Updated July 31, 2013
State Regulation of Private and Home Schools Map
Accreditation, Registration, Licensing, and Approval
- Accreditation is optional.
- The Alaska Department of Education and Early Development has a duty to accredit private schools that request accreditation and meet accreditation standards as prescribed by regulation. (In practice, Alaska does not accredit schools and has not adopted accreditation regulations, but has an informal agreement with the Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges to provide accreditation to public and private schools that request accreditation.) Alaska Stat. §14.07.020(10).
- Registration has no requirements.
- Licensing has no requirements.
- The Alaska Department of Education and Early Development is not authorized to require the licensing of religious or other private schools. Alaska Stat. §14.07.020(10).
- Approval has no requirements.
- Private schools that elect to comply with Alaska Stat. §§14.45.100–130 are considered "exempt schools," i.e. exempt from other state education requirements. However, health and safety provisions apply equally to "exempt" and "non-exempt" private schools. Alaska Stat. §14.45.100.
- Non-exempt schools are religious or other private schools not operated in compliance with Alaska Stat. §§14.45.100–130 and are not exempt from education laws and regulations. Alaska Stat. §14.45.030.
- Teacher certification is required for non-exempt private schools, but not required for exempt private schools. Alaska Stat. §14.45.100.
Length of School Year and Days
- Exempt schools must operate on a regular schedule excluding reasonable holidays and vacations during at least 180 days of the year. Alaska Stat. §14.45.110(b).
- Non-exempt private schools must comply with the laws and regulations relating to education. Alaska Stat. §14.45.030. A public school term must include not less than 180 days, unless approved by the Commissioner. Alaska Stat. §14.03.030.
- Private education satisfies the Alaska compulsory school attendance law if the academic education provided is comparable to that offered by the public schools in the area. Alaska Stat. §14.30.010(b)(1).
Recordkeeping and Reports
- Both exempt and non-exempt private schools are required to submit a Corporal Punishment Policy to the State of Alaska Department of Education and Early Development. The policy must be written and explain the details of its use (who may administer, what instrument is used, privacy issues). Private schools must gain written consent before administering corporal punishment. 4 AAC 42.200.
- Non-exempt schools must submit regular monthly attendance reports and annual reports to the commissioner in the same manner as teachers and superintendents in the public schools. Alaska Stat. §14.45.030.
- An exempt school must maintain monthly attendance records for each student enrolled Alaska Stat. §14.45.110(b).
- By October 15 each year, exempt schools must make an annual report to the Commissioner of Education of the number of students in each grade and the school calendar. Alaska Stat. §14.45.110(b).
- Exempt schools must maintain permanent student records reflecting immunizations, physical examinations, standardized testing, academic achievement, and courses taken. The chief administrative officer must certify that the records are being maintained. Alaska Stat. §14.45.130.
- Parents or guardians of children attending exempt schools must file an annual notice of enrollment with the local public school superintendent. The form must be signed by the parent or guardian and chief administrative officer of the exempt school and then submitted to the local public school superintendent by the parent. If the child withdraws, the exempt school must notify the public school superintendent within a reasonable time. Alaska Stat. §14.45.110(a).
Health and Safety Requirements
- The Alaska Department of Education and Early Development has a duty to prescribe by regulation standards to assure healthful and safe conditions in the private schools. Standards for private schools may not be more stringent than those for public schools. Alaska Stat. §14.07.020(7).
- Private schools must instruct pupils by means of drills to safely exit school buildings in an emergency. Drills must be conducted once each month during the school term, weather permitting. Alaska Stat. §14.03.140.
- School teachers and school administrative staff members of private schools who in the performance of their occupational duties have reasonable cause to suspect that a child has suffered harm as a result of child abuse or neglect must immediately report the harm to the Alaska Department of Education. A person required to report child abuse or neglect to the Department is not relieved of the obligation by notifying his supervisor of the harm. If the alleged abuse occurred at a private school and was caused by a school employee, the law enforcement agency will notify the chief administrator of the school. In the event the allegation of abuse is against the chief administrator or his immediate family, the agency will notify the Commissioner of Education. The notification must set out the factual determination of the law enforcement agency. Alaska Stat. §47.17.020(a)(2), (f), (g).
- Private school officials have the authority to search school lockers as provided in Alaska Stat. §14.03.105, §14.45.190.
- The Alaska Department of Education and Early Development provides transportation for nonpublic school students who travel comparable distances and the same routes as public school students. Alaska Stat. §14.09.020.
- There is no state policy at this time pertaining to textbooks for private schools.
- Exempt schools must administer a nationally standardized test selected by the chief administrative officer of the school to all students enrolled in grades four, six, and eight at least once each school year. The test must measure achievement in English grammar, reading, spelling and mathematics. The school must maintain records of the results and make them available to parents or guardians. Composite test results for the school must be made available annually to the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development. These results are not public information unless the public school is also required to release identical information. Alaska Stat. §14.45.120.
- There is no state policy at this time pertaining to special education for private schools.
Nursing and Health
- There is no state policy at this time pertaining to nursing and health for private schools.
- There is no state policy at this time pertaining to technology for private schools.
- There is no state policy at this time pertaining to professional development for private schools.
Reimbursement for Performing State and Local Functions
- There is no state policy at this time pertaining to reimbursement for performing state and local functions.
- The Alaska Constitution exempts property used exclusively for nonprofit religious, charitable, or educational purposes from taxation. Alaska Constitution, Finance and Taxation Art.IX, Sec. 1.
Public Aid for Private Education
- Constitutional Provisions: The Alaska Constitution provides "No money shall be paid from public funds for the direct benefit of any religious or other private educational institution." Alaska Constitution, Education, and Welfare, Art. VII, Sec.1.
- Programs for Financial Assistance for Attendance at Private Schools: There is no such program at this time pertaining to financial assistance for attendance at private schools.
- The state recognizes several options under which a child may be educated in his or her home and meet the Alaska compulsory enrollment law. Alaska Stat. §14.30.010.
- The Alaska home school statute states that compulsory attendance is met "if a child is being educated in the child's home by a parent or legal guardian." Alaska Stat. §14.30.010(b)(12).
- Alaska statutes that address other alternatives to attending public school include: 1) attending a home school that meets legal requirements qualifying it as a "religious or other private school"; 2) tutoring by a certified teacher; 3) enrolling in "a full-time program of correspondence study approved by the department"; and 4) participating in a school board approved educational experience requested in writing by the child's parents or guardian for excuse from school attendance. Alaska Stat. §14.45.100-14.45.200, §14.30.010(b)(1)(B), §14.30.010(b)(1)(C), §14.30.010(b)(10)(B); §14.20.020, §14.30.010(b)(11).
Initial and Renewal Applications
- Parents intending to homeschool their children are not required to register with the state or their local school district. Additionally, there are no requirements to notify, seek approval, test, file forms, or have any teacher qualifications. Alaska Stat. §14.30.010(b)(12). See also, State of Alaska Department of Education and Early Development Frequently Asked Questions.
- If the parent chooses to homeschool through the use of a private tutor that individual must have a teacher certification. Requirements for issuance of a teacher certificate in Alaska include finger printing. Alaska Stat. §14.30.010(b)(1)(B), §14.20.020.
- If the parent chooses to homeschool through establishing the home school as a private or religious school option, forms or reports are required for the following: affidavit of compliance; corporal punishment policy; private, religious or other private schools enrollment; school calendar; enrollment reporting for school district; immunization; standardized testing; and academic achievement. Alaska Stat. §14.45.100-14.45.200. See also, State of Alaska Department of Education and Early Development's Guide for Establishing a Private or Religious School.
Curriculum and Instruction
- Home schools are exempt from fire, safety, and asbestos regulations as well as from developing a corporal punishment policy. State of Alaska Department of Education and Early Development's Guide for Establishing a Private or Religious School.
Assessment and Diplomas
- No testing requirements are set for a home school unless it is operating as a private or religious school. If this is the case, then the parent must administer any nationally standardized achievement test for English grammar, reading, spelling, and mathematics. Assessment is required of students in grades four, six, and eight. Alaska Stat. §14.45.120. See also, State of Alaska Department of Education and Early Development's Guide for Establishing a Private or Religious School.
Public School Access
- Beginning July 1, 2013, homeschooled students have the opportunity to participate in school sports and interscholastic activities held at public schools. Alaska Stat. §14.30.365.
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Contents: Guide for Establishing an Exempt, Religious or Other Private School; General Instructions; Affidavit of Compliance; Corporal Punishment Policy; School Calendar; Enrollment Reporting Form for School District
Title 4 Education and Early Development
Alaska Statutes Index by Year
Title 14. Education, Libraries, and Museums
Chapter 14.45. Private and Denominational Schools
Contact Information--State and Federal Departments of Education