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Foundations of Home Education

Oklahoma is the only state in the US with a constitutional provision to educate

"by other means" aka, home educate.

Deuteronomy 6:6-7

These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit a home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

oklahoma constitution home education

Oklahoma Constitution, Section 4, Article 13

Section 4, Art. 13 of the Constitution of Oklahoma guarantees the home education exemption by stating that the legislature "shall" provide for the "compulsory attendance at some public or other school, unless other means of education are provided, of all children in the State who are sound in mind and body, between the ages of eight and sixteen, for at least three months each year."
[Note: This is original wording from the Oklahoma Constitution.]

It seems quite evident that the "other means of education" language is directly applicable to homeschooling since it was added for the specific purpose of protecting the right of parents to choose homeschooling. In 1907, during the Oklahoma Constitutional Convention, one of the delegates, Mr. Buchanan, proposed that the phrase "unless other means of education be provided" be added to Article 13, Section 4. Favorably responding to Mr. Buchanan's proposal, another delegate, Mr. Baker stated,
"I think Mr. Buchanan has suggested a solution. A man's own experience sometimes will teach him. I have two little fellows that are not attending a public school because it is too far for them to walk and their mother makes them study four hours a day."

As a result of this discussion on home education, the "other means of education" language was added to Article 13, Section 4.

Our jurisprudence historically has reflected Western civilization concepts of the family as a unit with broad parental authority over minor children. Our cases have consistently followed that course; our constitutional system long ago rejected any notion that a child is “the mere creature of the State” and, on the contrary, asserted that parents generally “have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare {their children} for additional obligations. U. S. Supreme Court, PARHAM v. J. R., 442 U.S. 584 (1979)

Under our form of government . . . the home is considered the key stone of the governmental structure. In this empire, parents rule supreme during the minority of their children . . . they may . . . withdraw them entirely from public schools and send them to private schools or provide for them other means of education. Oklahoma Supreme Court, School Brd. Dist. No. 18 v. Thompson, 103 P. 578, 24 Okla. (1909)

Any law or regulation that limits the freedom and flexibility of parents to direct the education and upbringing of their children is an intrusion by the state into a jurisdiction that is not theirs to control.

Because of the growing number of students now enrolled in the public schools via a virtual classroom, we want to make a clear distinction between those students doing public school at home and true parent-led and funded home education. The statutes below are a clear indication as to the classification of each method.

Charters, Online Charters & Virtual Public School

Section 10-105 of Title 70 of the

Oklahoma Statutes


A.  It shall be unlawful for a parent, guardian, or other person having custody of a child who is over the age of five (5) years, and under the age of eighteen (18) years, to neglect or refuse to cause or compel such child to attend and comply with the rules of some

public, private or other school, unless other means of education are provided for the full term the schools of the district are in session or the child is excused as provided in this section.

"Other Means" is how most statutes refer to the methods of education. 

Technically, the way it is written, the law specifies four types of educational choices, with public including, according to the Department of Education, ALL public schools whether virtual, charter, virtual charter, online, or brick and mortar. If a student is enrolled in the public school regardless of location, he/she is a public school student and is counted in every statistic, funded, entered into the national database, assessed, and accredited as a public school student. “Other or Other Means" is not any form of public school and should not be referred to as such.

Concerning Charter Schools, Online Charters & Virtual Public School, according to HSLDA, these schools can not be considered anything other than public in accordance with the following state statutes.


70-3-142.  Funding.

A. ...For charter schools sponsored by the board of education of a technology center school district, a higher education institution, the State Board of Education, or a federally recognized Indian tribe and for statewide virtual charter schools sponsored by the Statewide Virtual Charter School Board, the State Aid allocation for the charter school shall be distributed by the State Board of Education and not more than five percent (5%) of the State Aid allocation may be charged by the sponsor as a fee for administrative services rendered.  


70-3-145.3.  Powers and duties.

A.  Subject to the requirements of the Oklahoma Charter Schools Act, the Statewide Virtual Charter School Board shall:

1.  Provide oversight of the operations of statewide virtual charter schools in this state;


70-3-132v1.  Application of act - Charter schools – Sponsorship - Limitation on establishment of new schools – Conversion schools.

D.  For purposes of the Oklahoma Charter Schools Act, "charter school" means a public school established by contract with a board of education of a school district, a conversion charter school, an area vocational-technical school district, a higher education institution, a federally recognized Indian tribe, or the State Board of Education pursuant to the Oklahoma Charter Schools Act to provide learning that will improve student achievement and as defined in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, 20 U.S.C. 8065.

70-3-145.1.  Statewide Virtual Charter School Board.

A.  There is hereby created the Statewide Virtual Charter School Board.  The Board shall have the sole authority to authorize and sponsor statewide virtual charter schools in this state.  The Board shall be composed of five (5) voting members as follows:

1.  One member appointed by the Governor, who shall be a resident and elector of the Fifth Congressional District;

2.  Two members appointed by the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, one of whom shall be a resident and elector of the First Congressional District and one of whom shall be a resident and elector of the Third Congressional District;

3.  Two members appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, one of whom shall be a resident and elector of the Second Congressional District and one of whom shall be a resident and elector of the Fourth Congressional District; and

4.  The State Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Secretary of Education or their designees shall serve as ex officio nonvoting members, and shall not be counted toward a quorum.

B.  Initial appointments shall be made by August 1, 2012.  The President Pro Tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall each appoint one member for one (1) year and one member for three (3) years.  The Governor shall appoint one member for two (2) years.  Members shall serve until their successors are duly appointed for a term of three (3) years.  Appointments shall be made by and take effect on November 1 of the year in which the appointment is made.  Annually by December 30the Board shall elect from its membership a chair and vice-chair.

C.  A member may be removed from the Board by the appointing authority for cause which shall include, but not be limited to:

1.  Being found guilty by a court of competent jurisdiction of a felony or any offense involving moral turpitude;

2.  Being found guilty of malfeasance, misfeasance or nonfeasance in relation to Board duties;

3.  Being found mentally incompetent by a court of competent jurisdiction; or

4.  Failing to attend three successive meetings of the Board without just cause, as determined by the Board.

D.  Vacancies shall be filled by the appointing authority.

E.  No member of the Senate or House of Representatives may be appointed to the Board while serving as a member of the Legislature, or for two (2) full years following the expiration of the term of office.

F.  The State Department of Education shall provide staff support to the Board until December 31, 2014, and thereafter the Department shall provide office space for the operation of the Board.



And finally, this is where virtual charter schools are prohibited from participating in school activities. This is State law, not simply an opinion. In reference to an equal access bill, If these organizations would like to participate in public school activities, we have no issue with that. Please, do not include true home educators in any legislation allowing such actions. As stated above, we are clearly NOT associated with any of these forms of education and do not want to be included in the legislation. 



E.  Students enrolled full-time in a statewide virtual charter school sponsored by the Statewide Virtual Charter School Board shall not be authorized to participate in any activities administered by the Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association.  However, the students may participate in intramural activities sponsored by a statewide virtual charter school, an online provider for the charter school or any other outside organization.

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