Bill 31-0391: Moves Authority to Govern Homeschooling From Board of Education to Legislature

Virgin Islands
Virgin Islands

Last Updated: January 4, 2017
Bill 31-0391: Moves Authority to Govern Homeschooling From Board of Education to Legislature
Senator Novell E. Francis, Jr.

1. The Board of Education is totally out of the loop—they have no further responsibility for homeschooling. The 1998 regulations are gone, and the Board’s harsh proposed regulations will never become effective.

2. Parents and persons in a parent-like relationship can homeschool their children.

3. Each year by September 1, the homeschool family must file a “notice of intent to provide home instruction.” English, math, science and social studies are the required subjects. No particular form is required. A notice that does not comply with the law can result in enforcement action against a family.

4. The Commissioner of Education will annually request a portfolio of each child’s work. Enforcement action may be taken against families who do not comply. Parents must keep a copy of each portfolio until the child receives a high school diploma.

5. Section 84(i), the fourth sentence, says the Commissioner “may” interview the child in connection with the annual portfolio review. However, we believe this requirement is unconstitutional. HSLDA members should contact us immediately if any representative of the Commissioner’s office seeks to interview a child.

6. The Commissioner may request that a child take a standardized test in grades 3, 5, 8 and 11. However, parents, not the Commissioner, may choose which test to employ.

7. A high school diploma the parent issues after a child completes a homeschool program in compliance with the law must be acknowledged by all U.S. Virgin Islands government agencies. The parent must file a copy of the diploma with the Department of Education. After receipt of the diploma, the child is exempt from compulsory attendance. The Department must maintain the diploma and all other homeschool records to the same extent as public school students. All information must be protected as confidential.

HSLDA's Position:
Action Requested:
None at this time

8/18/2016 Bill filed
10/4/2016 Committee on Education and Workforce Development hearing
11/18/2016 Rules Committee hearing
11/30/2016 Committee of the Whole
12/20/2016 Unanimous approval of full legislature

 Other Resources

Bill Text

Virgin Islands Consortium: Senators Should Support Homeschooling