The law in Michigan governing compulsory attendance requires a parent, legal guardian, or other person having control or charge of a child age six to sixteen to send the child to school during the entire school year [MCL 380.1561(3)]. (See Attachment A.) A child is not required to attend a public school in the following cases:
(3) (a) The child is attending regularly and is being taught in a state approved nonpublic school,
which teaches subjects comparable to those taught in the public schools to children of corresponding age and grade, as determined by the course of study for the public schools of the district within which the nonpublic school is located.
(3) (f) The child is being educated at the child’s home by his or her parent or legal guardian in an
organized educational program in the subject areas of reading, spelling, mathematics, science,
history, civics, literature, writing, and English grammar.1
(4) For a child being educated at the child’s home by his or her parent or legal guardian,
exemption from the requirement to attend public school may exist under either subsection (3)(a) or
(3)(f), or both.
NONPUBLIC SCHOOL DEFINITION
A nonpublic school is defined under section 388.552 of the Private, Denominational and Parochial Schools Act, 1921 PA 302 [MCL 388.552]. (See Attachment B.)
A home school family operating under 380.1561(3)(a) as described above is considered a nonpublic school if in compliance with the Private, Denominational and Parochial Schools Act, 1921 PA 302. If a home school family chooses to operate under exemption (a), it may report to the Michigan Department of Education. (See Reporting.)
Nonpublic School Membership Report
The Nonpublic School Membership Report (Form SM4325) is an annual report used by the Department. Information requested on the form includes the number of students in each grade, teacher qualifications, and the course of study offered. Use of the form is authorized by section 5 of the Nonpublic School Act, and was approved by the Michigan Supreme Court in Sheridan Road Baptist Church v Department of Education, 426 Mich 462, 472, n 5; 396 NW2d 373 (1986) and Clonlara, Inc v State Board of Education, 442 Mich 230, 242, 501 NW2d 88 (1993).
Forms are sent to nonpublic schools in late summer with an early October due date. New nonpublic schools may request the Nonpublic School Membership Report (Form SM4325) from the Department by calling (517) 373-0796.
The Department forwards the list of nonpublic schools that have completed the reporting process to the appropriate intermediate school district, which then forwards the names to the local school districts. If a home school family chooses to operate solely under exemption (f), see information under Attachment B-1. 1 This listing of subjects applies to exemption (f) home schools. The Department of Education has historically interpreted comparable curricula for nonpublic schools to be: mathematics, reading, English, science, and social studies in all grades, and the Constitution of the United States, the Constitution of Michigan, and the history and present form of civil government of the United States, the State of Michigan, and the political subdivisions and municipalities of the State of Michigan in high school.
COURSES OF STUDY
Nonpublic schools shall provide curricula comparable to those provided in local school districts. Instruction includes mathematics, reading, English, science, social studies in all grades, and the Constitution of the United States, the Constitution of Michigan, and the history and present form of civil government of the United States, the State of Michigan, and the political subdivisions and municipalities of the State of Michigan in high school. The state does not require specific content in the basic courses. Nonpublic schools, however, may wish to use the Michigan Curriculum Framework that has been developed for public schools in Michigan. The framework is available at the Michigan Department of Education webpage at http://www.michigan.gov/mde or contact the Curriculum Leadership Unit at (517) 373-7248.
In 1993, the Michigan Supreme Court in Clonlara, Inc v State Board of Education (442 Mich 252) ruled that the Nonpublic School Act did not require a nonpublic school to be in session for 180 days required for public schools. The Department recommends, however, that a nonpublic school develop a school year calendar comparable to the public school district where the nonpublic school is located. Public schools are required to provide a minimum of 180 days and 1,098 hours of pupil instruction [MCL 388.1701(3)].
Nonpublic schools and home school families may purchase the textbooks and the instructional materials they deem necessary. Textbooks and curriculum materials may be purchased from a teacher bookstore. Support services may be contracted but are not required by law. Information regarding home school support services and materials may be accessed on the Internet at the following search prompts: home school curriculum, home school associations, or correspondence schools.
ENROLLMENT IN PUBLIC SCHOOL CLASSES
Nonpublic and home school students may enroll in nonessential elective classes at the resident public school (Snyder v Charlotte Public Schools, 421 Mich 517, 365 NW2d 151 (1984)). Students in home school families operating under exemption (f) may also enroll in nonessential elective classes at the resident public school. (See Attachment G.) In July 1997, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Agostini v Felton that public schools may provide shared time courses to nonpublic school students on nonpublic school premises using public school employees.
Nonessential elective classes may include, but are not limited to: band, drama, art, physical education, music, computer, and advanced placement courses.
REGIONAL EDUCATIONAL MEDIA CENTERS (REMC)
A Regional Educational Media Center (REMC) provides a service that is available to nonpublic and home school students. The REMCs work cooperatively with one or more intermediate school districts for the improvement of instruction in Michigan’s elementary and secondary schools. Most REMCs offer: instructional materials including video, video disk, and computer software; cooperative purchasing of equipment, supplies and media; Internet access and support; production services; technological problem solving; training in the use of all types of equipment; training in the integration of media into instruction, media and technology consulting; and a distribution system. Additional services include: inservice media; AV, video and computer equipment repair; desktop publishing, graphic design and layout; printing; video production, editing and duplication; professional library and online services; instructional television or building based video collections; and satellite downlink services.
For additional information regarding REMCs please contact your intermediate school district or visit their webpage at: http://www.remc.org/.
DRIVER EDUCATION and BUS TRANSPORTATION
A nonpublic or home school student is eligible to enroll in a driver education program provided at the public school district where the student is a resident [MCL 257.811]. If the resident public school does not operate a driver education program, the district issues a “Certificate of Participation” to the eligible resident student that can be used at another public or private driver education program. For further information regarding driver education, please contact Greg Lantzy, School Support Services, Department of Education, at (517) 373-0763. For information on school bus transportation for nonpublic school students, please contact Greg Lantzy, School Support Services, Department of Education, at (517) 373-0763.
ATHLETICS and EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES
The supervision and control of interscholastic athletics are the responsibility of each local board of education. Most local boards have adopted policies as proposed by the Michigan High School Athletic Association. Please contact the appropriate local school district or the Michigan High School Athletic Association at (517) 332-5046 or access information from the following Internet address: http://www.mhsaa.com/.
In order to participate in public school extracurricular activities, a student should be enrolled part-time in the public school.
There is no law that requires nonpublic schools to maintain student records. Parents are encouraged to maintain student records of progress throughout the year. These records will assist public or nonpublic school personnel with placement should the student enroll in a public school.
TRANSFER OF GRADES and CREDITS
The granting of credits and placement of students is solely determined by the receiving public or nonpublic school. Nonpublic schools and home school families are encouraged to determine what the public school policy is for grade placement and granting of credits should a student decide to return to the public system. If a student attends a nonpublic or home school and returns to a public school, the public school generally reevaluates the student for grade placement and the transfer of credit. The issuance of report cards, transcripts, and diplomas are the responsibility of the nonpublic school and home school family (based on internal standards).
MEAP and MICHIGAN MERIT AWARD PROGRAM
Nonpublic schools and home school students may choose to take the Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP) test [MCL 380.1279(14) and MCL 388.1704a(15)]. Nonpublic schools may choose to administer the MEAP test. For more information, contact http://www.michigan.gov/meap.
Starting in Spring 2007, the Michigan Merit Examination (MME) will replace the MEAP high school assessment, if approved by the U.S. Department of Education. The MME is based on the ACT and WorkKeys tests and will result in students receiving a college-reportable ACT score at no cost. If the U.S. Department of Education does not approve the use of the MME, the MEAP assessments will once again be offered. More information on how nonpublic school students and home school students will participate in the MME can be found at http://www.michigan.gov/mme.
MEAP Test Centers (or MME Test Centers) are operated by the Michigan Department of Education exclusively for the benefit of nonpublic school students whose own school does not offer the MEAP test, and other qualifying students. Registration information is available at http://www.michigan.gov/meap, then click on “MEAP Test Centers.” Students are assigned to Test Center sites on a first-come, first-served basis. Students who do not register by the postmark deadline indicated on the registration form will have fewer desirable locations and dates from which to choose. Nonpublic school students whose own school offers the MEAP or MME tests, or whose own school has made arrangements with another school to test the entire class, are not permitted to test at a MEAP or MME Test Center.
Home school students who wish to take the MEAP tests for purposes of earning a Michigan Merit Award should contact the public school district in which they reside. It is the parent’s responsibility to contact the local public school district and stay informed of testing dates, registration procedures, etc. Home school students are not permitted to test at a MEAP Test Center (or MME Test Center).
The Merit Award Scholarship Act (1999 PA 94) established the Michigan Merit Award Program. The program provides a merit award based on student achievement on the MEAP exams. Under the program, a student may be eligible for a high school award of $2,500 to be used at any approved postsecondary education institution. The award is available to public, nonpublic, and home school students who meet the eligibility requirements. More information on the Merit Award Scholarship Program can be found at http://www.michigan.gov/meritaward.
The Youth Employment Standards Act at MCL 409.104 states:
“...a minor shall not be employed in an occupation regulated by this act until the person proposing to employ the minor procures from the minor and keeps on file at the place of employment a copy of the work permit or a temporary permit. The work permit shall be issued by the issuing officer of the school district, intermediate school district, public school academy, or nonpublic school at which the minor is enrolled, and a copy of the work permit shall be placed in the minor’s permanent school file for as long as the minor is employed. A temporary permit shall be valid for 10 days from the date of issue. A work permit may be issued by the school district in which the minor’s place of employment is located, or by the public school academy or nonpublic school nearest that place of employment.”
Minors seeking employment who are home schooled shall be issued a work permit by the issuing officer of the school district, intermediate school district, public school academy, or nonpublic school in which the minor’s residence or prospective employer is located. The minor must present a signed, written statement from the parent or guardian, as the instructor of record, indicating how many hours per week the student is being home schooled. The issuing officer will review the parent/guardian statement and issue the work permit with those hours reflected. The issuing officer will attach the parent/guardian statement to the work permit and keep a copy of the statement with their copy of the work permit filed at the school.
For additional information, contact Diana Bailey, Department of Labor and Economic Growth, at (517) 373-8904 (Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Michigan Homeschool Message Board
P. O. Box 813
Clarkston, MI 48347-0813