Pennsylvania Statutes Title 24 P.S. Education § 13-1327. Compulsory school attendance

(a) Except as hereinafter provided, every child of compulsory school age having a legal residence in this Commonwealth, as provided in this article, and every migratory child of compulsory school age, is required to attend a day school in which the subjects and activities prescribed by the standards of the State Board of Education are taught in the English language.  In lieu of such school attendance, any child fifteen years of age with the approval of the district superintendent and the approval of the Secretary of Education, and any child sixteen years of age with the approval of the district superintendent of schools, may enroll as a day student in a private trade school or in a private business school licensed by the Department of Education, or in a trade or business school, or department operated by a local school district or districts.  Such modified program offered in a public school must meet the standards prescribed by the State Board of Education or the State Board for Vocational Education.  Except as hereinafter provided, every parent, guardian, or other person having control or charge of any child or children of compulsory school age is required to send such child or children to a day school in which the subjects and activities prescribed by the standards of the State Board of Education are taught in the English language.  Such parent, guardian, or other person having control or charge of any child or children, fifteen or sixteen years of age, in accordance with the provisions of this act, may send such child or children to a private trade school or private business school licensed by the Department of Education, or to a trade or business school, or department operated by a local school district or districts.  Such modified program offered in a public school must meet the standards prescribed by the State Board of Education or the State Board for Vocational Education.  Such child or children shall attend such school continuously through the entire term, during which the public schools in their respective districts shall be in session, or in cases of children of migrant laborers during the time the schools are in session in the districts in which such children are temporarily domiciled.  The financial responsibility for the education of such children of migrant laborers shall remain with the school district in which such children of migrant laborers are temporarily domiciled;  except in the case of special schools or classes conducted by an intermediate unit and approved by the Department of Education or conducted by the Department of Education.  The certificate of any principal or teacher of a private school, or of any institution for the education of children, in which the subjects and activities prescribed by the standards of the State Board of Education are taught in the English language, setting forth that the work of said school is in compliance with the provisions of this act, shall be sufficient and satisfactory evidence thereof.  Regular daily instruction in the English language, for the time herein required, by a properly qualified private tutor, shall be considered as complying with the provisions of this section.  For the purposes of this section, “properly qualified private tutor” shall mean a person who is certified by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to teach in the public schools of Pennsylvania;  who is teaching one or more children who are members of a single family;  who provides the majority of the instruction to such child or children;  and who is receiving a fee or other consideration for such instructional services.  No person who would be disqualified from school employment by the provisions of subsection (e) of section 111   1 may be a private tutor, as provided for in this section.  The private tutor must file a copy of his Pennsylvania certification and the required criminal history record with the student's district of residence superintendent.

(b) A child enrolled in a day school which is operated by a bona fide church or other religious body, and the parent, guardian or other person having control or charge of any such child or children of compulsory school age shall be deemed to have met the requirements of this section if that school provides a minimum of one hundred eighty (180) days of instruction or nine hundred (900) hours of instruction per year at the elementary level or nine hundred ninety (990) hours per year of instruction at the secondary level and:

(1) At the elementary school level, the following courses are taught:  English, to include spelling, reading and writing;  arithmetic;  science;  geography;  history of the United States and Pennsylvania;  civics;  safety education, including regular and continuous instruction in the dangers and prevention of fires;  health and physiology;  physical education;  music;  and art.

(2) At the secondary school level, the following courses are offered:  English, to include language, literature, speech and composition;  science, to include biology and chemistry;  geography;  social studies, to include civics, economics, world history, history of the United States and Pennsylvania;  a foreign language;  mathematics, to include general mathematics and statistics, algebra and geometry;  art;  music;  physical education;  health and physiology;  and safety education, including regular and continuous instruction in the dangers and prevention of fires.

The requirements contained in sections 1511 and 1605 of this act   2 shall not apply to such schools.  The notarized affidavit of the principal of any such school, filed with the Department of Education and setting forth that such subjects are offered in the English language in such school, whether it is a nonprofit organization, and that such school is otherwise in compliance with the provisions of this act, shall be satisfactory and sufficient evidence thereof.  It is the policy of the Commonwealth to preserve the primary right and the obligation of the parent or parents, or person or persons in loco parentis to a child, to choose the education and training for such child.  Nothing contained in this act shall empower the Commonwealth, any of its officers, agencies or subdivisions to approve the course content, faculty, staff or disciplinary requirements of any religious school referred to in this section without the consent of said school.

(c) A child enrolled in a day or boarding school accredited by an accrediting association which is approved by the State Board of Education, and the parent, guardian or other person having designated control or charge of any child or children of compulsory school age shall be deemed to have met the requirements of subsection (a).

(d) Instruction to children of compulsory school age provided in a home education program, as provided for in section 1327.1  3 of this act, shall be considered as complying with the provisions of this section, except that any student who has been identified pursuant to the provisions of the Education of the Handicapped Act ( Public Law 91-230 , 20 U.S.C. § 1401 et seq. ) as needing special education services, excluding those students identified as gifted and/or talented, shall be in compliance with the requirements of compulsory attendance by participating in a home education program, as defined in section 1327.1, when the program addresses the specific needs of the exceptional student and is approved by a teacher with a valid certificate from the Commonwealth to teach special education or a licensed clinical or certified school psychologist, and written notification of such approval is submitted with the notarized affidavit required under section 1327.1(b).  The supervisor of a home education program may request that the school district or intermediate unit of residence provide services that address the specific needs of the exceptional student in the home education program.  When the provision of services is agreed to by both the supervisor and the school district or intermediate unit, all services shall be provided in the public schools or in a private school licensed to provide such programs and services.

1 24 P.S. § 1-111.
2 24 P.S. §§ 15-1511 and 16-1605.
3 24 P.S. § 13-1327.1.

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