The Freedom to Use Your Own Form, or No Form
by Scott Woodruff • April 17, 2018
For decades, Arkansas homeschool families have been told that they must use the Department of Education’s form when they file their annual notice of intent, but that’s (hopefully) about to change.
As I reported on January 8, I asked the Arkansas commissioner of education to abolish the long-standing regulation that requires homeschool families to use the department’s own form when filing their annual notice.
My reasons were simple. The purpose of regulations is to implement legislative mandates, not impose new requirements. The homeschool statutes do not require homeschool families to use any particular form (or any form at all), so the regulation requiring families to use a state form lacks a foundation.
The commissioner changed the draft regulations in line with my comments to make using the state form optional. The commissioner also made the other change I requested—deleting the requirement that families notarize their form if their child might be seeking a GED.
I deeply appreciate the willingness of the department and the commissioner to take a fresh look at these issues.
The State Board of Education added its own approval to these changes on April 14 (as well as other rule modifications on which I did not request a change). These will soon go to the Administrative Rules & Regulations subcommittee of the General Assembly’s Legislative Council. The changes will become effective 10 days after the full legislative council approves them.
I will offer detailed guidance after the legislative council finishes its work on the new rules.