An Examination of the Legal and Policy Contexts Governing Access to Public School Resources for Homeschooled Students in Wake County, North Carolina Public Deposited

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  • March 20, 2019
  • Roulhac, Gwen
    • Affiliation: School of Education, Educational Leadership Graduate Program
  • Homeschooling continues to experience unprecedented growth across the United States, including in North Carolina. More than 2 million children nationally and over 106,000 children in North Carolina are enrolled in homeschools. North Carolina’s original homeschool law had long been interpreted to mean that parents had to provide all academic instruction. North Carolina’s homeschool law was revised in 2013 such that parents are authorized to determine additional sources of academic instruction for their homeschooled children. Parents have sought access to public school resources as one such additional source of academic instruction. Homeschoolers’ access to public school resources is highly contextualized due to North Carolina’s “district discretion” policy. This qualitative case study aimed to understand how the legal and policy contexts at the state and local levels contributed to the accessibility of public school resources for homeschooled students in Wake County. Data for this study were generated through an analysis of the laws and policies governing homeschooled students’ access to public school resources. Additionally, individual interviews with 18 Wake County homeschool educators who had three or more years of homeschooling experience and who had homeschooled or were homeschooling a high school-age child revealed homeschool educators’ advocacy on behalf of their children, their interactions with public school administrators, and their selective use of public school resources. The researcher used social construction to analyze homeschool educators’ stories and to draw connections between shifts in policy and policymakers’ constructions of homeschoolers as a target group. The findings suggest that the passage of the revised homeschool law was mostly symbolic. The data also support the idea that the positive or negative constructions different policymakers held about homeschoolers have implications for both policy and practice. Policymakers as well as public school and homeschool educators and students have a vested interest in the implementation of policies that govern homeschooled students’ access to public school resources. Should local education policymakers in Wake County want to fill the policy vacuum that currently exists, the present study offers insights into which resources homeschool educators most desire and the extent to which homeschoolers would like to engage with public schools.
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Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Thompson Dorsey, Dana
  • Veitch, James
  • Noblit, George W.
  • Fields-Smith, Cheryl
  • Akos, Patrick
  • Doctor of Education
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2016

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