Homeschooling in New Mexico

State Laws

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New Mexico Laws Regulating Home Education
 Summaries and Explanations of New Mexico Homeschooling Laws
 New Mexico Statutes
 Government Publications
 Case Law & Legal Opinions

Summaries and Explanations of New Mexico Homeschooling Laws Back to Top
Definition of Homeschooling in New Mexico
Homeschooling PACT, Parents and Children Together
A summary of the laws regulating home education in New Mexico, provided by Homeschooling PACT, Parents and Children Together.
Home Schools - Frequently Asked Questions
A list of questions and answers about homeschooling in New Mexico, provided by the New Mexico Public Education Department, Alternative Education Unit.
Home Schools Overview
An overview of the the legal aspects of homeschooling in New Mexico, provided by the New Mexico Public Education Department.
New Mexico Home School Laws from HSLDA
HSLDA
The Home School Legal Defense Association provides a brief summary of the homeschooling laws in New Mexico. Includes a link to a legal analysis of laws relating to homeschooling in New Mexico.

New Mexico Statutes Back to Top
22-1-2.1. Home school; requirements.
Any person operating or intending to operate a home school shall:
A. within thirty days of its establishment, notify the state superintendent of the establishment of a home school within thirty days of its establishment and notify the state superintendent in writing on or before April 1 of each subsequent year of operation of the school district from which the home school is drawing students;
B. maintain records of student disease immunization or a waiver of that requirement; and
C. provide instruction by a person possessing at least a high school diploma or its equivalent.
22-12-2. Compulsory school attendance; responsibility.
A. Any qualified student and any person who because of his age is eligible to become a qualified student as defined by the Public School Finance Act [Chapter 22, Article 8 NMSA 1978] until attaining the age of majority shall attend a public school, a private school, a home school or a state institution ...
24-5-1. Immunization regulations.
The public health division of the department of health shall, after consultation with the state board of education, promulgate rules and regulations governing the immunization against diseases deemed to be dangerous to the public health, to be required of children attending public, private, home or parochial schools in the state ...
24-5-3. Exemption from immunization.
A. Any minor child through his parent or guardian may file with the health authority charged with the duty of enforcing the immunization laws:
(1) a certificate of a duly licensed physician stating that the physical condition of the child is such that immunization would seriously endanger the life or health of the child; or
(2) affidavits or written affirmation from an officer of a recognized religious denomination that such child's parents or guardians are bona fide members of a denomination whose religious teaching requires reliance upon prayer or spiritual means alone for healing; or
(3) affidavits or written affirmation from his parent or legal guardian that his religious beliefs, held either individually or jointly with others, do not permit the administration of vaccine or other immunizing agent.
B. Upon filing and approval of such certificate, affidavits or affirmation, the child is exempt from the legal requirement of immunization for a period not to exceed nine months on the basis of any one certificate, affidavits or affirmation.

Government Publications Back to Top
Guidelines for Combining Instruction at Home and School
Students who are in a registered home school, as provided in Section 22-1-2.1, NMSA, 1978, may also attend public schools if the local school district wishes to provide such an option to home school students. However, in order for home school students to be claimed for state funding purposes by a local school district, state law requires that students be "regularly" enrolled in one-half or more of the minimum course requirements approved by the State Board of Education....&uot; Section 22-8-2.M, NMSA, 1978.
     In reference to the law cited above for students in grades 1-8, we generally interpret "one-half or more" to mean that the student attends the public school for at least 50% of the required instructional time as specified in law, Section 22-2-8.1, NMSA, 1978. Minimum course requirements are also defined in law, Section 22-2-8.3, A-F, NMSA, 1978, for grades 1-8.
     For high school students, grades, 9-12, we interpret Section 22-2-8.4, NMSA, 1978, to require a planned course of study for all students leading to graduation. Relatedly, students should be enrolled in state required courses and approved electives leading to the fulfillment of graduation requirements.
     Home school students who are also qualified public school students are subject to rules, regulations, rights, and policies that apply to public schools while attending the public school. While simultaneously participating as a home school student and a public school student, students may receive school credit for course work successfully completed through public school instruction, but not for instruction provided at home. Public schools are strongly encouraged to address any liability-related issues that may apply regarding service to home school students.
     Students may also combine school instruction with home instruction in "Family Schools." Family Schools are programs that are approved by both the local and state boards of education as provided for under the Collaborative School Improvement Programs Act, Section 22-5-5.6, NMSA, 1978. Family school students are not registered home school students. They are qualified public school students enrolled in an alternative education program as approved by the State Board of Education. Because of the waiver authority available to the State Board of Education under the Collaborative School Improvement Programs Act, students in family schools may receive credit for instruction provided both at school and at home.
Home School Procedures for Public School Districts
A list of requirement for public school districts in relations to homeschoolers in their district.
New Mexico Home School Achievement Test Guidelines
I. Each School District is Responsible for the Following:
A. MUST arrange a place and time for testing home school students. The location may be outside the school building. The time must be within the state testing timeframe. Notification of the time and place must be provided to all home school operators by January 30.
B. MUST allow trained home school operators to be test administrators for home school students. When a home school operator(s) is unavailable or not interested, trained school personnel will administer the test. Home school operators other than the test administrator may be present to serve as proctors provided their presence does not disrupt the testing environment. Local school districts will provide training to home school operators on administering the test. The administration of the test to home school students must be monitored at the testing site by paid school employees during their regular working hours. (No more than 30 students should be grouped together for testing with one test administrator and one or two proctors.)
II. Each Home School Operator is Responsible for the Following:
A. Meeting the requirement of public school code: "Test students annually…as determined by the State Superintendent." (S-22-1-2.1)
B. Notifying the appropriate school staff if the student is unable to attend the scheduled testing.
C. Arranging with the school district an appropriate time and place for makeup testing.
III. General Guidelines:
A. All home school children in grades 4, 6, and 8 are required to participate in the state mandated New Mexico Achievement Assessment Program. This assessment is the only norm-referenced achievement test administered statewide to public school students which provides comparability information using national norms. No other statewide testing is required for home school student (The home school students will participate in the norm-referenced CTBS 5/TERRANOVA SURVEY PLUS only, and may opt to take all subjects or just the Reading/language and Mathematics tests within the battery).
B. If a school district assesses a fee, it is recommended that the fee not exceed the contractor's per student cost. Any additional costs associated with a special administration should be reasonable and justifiable.
C. Individual student score reports should be provided to the home school operator for each home school student who is tested.
D. Test answer sheets of home school students in grades 4,6, and 8 taking the required tests will be scored by the test contractor designated by the State Department of Education.
E. Home school students enrolled in grades 4, 6, and 8 who do not test and who are not exempt will be reported to the State Department of Education by the end of the school year. The Department will notify the local school district that the home school operator is in violation of the Statute 22-1-2.1 and the Compulsory School Attendance Law (S-22-12-1). In this event, school district policy should be followed as in the case of any other student who is in violation of this statute.
IV. Optional Testing Procedures
A. Home school operators with student enrolled in grades 4, 6, or 8 may elect to use the Bob Jones University Press (BJUP) testing service instead of testing their students through the New Mexico public schools. BJUP does not offer the CTBS tests. Therefore, the home school operator should request the Iowa Test of Basic Skills, Form L. It is the home school operator's responsibility to make these arrangements and to pay for this service. (By calling 1-800-845-5731 and asking for Customer Service, you may obtain detailed information.)
B. If using the BJUP testing service, it is the responsibility of the home school operator to notify the local school district testing office no later than January 15. This will help staff plan and budget for the year.
Procedures Manual for Home School Operators in New Mexico (html)
Issued by the New Mexico State Department of Education, this Procedures Manual for Home School Operators in New Mexico is intended to provide parents, legal guardians, and local school district officials direction for implementing the legislation regulating home education. This link goes to an html file.
Procedures Manual for Home School Operators in New Mexico (pdf)
Issued by the New Mexico State Department of Education, this Procedures Manual for Home School Operators in New Mexico is intended to provide parents, legal guardians, and local school district officials direction for implementing the legislation regulating home education. This link goes to a pdf file, requiring Adobe Reader to view.
Procedures Manual for Home School Operators in New Mexico (Word Document)
Issued by the New Mexico State Department of Education, this Procedures Manual for Home School Operators in New Mexico is intended to provide parents, legal guardians, and local school district officials direction for implementing the legislation regulating home education. This link goes to a Word file, requiring MS Word to view.

Case Law & Legal Opinions Back to Top
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."


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