August 7, 2001

Delaware: A Problem in the Making?

Passed by the Delaware General Assembly and signed on July 30 by Governor Ruth Ann Minner, Senate Joint Resolution (SJR) 9 creates a committee to study home schooling over the next seven months. The findings and recommendations of this committee may dramatically affect the requirements for parents teaching their children at home.

HSLDA is urging home schoolers in Delaware to contact their state senators and representative with this message:

"As you know, SJR 9 creates a committee to study home schooling in Delaware. Please support efforts to preserve the historical status of home schools as private schools in our state and oppose efforts to impose any additional government restrictions on home schooling families."

According to SJR 9, the purpose of the committee is three-fold: (1) to consider reporting requirements to the Department of Education, (2) to define non-public schools, and (3) to consider "many situations that deviate from the traditional homeschool setting that may require compliance with existing health and safety standards for children in these settings."

The members of the committee will be the secretary of the Delaware Department of Education or his designee, the secretary of the state Department of Health and Social Services or his designee, a representative of the Childcare Licensing Section of the state Department of Services for Children, Youth and their Families, two representatives of the home school community appointed by the governor, a representative of the Delaware Association of Independent Schools appointed by the governor, one member of the Senate, and one member of the House of Representative, a total of eight members. The committee must report its findings to the governor, the president pro tempore of the Senate, the speaker of the House of Representatives and the secretary of the Department of Education by March 1, 2002.

Creation of the committee came about after an unsuccessful effort by the Delaware Department of Education to change the law for home schools' reporting of enrollment and attendance. That effort, Senate Bill 165, would have removed home schools from the category of private schools and perhaps subjected home schools to whatever reporting requirements the Department of Education prescribed. Fortunately, this bill died in the Senate Education Committee.

Current law states that reporting of enrollment by private schools is to be done on forms prescribed by the Delaware Department of Education. Current law also requires the registration of a home school association or organization with the Department of Education. No particular form for registration is prescribed by state law, so HSLDA has developed a form to assist our members in such registration. Additionally, we have developed another form for use by our members' home school students not affiliated with an association or organization registered with the Department of Education but being instructed under the auspices of the local public school superintendent. As always, HSLDA recommends to our Delaware members that they avoid any reporting requirements as an individual family by enrolling their children in an established private school for students receiving home instruction.

 Other Resources

More information on Senate Joint Resolution 9: Homeschool Review Committee