TEACH CT maintains that the Compulsory Attendance portion of 10-184 (see The Law) does not apply to home education but only to those students who attend public school or another option (e.g., private school or tutor). TEACH CT also maintains that it is not the duty of the State Board of Education (SBOE) to determine equivalency, but rather a matter for the courts in a case regarding educational neglect. Nevertheless, because the matter has not yet been decided by a court and the SBOE continues to interpret 10-184 as granting them the authority to determine equivalency, it developed the guidelines outlining the NOI procedure.
The Notice of Intent is a form that can be filed with your local school district which states that you intend to home educate your child for a given school year and outlines the subjects for which you intend to provide instruction. Refer to Instructions for Completing a Notice of Intent Form for help with completing this form.
Click here or in the sidebar to view a sample Notice of Intent form.
According to CT General Statute 10-184, “Parents… [have the primary responsibility to bring up their children ] in some honest employment and instruct them or cause them to be instructed in reading, writing, spelling, English grammar, geography, arithmetic and United States history and in citizenship, including a study of the town, state and federal governments. Subject to the provisions of this section…each parent…shall cause such child to attend a public school regularly…unless such child is a high school graduate or the parent or person having control of such child is able to show that the child is elsewhere receiving equivalent instruction in the studies taught in the public schools.”
On November 7, 1990, the Connecticut State Board of Education adopted a policy containing suggested procedures for home instruction called the “C-14 Guidelines”. Compliance with these Guidelines, which includes submitting a Notice of Intent to instruct your child at home, is deemed as satisfying the “equivalent instruction” requirement of the CT General Statute Section 10-184.
Therefore, when a child between the ages of 7 and 16 is to be home educated, the CT State Department of Education requests that a Notice of Intent (NOI) form be filed with the school district where the child would normally attend. The NOI is effective for one school year and should be filed within ten (10) days of the start of the home instruction program. This is in accordance with the start of your school year, not the public school’s calendar.
Since the filing of a NOI is part of a suggested procedure and not law, it is the decision of the parent(s) whether or not to comply. If you are unsure whether or not to file a NOI, please read “Should I Comply with the Guidelines?” below.
If you do plan to file a Notice of Intent, you may click here or in the sidebar to download the CT State Department of Education Notice of Intent form.
The decision of whether or not to comply with the Guidelines is ultimately up to you. Using the form developed by the CT State Department of Education, many parents do elect to follow the suggested procedures and file a NOI when their child reaches 7 years of age. Clearly, the State desires that home educators file a NOI. Many school administrators interpret the statute and guidelines to read that they have an obligation to keep track of the homeschooled children in their district, and erroneously believe that it is their responsibility to ensure these children are receiving “equivalent instruction”. It is not - that would be for a judge to determine in an educational neglect case. Nevertheless, since the NOI is intended to satisfy the question of equivalent instruction, a filed NOI may serve to put the administrator’s mind at ease.
Most school districts respect the right of parents to choose not to file a NOI, but some will push the matter, leading to conflicts and negative relationships.
Connecticut law does not require a person to take the initiative to show public school officials that the child is receiving equivalent instruction. However, the parent could instead be required to show that the child is receiving equivalent instruction in defense of a court proceeding in which the sufficiency of the instruction is being challenged. Of course, the mere fact that a child is not enrolled in public school should not be construed by public school officials as indicating that the child is not receiving equivalent instruction in the studies taught in the public school.
One of the reasons most often cited by parents for choosing to not file a NOI is that the form provides a line to schedule a portfolio review at the end of the school year. It is up to the local school administration to schedule a portfolio review but parents may still decline to attend. Parents who do choose to attend are occasionally met with overly zealous school officials asking intrusive questions or attempting to intimidate them. However, this can be mitigated by becoming well informed regarding the limited purpose and scope of the portfolio review and being prepared to re-direct the meeting. If a parent is requested to attend a review and declines, we recommend the school be notified in writing, return receipt requested.
It should be noted that the limited purpose of the portfolio review is to “determine if instruction in the required courses has been given”. Generally this only requires providing a one-page example of each subject taught. There is to be no evaluation of the student’s academic progress or standardized test results, and no review of curricular materials. Please refer to “Tips on Conducting a Portfolio Review” for more information. It is recommended that you keep a copy of these tips with you, as well as a copy of the State Guidelines, for reference during a portfolio review.
Because the portfolio review is not mandatory (despite its inclusion on the form presented by the schools), parents have the option to cross off the language regarding scheduling the portfolio review on the NOI form or to leave that field blank.
Parents also have the option of declining a school’s request to schedule a the portfolio review, even if they have filed a NOI, as the entire review is voluntary. If a parent is requested to attend and and chooses to decline the review, we recommend the school be notified in writing, return receipt requested.