Federal Legislation and Homeschoolers

Q. Will the new federal law that reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) affect homeschoolers?

A. The Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965* (ESEA) must be reauthorized every 15 years. You’re probably familiar with the 2001 reauthorized version was known as No Child Left Behind. The 2015 version is now called The Every Student Succeeds Act. Language remains in this version that protects homeschools and private schools (those that do not accept federal funds) from any federal control.

In part, Section 8506 of the 2015 federal law states, “APPLICABILITY TO HOME SCHOOLS.-Nothing in this Act shall be construed to affect a home school, whether or not a home school is treated as a home school or a private school under State law, nor shall any student schooled at home be required to participate in any assessment referenced in this Act.”

In addition, the 2015 reauthorization includes some restrictions on the advancement of the Common Core, but there are still requirements on states and local school districts. Although homeschool freedoms are protected in this legislation, the federal government continues to be involved in local public education.

*HEAV worked with HSLDA in 1996 in the battle against H.R. 6. The 1996 version of the ESEA required every teacher to be certified in the subject and grade they taught–this included homeschool teachers. The Capitol switchboard was shut down from more than one-million calls opposing the bill, and H.R. 6 was soundly defeated! The 2001 reauthorization included protective language that remains in the most recent 2015 Every Student Succeeds Act.

Best Regards,

Yvonne Bunn
HEAV Director of Homeschool Support and Government Affairs

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