by Spencer Mason, March 2022
The North Carolina Division of Non-Public Education (DNPE) has begun emailing every homeschool that has operated for more than two years stating that a DNPE representative will be conducting virtual record review meetings. The email says, “DNPE encourages you to participate as the NC Statutes governing non-public schools (Chapter 115C Article 39; § 115C 547 – 567) require all non-public schools to make available their records upon request. An invitation to attend a record review meeting is such a request….” Administrators are asked to follow a link and make an appointment for this virtual inspection.
This statement by the DNPE implies that participation is required by law. However, the law says, “all records shall be made available, subject to G.S. 115C-174.13, at the principal office of such school, at all reasonable times, for annual inspection….” NCHE has always understood the law to mean that any inspection of records other than inspections that take place at the homeschool are voluntary on the part of the homeschool chief administrator. Therefore, NCHE believes this request is not mandated by North Carolina statute.
Even though NCHE differs from DNPE in that we believe this is not mandatory, we highly recommend that you voluntarily make an appointment for a virtual inspection for the following reasons.
- Many homeschools have failed to follow the law in that they have moved or quit homeschooling without notifying DNPE. Therefore, DNPE records are inaccurate, and some legislators are pressuring DNPE to improve the accuracy of the data.
- Federal education funding is parceled out to each NC county based on the total number of students (public, private, and homeschool) enrolled in that county. Special needs homeschool students can take advantage of programs that are supported with federal funding.
- A successful implementation of this program will give DNPE greater credibility and will reduce the likelihood that lawmakers will attempt to add more regulations to homeschools.
If you are uncomfortable with participating in the virtual meetings, you will be given the option of emailing the requested information to DNPE. Another option DNPE may not publicize is to log into your account with DNPE and update your school records, then notify them of your update via email. NCHE is not aware of any homeschool that has been closed when a homeschool administrator declines to participate in an inspection of records virtually, via email or any other way.
Spencer Mason is the law and policy director and office manager for NCHE. He and his wife, Debbie, homeschooled their four children from birth through high school. Their five grandchildren are now being homeschooled.