Rhode Island homeschool law and information
Compulsory attendance – six years of age and over and under sixteen years of age on or before September 1.
Parental Qualifications – None mandated
Testing – Not mandated
Record Keeping – A register of attendance must be kept and turned in.
*This is not intended to be legal advice and is distributed for information purposes only. Check for updates at your public library or online. Sections are linked to the code online for verification.
TITLE 16 Education
§ 16-19-1 Attendance required – Excuses for nonattendance. – (a) Every child who has completed or will have completed six (6) years of life on or before September 1 of any school year and has not completed sixteen (16) years of life shall regularly attend some public day school during all the days and hours that the public schools are in session in the city or town in which the child resides. Every person having under his or her control a child as described in this section shall cause the child to attend school as required by this section, and for every neglect of this duty the person having control of the child shall be fined not exceeding fifty dollars ($50.00) for each day or part of a day that the child fails to attend school, and if the total of these days is more than thirty (30) school days during any school year, then the person shall, upon conviction, be imprisoned not exceeding six (6) months or shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars ($500), or both; provided, that if the person so charged shall prove that the child has attended for the required period of time a private day school approved by the commissioner of elementary and secondary education pursuant to § 16-60-6(10), or a course of at-home instruction approved by the school committee of the town where the child resides, or that the physical or mental condition of the child was such as to render his or her attendance at school inexpedient or impracticable, or that the child was excluded from school by virtue of some general law or regulation, then attendance shall not be obligatory nor shall the penalty be incurred.
(b) A waiver to the compulsory attendance requirement may be granted by the superintendent only upon proof that the pupil is sixteen (16) years of age or older and has an alternative learning plan for obtaining either a high school diploma or its equivalent.
(1) Alternative learning plans shall include age-appropriate academic rigor and the flexibility to incorporate the pupil’s interests and manner of learning. These plans may include, but are not limited to, such components or combination of components of extended learning opportunities as independent study, private instruction, performing groups, internships, community service, apprenticeships, and online courses that are currently funded and available to the school department and/or the community.
(2) Alternative learning plans shall be developed, and amended if necessary, in consultation with the pupil, a school guidance counselor, the school principal and at least one parent or guardian of the pupil, and submitted to the superintendent for approval.
(3) If the superintendent does not approve the alternative learning plan, the parent or guardian of the pupil may appeal such decision to the school committee. A parent or guardian may appeal the decision of the school committee to the commissioner of education pursuant to chapter 39 of title 16.
(c) Nothing in this section shall be deemed to limit or otherwise interfere with the rights of teachers and other school employees to collectively bargain pursuant to chapters 9.3 and 9.4 of title 28 or to allow any school committee to abrogate any agreement reached by collective bargaining.
(d) No school shall use a student’s truancy or absenteeism as the sole basis for using an out-of-school suspension as a disciplinary action.
TITLE 16 Education
§ 16-19-2 Approval of private schools – Requirements – Review. – For the purposes of this chapter a private school or at-home instruction shall be approved only when it complies with the following requirements: (1) that the period of attendance of the pupils in the school or in the home instruction is substantially equal to that required by law in public schools; (2) that registers are kept and returned to the school committee, the superintendent of schools, truant officers, and the department of elementary and secondary education in relation to the attendance of pupils, and are made the same as registers kept by the public schools; (3) that reading, writing, geography, arithmetic, the history of the United States, the history of Rhode Island, and the principles of American government shall be taught in the English language substantially to the same extent as these subjects are required to be taught in the public schools, and that the teaching of the English language and of other subjects indicated in this section shall be thorough and efficient; provided, however, that nothing contained in this section shall be construed or operate to deny the right to teach in private schools or in at-home instruction any of the subjects or any other subject in any other language in addition to the teaching in English as prescribed in this section; provided, further, that any interested person resident in any city or town aggrieved by the action of the school committee of the city or town either in approving or refusing to approve at-home instruction may appeal the action to the department of elementary and secondary education. The department of elementary and secondary education, after notice to the parties interested of the time and place of a hearing, shall examine and decide the appeal without cost to the parties. The commissioner of elementary and secondary education shall also grant a hearing to any party aggrieved by a refusal to approve a private school pursuant to § 16-60-6(10). The decision of the board of regents for elementary and secondary education shall, if an appeal is made to the board, be final.
§ 16-22-2 Civics education. – The general assembly recognizes the importance of a citizenry well educated in the principles of democracy as enunciated in the constitutions of the state of Rhode Island and the United States. The general assembly directs the board of regents for elementary and secondary education to develop and adopt a set of grade level standards K-12 in civics education no later than August 31, 2007. These standards shall include, but not be limited to, the history of the state of Rhode Island, representative government, the rights and duties of actively engaged citizenship, and the principals of democracy. These civic education standards shall be used in the public schools of this state beginning in kindergarten and continuing through to and including grade 12. No private school or private instruction shall be approved for the purposes of chapter 19 of this title unless the course of study shall make provision for instruction substantially equivalent to that required by this chapter for public schools.
§ 16-22-4 Instruction in health and physical education. – All children in grades one through twelve (12) attending public schools, or any other schools managed and controlled by the state, shall receive in those schools instruction in health and physical education under rules and regulations the department of elementary and secondary education may prescribe or approve during periods which shall average at least twenty (20) minutes in each school day. No private school or private instruction shall be approved by any school committee for the purposes of chapter 19 of this title as substantially equivalent to that required by law of a child attending a public school in the same city and/or town unless instruction in health and physical education similar to that required in public schools shall be given.