As the U.S. Census Bureau launched the January 2000 census, many parents have called HSLDA, wanting to know what their rights are and how they can protect the integrity and confidentiality of their home schools as they respond to the census questionnaire.
According to the Census Bureau, there are two types of forms, and only one will be mailed to your residence. The mailing is done by random computer selection. The first formcalled the short formis mailed to 83 percent of all United States households. This brief form has seven questions for the head of the household: name, age, date of birth, sex, race, Hispanic origin, homeowner or renter. The rest of the individuals in the house must answer six questions: name, age, date of birth, sex, race, and Hispanic origin.
The second form is called the long form. With 53 questions, the long form is what some people may see as a more intrusive invasion of privacy. It is mailed out to 17 percent of the populationone out of every six households.
You will encounter one question about educationschool enrollmenton the census long form. HSLDA recommends that you check the private school option for your home school, simply because there is no home school option, and in many states a home school can be considered a private school.
There is clear warning in the federal code against refusal to give information to a census worker. There is also a federal requirement that the Census Bureau must keep all information you give them private and confidential.
HSLDA hopes this article provides you with the information that you need as a home school family to protect the confidentiality of your home school and to understand the legal authority behind this census.
NOTE: Visit http://nche.hslda.org for more information.