To: Minnesota School Superintendents
From: Elia Bruggeman, Assistant Commissioner
Date: November 9, 2012
Subjects: Electronic reporting required on counts of nonpublic and homeschooled students in your districts. Enter data now through December 31.
Plus -- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): Nonpublic Schools, Including Homeschools, Unaccredited by a Minnesota-Recognized Accrediting Agency
Minnesota Statutes, sections 120A.22-120A.26, related to Compulsory Instruction, require school superintendents to report annually to the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) the number of students, by age, who reside in their district and attend nonpublic schools or homeschools. This data must be further broken down by the number of students whose school situation is considered by the superintendent to be in compliance with the Minnesota Compulsory Instruction law and those considered not in compliance.
As with last year’s report, this year’s report must be submitted electronically. A tutorial for establishing an account is included with this letter. The tutorial explains where and how to submit data on the Minnesota Department of Education website (education.state.mn.us) in the School Support > Data Submissions area.
The information presented in this report provides essential planning and public interest data. Only when all school districts report accurately, as required by law, does MDE have the ability to compile and provide the following to interested parties, including the Minnesota Legislature:
Districts have asked MDE to provide examples which would lead to a student’s count being recorded in the column labeled “not in compliance” with the Compulsory Instruction law. Please note that the Compulsory Instruction law changed significantly during the 2011 Special Legislative Session. For example, quarterly report cards are no longer required of homeschool families. (For more information about the law and other issues pertaining to unaccredited schools, including homeschools, see the enclosed Frequently Asked Questions document.)
Situations where the district is in formal communication with the family and/or county prosecutors about compliance issues are clear examples of student situations that would be counted as “noncompliant.” Other examples of when a student’s school situation would fall into the noncompliant category include, but are not limited to:
• Situations where students are ages 7-16 and 1) have been in an unaccredited school (including homeschool) for at least one year and are not exempt from testing requirements, but 2) in the past twelve months the instructor has not come to an agreement with the superintendent on a nationally-normed achievement test and/or not followed through with the agreed-upon test. For example, families may have indicated that this was to be determined later but have not come to agreement with the district or had the student tested.
• Situations where people who are not the student’s legal guardian or parent (such as a grandparent, step-parent or other homeschool parent) are schooling the child informally in a home setting but without baccalaureate degrees or direct supervision by a licensed teacher.
• Situations where traditional nonpublic schools that are not accredited by state-recognized accrediting agencies are not reporting that they are educating resident students, the students’ names and ages, testing information and other requirements. (A list of state-recognized accrediting agencies is attached. Only schools directly accredited by one of these organizations have some – not all – reporting requirements reduced.)
The information in your district’s data report is not intended to be punitive against any family’s individual situation. Instead, it contributes to a composite picture of the compliance and noncompliance issues districts face with Minnesota’s Compulsory Instruction law that governs truancy, nonpublic education and homeschools.
Data entered on MDE’s Data Submissions site should reflect compulsory instruction compliance in your district on October 1, 2012. You may enter the counts now; your district must enter data no later than December 31, 2012. Please note that the report concerns all private and homeschooled students who live within your district borders. It does not count students who attend a private school within your district borders but live elsewhere; it does count private school students who live within your district borders but attend a private school located elsewhere.
If you have questions on counting nonpublic and homeschooled students, please feel free to contact Cindy Jackson at (651)582-8572 or email@example.com. The enclosed tutorial walks you through how to file data electronically. If you have trouble filing electronically, contact Lori Ritt at firstname.lastname@example.org or (651)582-8462. Thank you for submitting this important data.