State Laws
Read the laws regulating home education in North Carolina and browse through the case law and legal opinions relating to those laws, along with government publications relating to homeschooling and summaries of the laws.
Summaries and Explanations of North Carolina Homeschooling Laws
North Carolina Home School Laws from HSLDA
The Home School Legal Defense Association provides a brief summary of the homeschooling laws in North Carolina. Includes a link to a legal analysis of laws relating to homeschooling in North Carolina.
Frequently Asked Home School Question Topics
Common questions and answers regarding homeschooling in North Carolina.
Complying with the State of North Carolina Homeschool Law
During the 1988 session of the North Carolina General Assembly, Article 39 of chapter 115C of the General Statutes was amended to allow home instruction, under certain conditions, as a means of complying with compulsory school attendance requirements. This is a summary of that law.
State of North Carolina Home School Information
The North Carolina Division of Non-Public Education has created this informational site to guide home educators in the state through the law and requirements.
North Carolina Statutes Pertaining to Home Education
Home School Laws from HSLDA
Find the laws pertaining to home education for all 50 states and U.S. territories.
§ 115C-552. New school notice requirements; termination.
(a) Any new school to which this Part relates shall send to a duly authorized representative of the State of North Carolina a notice of intent to operate, name and address of the school, and name of the school's owner and chief administrator. (b) Any school to which this Part applies shall notify a duly authorized representative of the State of North Carolina upon termination of the school.
§ 115C-549. Standardized testing requirements.
Each private church school or school of religious charter shall administer, at least once in each school year, a nationally standardized test or other nationally standardized equivalent measurement selected by the chief administrative officer of such school, to all students enrolled or regularly attending grades three, six and nine. The nationally standardized test or other equivalent measurement selected must measure achievement in the areas of English grammar, reading, spelling and mathematics. Each school shall make and maintain records of the results achieved by its students. For one year after the testing, 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 by a duly authorized representative of the State of North Carolina.
§ 115C-558. High school competency testing.
To assure that all high school graduates possess those minimum skills and that knowledge thought necessary to function in society, each qualified nonpublic school shall administer at least once in each school year, a nationally standardized test or other nationally standardized equivalent measure selected by the chief administrative officer of such school, to all students enrolled and regularly attending the eleventh grade. The nationally standardized test or other equivalent measurement selected must measure competencies in the verbal and quantitative areas. Each qualified nonpublic school shall establish a minimum score which must be attained by a student on the selected test in order to be graduated from high school. For one year after the testing, 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 by a duly authorized representative of the State of North Carolina.
§ 115C-548. Attendance; health and safety regulations.
Each private church school or school of religious charter shall make, and maintain annual attendance and disease immunization records for each pupil enrolled and regularly attending classes. Attendance by a child at any school to which this Part relates and which complies with this Part shall satisfy the requirements of compulsory school attendance so long as the school operates on a regular schedule, excluding reasonable holidays and vacations, during at least nine calendar months of the year. Each school shall be subject to reasonable fire, health and safety inspections by State, county and municipal authorities as required by law. The Division of Nonpublic Education, Department of Administration, shall ensure that materials are provided to these schools so that they can provide parents and guardians with information about meningococcal meningitis and influenza and their vaccines at the beginning of every school year. This information may be provided electronically or on the Division's Web page. This information shall include the causes, symptoms, and how meningococcal meningitis and influenza are spread and the places where parents and guardians may obtain additional information and vaccinations for their children.
§ 115C-562. Requirements exclusive.
No qualifying nonpublic school, which complies with the requirements of this Part, shall be subject to any other provision of law relating to education except requirements of law respecting fire, safety, sanitation and immunization.
§ 115C-560. New school notice requirements; termination.
(a) Any new school to which this Part relates shall send to a duly authorized representative of the State of North Carolina a notice of intent to operate, name and address of the school, and name of the school's owner and chief administrator. (b) Any school to which this Part applies shall notify a duly authorized representative of the State of North Carolina upon termination of the school.
§ 115C-563. Definitions.
As used in this Part or Parts 1 and 2 of this section [Article]: (a) "Home school" means a nonpublic school in which one or more children of not more than two families or households receive academic instruction from parents or legal guardians, or a member of either household. (b) "Duly authorized representative of the State" means the Director, Division of Nonpublic Education, or his staff.
§ 115C-556. Attendance; health and safety regulations.
Each qualified nonpublic school shall make, and maintain annual attendance and disease immunization records for each pupil enrolled and regularly attending classes. Attendance by a child at any school to which this Part relates and which complies with this Part shall satisfy the requirements of compulsory school attendance so long as the school operates on a regular schedule, excluding reasonable holidays and vacations, during at least nine calendar months of the year. Each school shall be subject to reasonable fire, health and safety inspections by State, county and municipal authorities as required by law. The Division of Nonpublic Education, Department of Administration, shall ensure that materials are provided to each qualified nonpublic school so that the school can provide parents and guardians with information about meningococcal meningitis and influenza and their vaccines at the beginning of every school year. This information may be provided electronically or on the Division's Web page. This information shall include the causes, symptoms, and how meningococcal meningitis and influenza are spread and the places where parents and guardians may obtain additional information and vaccinations for their children.
§ 115C-559. Voluntary participation in the State programs.
Any such school may, on a voluntary basis, participate in any State operated or sponsored program which would otherwise be available to such school, including but not limited to the high school competency testing and statewide testing programs.
§ 115C-564. Qualifications and requirements.
A home school shall make the election to operate under the qualifications of either Part 1 or Part 2 of this Article and shall meet the requirements of the Part elected, except that any requirement related to safety and sanitation inspections shall be waived if the school operates in a private residence and except that testing requirements in G.S. 115C-549 and G.S. 115C-557 shall be on an annual basis. The persons providing academic instruction in a home school shall hold at least a high school diploma or its equivalent.
§ 115C-554. Requirements exclusive.
No school, operated by any church or other organized religious group or body as part of its religious ministry, which complies with the requirements of this Part shall be subject to any other provision of law relating to education except requirements of law respecting fire, safety, sanitation and immunization.
§ 115C-557. Standardized testing requirements.
Each qualified nonpublic school shall administer, at least once in each school year, a nationally standardized test or other nationally standardized equivalent measurement selected by the chief administrative officer of such school, to all students enrolled or regularly attending grades three, six and nine. The nationally standardized test or other equivalent measurement selected must measure achievement in the areas of English grammar, reading, spelling and mathematics. Each school shall make and maintain records of the results achieved by its students. For one year after the testing, 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 by a duly authorized representative of the State of North Carolina.
§ 115C-553. Duly authorized representative.
The duly authorized representative of the State of North Carolina to whom reports of commencing operation and termination shall be made and who may inspect certain records under this Part shall be designated by the Governor.
§ 115C-547. Policy.
In conformity with the Constitutions of the United States and of North Carolina, it is the public policy of the State in matters of education that "No human authority shall, in any case whatever, control or interfere with the rights of conscience," or with religious liberty and that "religion, morality and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind . . . the means of education shall forever be encouraged."
§ 115C-561. Duly authorized representative.
The duly authorized representative of the State of North Carolina to whom reports of commencing operation and termination shall be made and who may inspect certain records under this Part shall be designated by the Governor.
§ 115C-566. Driving eligibility certificates; requirements.
(a) The Secretary of Administration, upon consideration of the advice of the Division of Nonpublic Education in the Office of the Governor and representatives of nonpublic schools, shall adopt rules for the procedures a person who is or was enrolled in a home school, in a nonpublic school that is not accredited by the State Board of Education, or in an educational program found by a court, prior to July 1, 1998, to comply with the compulsory attendance law, must follow and the requirements that person must meet to obtain a driving eligibility certificate. The procedures shall provide that the person who is required under G.S. 20-11(n) to sign the driving eligibility certificate must provide the certificate if he or she determines that one of the following requirements is met: (1) The person seeking the certificate is eligible for the certificate under G.S. 20-11(n)(1) and is not subject to G.S. 20-11(n1). (2) The person seeking the certificate is eligible for the certificate under G.S. 20-11(n)(1) and G.S. 20-11(n1). The rules shall define exemplary student behavior, define what constitutes the successful completion of a drug or alcohol treatment counseling program, and provide for an appeal to an appropriate educational entity by a person who is denied a driving eligibility certificate. The Division of Nonpublic Education also shall develop policies as to when it is appropriate to notify the Division of Motor Vehicles that a person who is or was enrolled in a home school or in a nonpublic school that is not accredited by the State Board of Education no longer meets the requirements for a driving eligibility certificate. (b) The Secretary of Administration shall develop a form for parents, guardians, or emancipated juveniles, as appropriate, to provide their written, irrevocable consent for a school to disclose to the Division of Motor Vehicles that the student no longer meets the conditions for a driving eligibility certificate under G.S. 20-11(n)(1) or G.S. 20-11(n1), if applicable, in the event that this disclosure is necessary to comply with G.S. 20-11 or G.S. 20-13.2. Other than identifying under which statutory subsection the student is no longer eligible, no other details or information concerning the student's school record shall be released pursuant to this consent. This form shall be used for students enrolled in home schools or nonpublic schools. (c) In accordance with rules adopted by the Secretary under this section, persons who are required to sign driving eligibility certificates that meet the conditions established in G.S. 20-11 shall obtain the necessary written, irrevocable consent from parents, guardians, or emancipated juveniles, as appropriate, in order to disclose information to the Division of Motor Vehicles and shall notify the Division of Motor Vehicles when a student who holds a driving eligibility certificate no longer meets the conditions under G.S. 20-11(n)(1) or G.S. 20-11(n1).
§ 115C-550. High school competency testing.
To assure that all high school graduates possess those minimum skills and that knowledge thought necessary to function in society, each private church school or school of religious charter shall administer at least once in each school year, a nationally standardized test or other nationally standardized equivalent measure selected by the chief administrative officer of such school, to all students enrolled and regularly attending the eleventh grade. The nationally standardized test or other equivalent measurement selected must measure competencies in the verbal and quantitative areas. Each private church school or school of religious charter shall establish a minimum score which must be attained by a student on the selected test in order to be graduated from high school. For one year after the testing, 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 by a duly authorized representative of the State of North Carolina.
§ 115C-551. Voluntary participation in the State programs.
Any such school may, on a voluntary basis, participate in any State operated or sponsored program which would otherwise be available to such school, including but not limited to the high school competency testing and statewide testing programs.
§ 115C-555. Qualification of nonpublic schools.
The provisions of this Part shall apply to any nonpublic school which has one or more of the following characteristics: (1) It is accredited by the State Board of Education. (2) It is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. (3) It is an active member of the North Carolina Association of Independent Schools. (4) It receives no funding from the State of North Carolina.
§ 115C-565. Requirements exclusive.
No school which complies with this Part shall be subject to any other provision of law relating to education except requirements of law respecting immunization. The Division of Nonpublic Education, Department of Administration, shall provide to home schools information about meningococcal meningitis and influenza and their vaccines. This information may be provided electronically or on the Division's Web page. The information shall include the causes, symptoms, and how meningococcal meningitis and influenza are spread and the places where parents and guardians may obtain additional information and vaccinations for their children.
Case Law and Legal Opinions
Pierce v. Society of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary
In Pierce v. Society of the Sisters, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that "the fundamental theory of liberty upon which all governments of this Union repose excludes any general power of the state to standardize its children by forcing them to accept instruction from public teachers only. The child is not the creature of the state."
Larry Delconte v. State of North Carolina (1985)
The North Carolina General Assembly (like other state legislatures in the late 1970's and during the 1980's) enacted new laws in 1979 de-regulating non-public schools. The Delconte case heard by the North Carolina Supreme Court was the landmark court case concerning that legislation. It officially opened the "legal doors" in modern times to the concept of home instruction.
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