State Laws
Read the laws regulating home education in Louisiana and browse through the case law and legal opinions relating to those laws, along with government publications relating to homeschooling and summaries of the laws.
Summaries and Explanations of Louisiana Homeschooling Laws
Overview of the Nonpublic Annual School Report System
If you are operating an educational program or school but do not wish to seek state approval as either an SBESE-Approved Home Study or Approved Nonpublic School, please click the link to find out how to register your nonpublic (private) school in accordance with R.S. 17:232 (C) and (D). This information is provided by the Louisiana Department of Education.
Rules and Procedures for the Distribution of School Books and Materials to Home Study Students
Includes information on the distribution of books to home study students.
BESE-Approved Home Study Program
A BESE-Approved Home Study program provides Louisiana families the opportunity to independently educate their child. In a BESE-Approved Home Study program, parents have complete control and responsibility for educating their child. Parent’s primary responsibilities include: a) selecting and using the curriculum to teach their child; b) determining the child’s grade placement; and c) submitting initial and renewal home study applications to the LDE for approval.
Louisiana Home School Laws from HSLDA
The Home School Legal Defense Association provides a brief summary of the homeschooling laws in Louisiana. Includes a link to a legal analysis of laws relating to homeschooling in Louisiana.
General Information Regarding the Home Study Program
Listed here are instructions and information for applying and administering a home study program. This summary is provided by the Louisiana Department of Education.
Louisiana Statutes Pertaining to Home Education
RS 17:236.1 Approval of home study programs.
A. A parent or legal guardian shall apply to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education for approval of a home study program. An initial application must be made within fifteen days after commencement of the program. A renewal application must be made by the first of October of the school year, or within twelve months of approval of the initial application, whichever is later. The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, upon receipt of such initial or renewal application, shall immediately notify the city or parish school superintendent within whose jurisdiction the home study is being conducted of such application and also shall notify said superintendent of subsequent actions taken by the board on the application. B. An initial application for participation in a home study program shall be accompanied by a certified copy of the birth certificate of the child. A short-form birth certification card shall be acceptable as a certified copy of the birth certificate. The initial application or, during the 1984-1985 school year, a renewal application, shall be approved if the parent certifies that the home study program will offer a sustained curriculum of quality at least equal to that offered by public schools at the same grade level. C.(1) After the 1984-1985 school year, a renewal application for participation in a home study program shall be approved if the parent submits to the board satisfactory evidence that the program has in fact offered a sustained curriculum of quality at least equal to that offered by public schools at the same grade level. To substantiate this fact, the parent shall submit with the renewal application a packet of materials which includes such documents as: (a) A complete outline of each of the subjects taught during the previous year, (b) Lists of books and materials used, (c) Copies of the student's work, (d) Copies of standardized tests, (e) Statements by third parties who have observed the child's progress, and (f) Any other evidence of the quality of the program being offered. (2) If the material submitted is inadequate, the Department of Education shall notify the parent of the deficiencies and request additional materials. (3) On the basis of all the information submitted, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education shall determine whether the program offers a sustained curriculum of quality at least equal to that offered in public schools at the same grade level and shall approve or disapprove the application accordingly. D. After the 1984-1985 school year, a renewal application shall be approved if, in lieu of submission of the packet of materials provided in the previous Subsection, the parent submits with the application any one of the following: (1) Verification that the child has taken the competency-based education examination provided in R.S. 17:24.4 and scored at or above the passing level established by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education for public school students at his grade level. (2) Verification that the child has taken the California Achievement Test (CAT) or such other standardized examination as may be approved by the board and the child has scored at or above his grade level or the child has progressed at a rate equal to one grade level for each year in home study program. (3) A statement from a teacher certified to teach at the child's grade level that the teacher has examined the program being offered and that, in his professional opinion, the child is being taught in accordance with a sustained curriculum of quality at least equal to that offered by public schools at the same grade level or, in the case of children with mental or physical disabilities, at least equal to that offered by public schools to children with similar disabilities. Any such teacher evaluation provided for in this Subsection shall be subject to review and approval of the State Board of Education. E.(1) In May and September of each year and on such other dates as may be determined by the city or parish superintendent of schools, the local school board shall, upon request of a parent whose child is participating in a home study program, administer the competency-based education examination to the child. The test shall be administered with the same instructions and under similar conditions as provided children enrolled in the public schools. (2) The local school board may charge a fee for this service not to exceed thirty-five dollars. (3) The certified teacher administering the examination shall promptly provide the parent a statement indicating the child's score and whether he passed the examination. F.(1) In May and September of each year and on such other dates as may be determined by the state superintendent of elementary and secondary education, the Department of Education shall, upon the request of the parent, administer the competency-based education examination to any child enrolled in a home study program or enrolled in a private school. The test shall be administered with the same instructions and under similar conditions as provided children enrolled in the public schools. (2) The Department of Education may charge a fee for this service not to exceed thirty-five dollars. (3) The certified teacher administering the examination shall promptly provide the parent a statement indicating the child's score and whether he passed the examination.
RS 17:236 Definition of a school.
For the purposes of this Chapter, a school is defined as an institution for the teaching of children, consisting of an adequate physical plant, whether owned or leased, instructional staff members, and students. For such an institution to be classified as a school, within the meaning of this Chapter, instructional staff members shall meet the following requirements: if a public day school or a nonpublic school which receives local, state, or federal funds or support, directly or indirectly, they shall be certified in accordance with rules established by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education; if a nonpublic school which receives no local, state, or federal funds or support, directly or indirectly, they shall meet such requirements as may be prescribed by the school or the church. In addition, any such institution, to be classified as a school, shall operate a minimum session of not less than one hundred eighty days. Solely for purposes of compulsory attendance in a nonpublic school, a child who participates in a home study program approved by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education shall be considered in attendance at a day school; a home study program shall be approved if it offers a sustained curriculum of a quality at least equal to that offered by public schools at the same grade level.
Home School Laws from HSLDA
Find the laws pertaining to home education for all 50 states and U.S. territories.
RS 17:221 School attendance; compulsory ages; duty of parents; consent to withdraw.
A.(1) Every parent, tutor, or other person residing within the state of Louisiana, having control or charge of any child from that child's seventh birthday until his eighteenth birthday, shall send such child to a public or private day school, unless the child graduates from high school prior to his eighteenth birthday. Any child below the age of seven who legally enrolls in school shall also be subject to the provisions of this Subpart. Every parent, tutor, or other person responsible for sending a child to a public or private day school under provisions of this Subpart shall also assure the attendance of such child in regularly assigned classes during regular school hours established by the school board.
RS 17:11 Approval of private schools by board.
A. The board shall adopt standards and guidelines which shall be applied in determining whether a private or proprietary school applying for approval meets the requirements of a sustained curriculum or specialized course of study of quality at least equal to that prescribed for similar public schools. The board shall appoint an advisory committee of private and proprietary school representatives, who shall advise and counsel with the board relative to standards and guidelines affecting these schools. After initial approval the board shall periodically determine whether the private school is maintaining such quality and if not, shall discontinue approval of the school. B. The board shall approve any private elementary, secondary, or proprietary school which makes application therefor on a form furnished by the board, if such school meets and maintains a sustained curriculum or specialized course of study of quality at least equal to that prescribed for similar public schools. C. All certificates and diplomas issued by an approved private school shall carry the same privileges as one issued by a state public school.
Case Law and Legal Opinions
Pierce v. Society of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary
In Pierce v. Society of the Sisters, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that "the fundamental theory of liberty upon which all governments of this Union repose excludes any general power of the state to standardize its children by forcing them to accept instruction from public teachers only. The child is not the creature of the state."
Government Publications
SBESE-Approved Home Study Information Packet
The information packet contains general information and instructions regarding the Home Study Program; guidelines for compliance; guidelines for transferring students into public school systems (e.g., participation in the LEAP 21); order form for LA Content Standards and Assessment Guides; a list of district test coordinators; legislation related to the Tuition Opportunity Program for Students (TOPS), and a Home Study Program application.
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