The Home School Court Report
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Notice of Intent and Waiver Forms Discrepancies

The Arkansas Department of Education’s 1999–2000 notice of intent form seeks information and contains language not authorized by state law. In the law, the Arkansas General Assembly spells out what parents must tell local superintendents when giving notice of intent to home school. The department of education has no authority to add to these requirements.

The information to be contained in the notice of intent is set forth in § 6-15-503 of Arkansas Statutes Annotated as follows:

    (i) the name, date of birth, grade level, and the name and address of the school last attended, if any, of each student involved;

    (ii) the location of the home school;

    (iii) the basic core curriculum to be offered;

    (iv) the proposed schedule of instruction; and

    (v) the qualifications of the parent/teacher.

However, the 1999–2000 Notice of Intent to Home School form contains the following deviations from state law:

    a) The form must be returned to the local superintendent by August 15 for the entire school year or by December 15 to start the second semester.

This is not entirely accurate in that it fails to recognize the right of parents to begin home schooling after the start of a semester by giving 14 days written notice as set forth in § 6-15-503(a)(1)(C).

    b) The form erroneously states that Act 1117 of 1999 requires testing in grades 5, 7, and 10.

Act 1117 contains no such language. Instead, § 6-15-503(a) requires testing at the grade levels “for which the state mandates norm-referenced tests for public school students. . . .”

    c) The form states that the parent agrees that the child will take an annual standardized achievement test as provided in Act 1117 of 1999.

Not only does state law not require any such agreement, but testing is not required annually as the form states. Further, the testing of some children who are handicapped or who have learning disabilities is inappropriate.

    d) The form states that the parent must notify the local school district of any address change or discontinuance of the home schooling.

There is no statutory authority for this requirement.

    e) The form requests parents to disclose their telephone number to the local superintendent.

Parents who have an unlisted telephone number may consider such disclosure an invasion of privacy. State law does not require the disclosure of this information.

    f) The form requests the parent to indicate his or her occupation.

The parent’s occupation is not only completely irrelevant to the decision to conduct home schooling, but also this information is not required by the statutory language.

    g) The form requires the parent to provide the sex of the child being taught in the home school.

The statutory law imposes no such requirement.

    h) The form seeks to obtain information about the race of the children in the home school.

There is no statutory authority to seek this information.

Another form, the Home School Waiver, also requests the telephone number of the parent or guardian without any authority to do so.

Home School Legal Defense Association has submitted comments to the Arkansas Department of Education’s director, requesting that these forms be revised to conform to state law. HSLDA member families need not provide any information to school officials beyond what the Arkansas General Assembly has prescribed.