- PO Box 2502
Madison, WI 53701
August 25, 2020 – Wisconsin Homeschooling Parents Association Statement Regarding August 24, 2020 Statement from Wisconsin Superintendent of Schools Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Wisconsin Homeschooling Parents Association (formerly Wisconsin Parents Association) has been communicating with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) regarding ongoing, urgent issues for Wisconsin parents choosing to homeschool this year. WHPA issued two previous statements to DPI, asking for prompt and decisive action.
Today, State Superintendent of Schools Carolyn Stanford Taylor issued a statement entitled COVID-19 Regulatory Flexibility Framework Provisions for the 2020-21 School Year 08/24/20. In this statement, DPI offers clear guidance to all Wisconsin school districts. Under the section entitled “Home Based Private Education (Homeschooling),” the statement reads:
Home-Based Private Educational Program (Homeschooling)
Statutes provide parents or guardians through October 15 [Wis. Stats. 115.30 (30)] to submit their homeschool enrollment form. School districts may contact parents or guardians about their intent to enroll so they can fulfill attendance requirements and discuss child find activities, but there is no requirement in statute to provide this notification to school districts until October 15. School districts that are provided with an intent to enroll in home school [sic] should treat that as an official notification for attendance purposes until an official enrollment form is filed.
Wisconsin Statutes 115.001 (3g) define a home-based private educational program as “a program of educational instruction provided to a child by the child’s parent or guardian or by a person designated by the parent or guardian. An instructional program provided to more than one family unit does not constitute a home-based private educational program.”
This statement from the Department of Public Instruction serves as an important notice to all Wisconsin school districts to immediately do the following:
- Stop attempting to require parents to notify school districts of their intent to homeschool. No school district policy, form, or statement should demand or imply that parents need to notify a school district of homeschooling. Parents are not required to contact their school or school district to notify them of their intent to homeschool. The filing of the PI-1206 Homeschool Report on or before October 15 is sufficient.
- Accept that parent notification of the intent to homeschool, if provided as a courtesy, is sufficient under the law to proceed with homeschooling. There is nothing in Wisconsin law that requires any form, statement, or other instrument to “withdraw” or “remove from the attendance rolls” any student whose parent intends to homeschool, before October 15. Parents are not required to contact their school or school district to notify them of their intent to homeschool. The filing of the PI-1206 Homeschool Report on or before October 15 is sufficient.
- Stop harassing, pressuring, requiring, or attempting to require homeschooling parents to file the PI-1206 Homeschool Report before the statutory deadline of October 15. No school district policy, form, or statement should demand or imply that parents need to file the PI-1206 at any time before October 15. The filing of the PI-1206 Homeschool Report on or before October 15 is sufficient.
- Stop harassing and/or discriminating against homeschooling families in any policy, or action taken, or statements made by school or school district authorities. No school district policy, form, action, or statement should treat homeschooling families differently from any other family withdrawing from a school district for any reason.
- Stop threatening homeschooling families with truancy charges. This statement from the DPI clarifies that the filing of the PI-1206 Homeschool Report is sufficient. Parental notification provided as a courtesy is also sufficient to remove homeschooling children from attendance rolls. Therefore, until after October 15, no homeschooled child may be marked as having an unexcused absence, and therefore no homeschooled child may be referred for the truancy process.
WHPA sincerely thanks the Superintendent for making these important clarifications of Wisconsin law, and of homeschoolers’ rights. This statement provides assurance that Wisconsin law is correctly applied across the state, in every school district.
WHPA will continue to communicate with DPI, to ensure clarity that these statements are applicable to every homeschooling family in Wisconsin, in every year.
WHPA sincerely thanks all our member families, and non-members, who reached out with information about their experiences with schools and school districts this fall.
This statement from DPI is a testament to the power of WHPA’s hard-working volunteers, our 37 years of institutional knowledge, and our unwavering commitment to keeping homeschooling working for every Wisconsin family.