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North Carolina

November 1, 2007

DNPE Seeks Meeting With Homeschool Families

In September, the North Carolina Division of Non-Public Education (DNPE) sent a letter to some randomly selected homeschooling families requesting that they voluntarily meet with a representative of DNPE to review their school records. Parents agreeing to meet with the state official were required to bring their attendance, immunization, and standardized test records to be reviewed. Parents were also requested to bring their school-age children, a textbook list, a daily log/lesson plan book, and samples of each student’s work for review by the state official.

State law does not authorize DNPE to conduct such meetings or require homeschooling families to participate in such meetings. Further, state law only authorizes DNPE to inspect standardized test records, not attendance and immunization records. Parents must maintain attendance and immunization records, but they are not subject to routine inspection.

What does the law require you to do? Sections 115C-549 and 115C-557 of the General Statutes of North Carolina state that for one year after the standardized testing, the records must be made available for annual inspection at the principal office of the school at all reasonable times. This means that a DNPE official may come to your home, but not enter your home, to inspect the test results. Home School Legal Defense Association recommends that any such inspection be done on the front porch, not inside your home.

The letter from DNPE instructed the homeschooling families who could not attend the meeting to contact DNPE within 10 days to advise DNPE of this. Although the letter stated that the meeting was voluntary, it is not known what action, if any, DNPE intended to take if a family did not reply to the letter. In the past, DNPE has closed homeschools it has not been able to contact. For this reason, we recommend that families receiving such a letter and deciding not to attend the meeting send a letter to DNPE stating so, even if the time for the proposed meeting has passed.