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California

June 7, 2010

Surprising Changes in DMV Policy

In the state of California, parents have not been authorized to teach driver education and driver training. Any parent wanting their child to obtain a driving permit needed to have him or her complete a driver education/driver training course through a public or private school, or commercial driving program. For many years homeschoolers were able to provide driver education/driver training via the private school exemption without any great difficulty. However, over the last several years, it had become virtually impossible for private “homeschools” to continue to offer this program in their schools.

The Department of Motor Vehicles became aware that homeschool parents operating under the private school exemption were in actuality providing driver education/driver training to their own children. DMV took the position that parents were not authorized to provide driver education/driver training in California and started denying forms to private schools that were not listed in the online Private School Directory maintained by the Department of Education.

Years ago the legislature directed the Department of Education not to maintain directory listings for private schools with five or fewer students, presumably a “homeschool.” This made it easy for the DMV to determine if the requisition form was coming from a “real” private school or a homeschool operating as a private school.

Thanks to constant pressure from the homeschool leadership in California, and in particular, the work of Mary Schofield dialoging with the DMV for many years, the DMV has stopped its practice of rejecting forms from small schools and has revised the requisition form to specifically ask when the form is being submitted by a Public Secondary School, a Private Secondary School, or a Home School or Private School Satellite Program.

Our first reaction was of course, concern that the DMV was using the term “home school“ when that term does not appear anywhere in California statutes. But we’ve been advised that the reason behind this change is that the legislature is interested in collecting data on the success of parent-taught driver education/driver training over the institutional and commercial driving programs.

Recently National Drivers Training Institute received approval from the DMV for the education portion of the training. NDTI provides an online drivers education program for the classroom portion of the drivers training. NDTI’s national statistics have demonstrated that parent-taught drivers education produces superior teenage drivers than other forms of drivers training.

Please note in the article “Driver Education Requisition Form Changes,” that DMV is phasing out the old forms by September 2010.

 Other Resources

New forms are available on the DMV website.