A Brief History of the Ohio Home Education Regulations
In 1987, an Ohio court ruled that “a superintendent cannot promulgate his own standards concerning home schooling.” The judge stated that the Ohio Revised Code (the law) was too vague to be of any assistance to superintendents, and ruled that “until the State School Board acted, there was very little a court could do to stop home educators, and therefore, until such time as the State Board of Education adopted minimum standards (regulations) which go no further than necessary to assure the State’s legitimate interest in the education of children at home, the balance was weighed in favor of the rights of the parent to direct the education, religious or secular, of his or her children.”
In March, 1988 a citizen’s Advisory Committee was appointed by the State Board of Education to recommend to the State Board of Education a proposed rule under section 3321.04 of the Revised Code that would establish a standard to be applied by superintendents in determining whether to excuse a child from the compulsory attendance law for the purpose of home education.
This committee was composed of nineteen members. Four members were home educators, one member was a pro-home education attorney, and one was the head of a non-public school that provides a satellite program for home-educated children. The remainder of the committee was made up of public education representatives including city, county, and exempted village superintendents, and elementary and secondary school principals. In addition there were representatives of the Ohio Education Association, The Ohio Federation of Teachers, the Ohio School Boards Association, and the PTA. This committee labored together discussing and drafting the regulations from April, 1988 through March, 1989.
Advisory Committee Members:
|Betty Baker||William Ihde|
|Thomas Baker||Donna Lightel|
|Beverly Basler||Robert Melnick|
|Robert Bowers (ODE)||Mary Posten (ODE)|
|William Clark,||Chairman Carolyn Reed|
|Ruth Clephane||Ronald Roth|
|Diane Dawson||Claude Schindler, Jr.|
|James Dehnart||Ron Thompson|
|Diana Fessler||Sharon Tullis|
|Mark Gagyi||Dorothy Wilson|
The regulations were adopted by the State Board of Education on July 10, 1989 and they became effective on August 1, 1989. The regulations are entitled The Rules for Excuses From Compulsory Attendance for Home Education (Administrative Code 3301-34). These rules establish a standard which all superintendents must use in determining whether a person is qualified to teach.
The expressed purpose of the regulation is to safeguard the primary right of parents to provide the education for their children by prescribing conditions which must be consistently applied by superintendents.
By Diana Fessler, author of HomeEducation: Answers for Ohio Parents