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Florida Home Education Options

200px-Seal of Florida.svgIn Florida, K-12 students and parents have the right to educational choice. Florida’s home educational choice options include:

(1) Private School Choices. Parents may seek private school choice options.

Section 1002.01(2), F.S., states a "private school" is a nonpublic school defined as an individual, association, copartnership, or corporation, or department, division, or section of such organizations, that designates itself as an educational center that includes kindergarten or a higher grade or as an elementary, secondary, business, technical, or trade school below college level or any organization that provides instructional services that meet the intent of s. 1003.01(13) or that gives preemployment or supplementary training in technology or in fields of trade or industry or that offers academic, literary, or career training below college level, or any combination of the above, including an institution that performs the functions of the above schools through correspondence or extension, except those licensed under the provisions of chapter 1005. A private school may be a parochial, religious, denominational, for-profit, or nonprofit school.

The Florida Department of Education does not have jurisdiction over private schools nor does legislation regulate, control, approve, or accredit private schools. The owners of Florida private elementary and secondary schools are solely responsible for all aspects of their educational programs.  There are no state requirements for private school students to take the FCAT or other standardized tests (except that Florida Tax Credit Scholarship students in grades 3 through 10 are required to take the approved norm-referenced assessment), and private schools do not have to follow a certain curriculum. Florida private schools establish their own academic, graduation or promotion requirements. Since private school transcripts and diplomas are not approved by the Florida Department of Education, it is wise to verify with prospective colleges, universities, and employers that  diplomas and transcripts from a specific private school are accepted.

As defined by the Florida Department of Education, the term "umbrella school" is sometimes used to refer to a private school offering distance programs or services to enrolled students. If students are registered with a private school listed in the Florida Private Schools Directory, they are considered private school students, not home education students, regardless of where, or by whom, they receive instruction. Parents who enroll their children in umbrella schools usually decide on their children's curriculum, and, oftentimes, parents are only required to keep attendance records. (Some umbrella schools require specific curriculum, annual testing, and/or grade reporting.)

(2) Home Education. Parents may choose to place the student in a home education program.

Section 1002.01(1), F.S., defines home education as the sequentially progressive instruction of a student directed by his or her parent  in order to satisfy the attendance requirements of ss. 1002.41, 1003.01(13), and 1003.21(1). There is no required curriculum or course of study and the parent is not required to hold a valid regular Florida teaching certificate. Any parent who complies with the reporting, record keeping, and student evaluation requirements specified in the Florida Statutes may conduct a home education program.

As required by Section 1002.41, F.S., to establish a home education program and maintain compliance with the statute, a parent must notify the district school superintendent of the county in which the parent resides of his or her intent to establish and maintain a home eduction program, maintain a portfolio of records and materials, provide for an annual educational evaluation that documents the student's demonstration of educational process, and submit a letter of termination within 30 days after said termination.

It is important to note that district schools do not have the authority to exceed the Florida Statutes with local policies. The district school must abide by the home education guidelines as listed in Florida Statutes.

(3) Private tutoring.  The parent of a student may choose to place the student in a private tutoring program in accordance with the provisions of Section 1002.43(1), F.S..

Under a private tutoring program, the tutor must holds a valid Florida certificate to teach the subjects or grades in which instruction is given, and the tutor keeps all records and makes all reports required by the state and district school board and makes regular attendance reports.

You can read more about your school choices at The Florida Department of Education.

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