In the weeks and months ahead, homeschoolers who are displaced, yet continuing their children’s educations at wherever they’re now calling home, may wonder whose education laws they must follow. Suffice it to say that until now, no ‘displaced person’ status for homeschooling families has been formulated.
In general when a family moves from one state to another, they must change their homeschooling to reflect the conditions in their new state-of-residence. Just as one follows local civil law as one moves about the country (not knowing local law being said not to be an excuse for not complying), so one follows educational law. Military families juggle compliance with homeschooling laws each time they move. An analysis of this particular wrinkle of military homeschooling life is available at the CONUS Homeschooling page of The Military Homeschooler website.
But what if the ‘move’ is involuntary? Displaced families weren’t planning on moving, so have they indeed ‘moved?’ Much probably depends on their intentions, and the length of the displacement.
For families who are relocated after the hurricane, and do not intend to return to their former home, the laws of the new state will apply.
For families who are displaced, but who intend to return, a period of a month to 45 days will probably be considered a time of transition or may be considered a grace period where the family is considered to be ‘only visiting.’ In this case, local ‘education law’ per se probably wouldn’t apply. It is to be hoped that just as the federal government, "will ignore deadlines facing school systems in gulf states on some federal financing programs," that homeschooling families will be granted an extended grace period concerning compliance with local regulations even though local schools accepting displaced children will be granted no grace period for NCLB compliance. Perhaps the standard can be that of residency requirements for in-state college tuition:
- International education: Understanding the requirements for each state
The most common durational requirement of 12 months now applies to nearly all states and the District of Columbia. Institutions in two states have a 6-month durational requirement. Only one state, Tennessee, has no durational requirement at all. The durational residency is viewed as the minimum reasonable time period during which new residents can contribute to the state – through economic, civic, political or social actions – before enjoying the benefits of subsidized tuition (in-state fees) at a state institution.
All in all, the legal status of homeschooling families will probably be small potatoes compared to the problems of taxes on work performed while displaced, the status of displaced persons for unemployement compensation, how to renew driving licenses while out of state, and absentee-voting in the annual November elections, and for children enrolling in schools without records from their home state.
- Kokomo Tribune, Kokomo, Indiana, 6 September 2005, Schools prepare to help victims
Reed also said due to "extreme circumstances," students may be admitted to school without immunization records for a time. She said the Indiana State Department of Health is arranging access to immunization registries of the affected states.