On Tuesday, July 23, 2019, the Maryland Board of Education voted to approve the proposed changes, as explained below. One hundred fifteen homeschoolers submitted comments urging the change to be adopted. One former homeschooled adult submitted a comment against the change.
On Friday, June 7, the Maryland State Department of Education published proposed changes to the state’s homeschool regulation. The changes are straightforward and simple:
- Delete the phrase “observe instruction” in COMAR 13A.10.01.E that pertains to county homeschool liaisons; AND
- Delete the entire requirement for “Annual visits by supervisory personnel to the site where the pupil is receiving instruction.” in COMAR 13A.10.05(1)(c) that pertains to umbrella reviewers.
Should the proposed homeschool regulations go into effect, local county school boards will no longer have the option to request or require to “observe instruction” of a homeschool child. Additionally, umbrellas will no longer be required to conduct reviews in a family’s home.
How This Proposed Change Come About
In 2018, the MSDE met with a group of interested parties, including a representative from the Maryland Homeschool Association, to discuss possible regulatory changes. As Dr. Lynne Muller, MSDE Section Chief for Student Services and School Counseling, noted in the meeting and presented to the Board of Education, “observe instruction” is not a practical component for determining whether a homeschool child is receiving regular, thorough instruction.
Read the full Board of Education report explaining why the specific language should be removed from the regulation.
What You Need to Do
The proposed change has been published in the Maryland Register. The open comment period runs from June 7 to July 8, 2019. During that time, anyone from the public may submit written comments in support or in opposition to the proposed change.
MDHSA recommends sending a simple message, such as: I support both proposed changes to COMAR 13A.10.01, the home instruction regulation.
Email comments to: walter.sallee (at) maryland.gov
Subject Line: COMAR 13A.10.01 Proposed Change
NOTE: This open comment period is NOT the time to ask for additional changes to the homeschool regulation. Comments regarding non-proposed changes will not be taken into consideration by the Maryland State Board of Education at this time.
What Happens Next
Once the comment period closes in early July, MSDE will take a few weeks to read through and compile all the comments into a chart. A report about the comments will be presented to the State Board of Education as early as July 23, 2019.
Unless MSDE receives significant public opposition, the Board will most likely approve the change and officially vote to remove the “observe instruction” language and the required umbrella home visits from the homeschool regulation. We anticipate (but do not guarantee) that the change will go into by the end of November 2019.