda and hate-filled lesson plans to an online community of like-minded Nazi parents. 

The nonprofit group, Honesty for Education, details opponents’ concerns in their opposition statement to Issue 1.  They believe SB 1 is loosening oversight where it should tighten it:

  • SB 1 freezes oversight, rules, and regulations around loosely-regulated non-chartered, nonpublic schools and  the homeschooling system. This lack of regulation has had a detrimental impact on Ohio, public education, students, and families. Leaders need to examine how to tighten oversight and regulations over systems that are easily manipulated, divest state funds away from public education, endanger students, and threaten public safety.
  • Leaders must eliminate any opportunity for dangerous extremists to use Ohio’s homeschooling network to proliferate hate, discrimination, violence, and genocidal values. Further, the current lack of oversight and rules around homeschooling make the system a convenient vehicle to exploit and endanger children with no accountability.

The law goes into effect October 3.


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