Ad Hoc Committee
For Illinois Home Education Legal and Legislative Matters
Statement of Purpose
The purpose of our committee is to develop, by consensus, unified positions to present to state school officials and legislators on important legislative and legal issues that impact upon Home Education in Illinois. In addition, our committee is dedicated to protecting private Home Schools from state regulations that infringe upon the liberty of parents in the education of their children. Finally, we are committed to advancing the principle of academic freedom for the good of all citizens in Illinois.
A Consensus Decision Making Group
In this, and all consensus groups, all decisions are made as a group with approval of all members, not by a majority.
Due to the diverse nature of this group, all position papers must be agreed to word for word by all members. Also, any written correspondence must reflect the delicate balance of differing philosophies held by the Ad Hoc members.
In the event that the committee is unable to establish a position agreeable to all members, it is understood that each organization will take action consistent with their individual philosophy.
The participating organizations will inform one another by sharing ideas, information and written materials.
All members retain the right to express their personal opinions, taking care to clearly qualify such opinions as personal and not official views of Ad Hoc.
How to Help
A portion of our expenses are covered by the organizations we represent. Individual donations are gratefully accepted to defray committee members' often sizable out-of-pocket expenses.
So you will be represented by the Ad Hoc Committee, join one of the organizations participating in Ad Hoc.
Get to know your State Senator and Representative. Volunteer to help in their local office regularly, or at election time and assist in fundraising. Plan an informal evening with your legislators and/or other community leaders. (Ad Hoc members are willing to provide assistance.)
Private Home Schools are one kind of non-public, private school (in 1950, the Illinois State Supreme Court in People vs. Levison 90 N. E. 2nd 213 no. 31133 determined that home schools were private schools.) There is no law requiring non-public schools to register with any public school official, nor are they required to seek state recognition, approval, or accreditation.
Under Illinois School Code (Chapter 105, (formerly 122) par. 26.1 known as the Compulsory Attendance Law) parents of children ages 7 through 16 must make sure the education their children receive includes the branches of education taught to their age group in the local public school (language arts, mathematics, biological and physical sciences, social sciences, fine arts and physical development and health). Instruction in these branches must be in the English language.
If parents educating their children in a private home school receive an inquiry from a public school official about their educational program, it is advisable to respond in writing, verifying compliance with the Compulsory Attendance Law as outlined above.
Ad Hoc does not encourage home educators to complete the form entitled "Statement of Assurance". Home Educators choosing to voluntarily register with the state are encouraged to do so using the Non-Public Registration, Enrollment and Staff Report. This form can be obtained from the Illinois State Board of Education in Springfield.
Under IDEA and the ADA., public schools must offer services to all students with special needs. Students enrolled in public schools, full or part time, must be offered all services specified in their IEP; students in home schools must be offered the same services offered to other nonpublic students in their district. The Illinois State Board of Education legal department states, however, that there is nothing in Illinois law requiring any parent to accept such services.
Part Time Attendance
IL Law 325 ILCS 5/3 1983 states that non-public school students must be allowed to enroll in an academic course not offered in their non-public school for which there is space. Applicants must apply for September classes by the first of May.
This is not intended to be and does not constitute the giving of legal advice.
Ad Hoc in Action
Began in 1984 to establish a dialogue with the Illinois State Board of Education to reinstate the private Home School category on the voluntary Non-Public Registration, Enrollment and Staff Report. Ad Hoc has continued to work for the restoration of this voluntary option (see update, summer 1989)
Testified in Senate Committee and helped defeat Senate Bill 1202 in the spring of 1987. This legislation would have established a registration process for all children attending private schools. Further SB 1202 would have established a separate and discriminatory registration for children attending private Home Schools.
In May 1987, joined the Illinois Advisory Committee on Non-Public Schools (now Illinois Coalition of Non-Public Schools - ICNS), with Dorothy Werner as our representative. ICNS represents the majority of children in private education and is concerned with preservation of parental rights to choose alternatives to public school education. ICNS works with the Illinois State Board of Education, the General Assembly and the Governor's office.
Helped defeat efforts of Cook County Regional Superintendent Richard Martwick in his attempt to outlaw private Home School education in Cook County in 1987-1988.
Joined the Illinois State Board of Education Pupil Accounting System Advisory Group in January of 1988 with Mike McHugh as our representative. We have consistently expressed the private Home School position of no mandatory state registration of Illinois students or schools.
In April 1988 and January 1989,made presentations to the Illlinois Truancy Prevention Association. These highly productive meetings allowed us to provide considerable information regarding Home Schools' legal status.
In 1989, we supported the passage of Public Law 89-1726, which removed the authority to investigate uncomplicated educational neglect from the Department of Children and Family Services.
Testified in House Committes and helped defeat House Bill 1265 in the spring of 1989. This bill was intended to separate private Home Schools from other private schools and establish a new registration process.
Summer 1989, corresponded with Dr. Robert Leininger, Illinois State Superintendent of Schools about voluntary registration of private Home Schools. This dialog resulted in an Illinois State Board of Education decision to reinstate the Private Home School option on the Non-Public Registration, Enrollment and Staff Report. This voluntary form is used by all other private schools choosing to register with the state. This is an appropriate recognition of the legal status of Home Schools as private schools.
In September 1999, the Illinois State Board of Education began to refer all phone inquiries concerning home education to the Ad Hoc Committee.
IN 1999, we assisted in the defeat of a bill requiring registration of children's immunizations. Passage of this bill would have had the effect of involuntarily registering homeschool students with the state.
In early 2000, we participated in a videoconference with the legal department of the Illinois State Board of Education in regard to revising the packet the Illinois State Board of Education sends out in response to inquiries about home education.
Mailed packets of information to all Regional Superintendents in 2003 detailing the law as it applies to private home schools and providing other useful information.
For a list of Ad Hoc's member groups and their contact information, please go to