Dear County and District Superintendents:
Homeschooling Guidance, Reminders, and Resources
It has come to the California Department of Education’s (CDE’s) attention that due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, more parents may opt to homeschool their children this coming school year in a “private school setting” and not part of an independent study or home-based study option offered by a local educational agency (LEA). The purpose of this letter is to provide resources to LEAs to aid in informing parents of their legal requirements for homeschooling, to remind LEAs of their responsibility to verify compulsory education exemptions, and to highlight available resources for verifying compulsory education exemptions for students enrolled in private/home schools.
Providing Guidance for Parents Opting to Homeschool
The CDE encourages LEAs to inform parents of their legal requirements should they decide to homeschool their children in a private school setting. Each person between the ages of 6 and 18 is subject to compulsory full-time education, unless he or she is exempted as provided under current law. Whether a home-schooled child is exempt from public school attendance is a determination made by the supervisor of attendance or other person designated by the local governing board.
Parents who opt to privately educate or “home school” their children must first properly file a Private School Affidavit (PSA) with the CDE (Education Code (EC) Section 33190). The supervisor of attendance or other person designated by the local governing board will then verify that an affidavit was properly filed. By filing an affidavit, the owner/head of the school acknowledges, under penalty of perjury, that the (home) school meets all statutory requirements for a full-time private school, such as keeping a record of attendance, which includes noting all absences of a half day or more, grade reporting, and providing instructional materials.
It is important to note that the verification required by EC Section 48222 shall not be construed as an evaluation, approval, or endorsement of any private school or course.
For more information, LEAs may refer parents to the CDE’s “Schooling at Home” web page located at https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/ps/homeschool.asp, which includes information about filing the PSA as well as educational resources.
Resources for Verifying Affidavits
We’d like to remind LEAs that the Private School Search Tool is available for LEAs to search for and obtain information about the private schools in their county. This tool may be used to obtain a copy of a filed PSA, which includes information about when it was filed and who filed it. The Private School Search Tool is available from the CDE website at https://www3.cde.ca.gov/psa/COELogin.
Although this tool is not new, the CDE recently upgraded the PSA filing system, which includes this search tool, therefore, the URL for the search tool has changed. All previously issued passwords for logging into the search tool are still valid. However, should you need a password to access the search tool, please contact CDE Private School Data staff at the email provided below.
New Look for the Private School Affidavit
As previously mentioned, the CDE recently upgraded the PSA filing system. As a result, the PSA looks different than you may be accustomed to. In addition to some formatting and organizational changes, all PSAs filed through the new PSA filing system will now include the CDE website logo, as well as filing confirmation information at the bottom.
We appreciate your assistance in helping to inform parents of their responsibilities should they opt to homeschool. We also hope the information and resources provided here help to streamline your PSA verification process. Should you have questions about the contents of this letter, please contact CDE Private School Data staff by email at email@example.com.
Jerry Winkler, Director
Educational Data Management Division