Publicly-funded Schooling Options
UHEA Statement on Publicly-Funded Schooling Options
UHEA Supports Education in the Home
The Utah Home Education Association supports families who choose to educate their children in the home. We do this by helping parents understand their lawful rights and provide instruction on the use of certain exemptions granted to those who file an affidavit with their school district declaring they will educate their children in a home school. Utah Code 53A-11-102
We recognize that there are many levels at which a family might choose to educate their children in the home and we support parents in choosing the option that is best for their families. Our mission states, “The Utah Home Education Association is established primarily to support the education of children in the home as a viable alternative to the existing public and private educational systems.” One of UHEA’s main goals is “to encourage maintenance and improvement of our rights to educate our own children through support of good legislation, court decisions, and policies established by public school administrators, and to oppose any limitation to these same rights.”
Using Publicly-Funded Options Can Limit Your Rights
Because the exemptions granted by Utah State Law are limited to those parents that have signed and filed an affidavit that their child(ren) will attend a home school, parents who choose an educational option involving virtual charter schools or other publicly-funded options utilized in the home are not technically educating their child(ren) in a home school and are not exempt from standardized tests, home or facility inspections, credentialing, maintaining records of instruction, or attendance requirements of the public school system. Utah Code 53A-11-102(2)(d). Utilizing publicly-funded options restricts UHEA’s ability to direct you to home schooling advice, advocacy, or legislative/legal support. UHEA does not and cannot provide legal counsel, support, or advice, although we can refer to those who do.
Publicly-Funded Options Are Not Homeschooling
It must be understood that these options are not “homeschooling” in the qualitative or legal sense. By enrolling in a publicly-funded online charter school you must comply with the stipulations set forth in the charter and policies, procedures, and limitations set forth more broadly by state and local school boards. Once your student is registered with a publicly-funded school you no longer have the legal protections afforded by the exemptions granted to parents who educate their children in a home school. Utah Code 53A-11-102
Defining Homeschooling Publicly-Funded Options
Homeschooling is best defined as parent or guardian-led, family-funded, relationship-based education of a child at home. At UHEA we prefer the term “home education” because it more fully distinguishes from the publicly-funded school system and allows for a wider variety of educational experiences and methods.
Charter schools are publicly-funded schools that are granted a charter through a contract with the state. Virtual online schools have no “brick and mortar” presence and are instead conducted online. These are often called virtual or online charter schools. Virtual charter schools in particular have presented a schooling option that is easily confused with home schooling. Virtual online charter schools are competing with other publicly-funded schools for thousands of tax dollars paid in per student funds.
Parents Should Choose the Best Option for Their Family
UHEA believes that parents are best at choosing how to educate their children. Our mission states, “that it is the right of all parents to choose, according to individual need and desire, the most beneficial form of education for their children.”