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Home schooling

Bill would add legal protections for homeschool parents

A state lawmaker has once again has filed legislation that would rein in district inquiries to parents who register home education programs. The bill comes in response to concerns among parents that districts add hurdles for homeschool registration. That has likely contributed to a decline in home schooling in some districts, even though state statistics show its popularity is growing statewide. Florida law requires home schoolers to register with their local school districts. They have to send a signed notice of intent to the school district superintendent with the students’ names, birthdates and addresses. The bill would bar districts from requiring other...

Why is the number of homeschool students declining in Miami-Dade?

Recent data released about the number of home school students in Florida reveals a mystery. The number of home education students in the state continues to increase. State data show it reached 87,462 during the 2016-17 school year — roughly a 5 percent increase from the previous year. Miami-Dade County, however, saw a decline in enrollment by 11 percent. Homeschool parents and legal advocates say there is a reason behind Miami-Dade's declining numbers. When some parents file a notice of intent to homeschool with the district, they say, the district asks for additional documentation such as proof of residency or a birth...

Home education once again on the rise in Florida

The number of home education students in Florida keeps rising. It reached 87,462 during the 2017-16 school year, according to fresh state data. The Florida Department of Education releases a report on homeschooling each summer. In 2015, the number of children taught at home saw some of its largest growth ever. Last year, it declined. But the state's largest school district, Miami-Dade County, accounted for that decrease single-handedly. This year, home education grew by more than 4,000 students, or just shy of 5 percent. Once again, however, the number of home schoolers in Miami-Dade declined — this time by nearly 11 percent. Homeschooling declined in...

Bill would give Florida home schoolers more access to college, career courses

Home education students would have more access to college classes and career education programs under a bill approved this morning by a Florida House panel. HB 1391 would allow homeschoolers to take career education courses offered by school districts. Public schools would be able to receive state per-pupil funding for courses they take. The bill, along with a counterpart in the state Senate, would also require school districts to accept parents' home education registrations if they meet the requirements in state law. Several parents told the committee that some districts have begun asking for information — like birth certificates and proof of residence — that go...

Students lift voices to celebrate School Choice Week

This fall, after wowing millions of TV viewers, falling just short of the final round on NBC's The Voice and gaining national exposure that she hopes will launch a lifelong music career, Shalyah Fearing tried something new. She started learning in a traditional classroom at a local public high school. Now 16 and a junior, she takes three classes at River Ridge High School in New Port Richey, Fla. while managing the rest of her course load online. Her family has experienced just about every flavor of school choice — public, private, virtual, home education. So it was fitting that they lent their...

Home schoolers could help chart a path to customized education

"Blended learning." "Customized education." "Student-centered." It's hard to write about what's possible in the future of education without getting stuck in a morass of jargon and buzzwords. William Mattox of the James Madison Institute has produced a new policy brief that paints a clearer picture of what those mind-fogging terms aim to describe. Imagine middle and high schools that look more like college, where students set flexible course schedules. Picture community institutions offering individual courses, and parents working with school administrators to create unique educational paths for each child. Mattox, the director of the Tallahassee think tank's J. Stanley Marshall Center for Educational Options,...

Home education participation flat in Florida, way down in Miami-Dade

After years of steady growth, the number of Florida home schoolers appears to be leveling off. According to the latest annual report, released this month by the Florida Department of Education, the number of students taught at home in the state actually inched downward by several hundred students during the 2015-16 school year, to a total of 83,359. A year earlier, the number of home schoolers saw one of its largest leaps ever. But it's possible this year's downturn is just a statistical blip and not a major shift in the trend lines. While the number of students declined, number of families choosing home education...

School choice and ‘The Voice’

Editor's note: Our friends at the EdFly recently shared a story from Florida that reveals many of the benefits of the new definition of public education. We re-publish it here. Shalyah Fearing will compete in the elimination rounds of "The Voice," which start Monday on NBC. The Tampa Tribune has the latest on her quest. by Kate Wallace When Shalyah Fearing, now 16, drove up to Atlanta from central Florida to try out for the season 9 of hit TV show "The Voice" in February of 2015, she had no idea how she would fare next to the 10,000 hopefuls who stood in line with her. After...