David Mills, the recently-promoted director of the Division of Non-Public Education, will conduct site visits of five home schools this week–the first site visits to take place in more than 20 years.
Mills randomly selected the five home schools and also sent letters informing them that he will spend 30 minutes with them at their home, giving them a specific date and time and offering to allow the home school educators to suggest alternative dates and times that work better for them, according to North Carolinians for Home Education.
For the past two decades, Mills’ office has conducted what he called “record reviews” of home schools in church basements across the state, in addition to allowing home schoolers to send in their compliance paperwork. “But this month I’ll be conducting the first home visits in 22 years,” Mills told NC Policy Watch in an interview last week.
Mills said that home schools have grown from just a few hundred back in the 1970s to now more than 57,000 homeschools that the state has on record today. “We couldn’t go out and see 57,000 home schools each year,” said Mills. But having several home school educators come to church basements to present their immunization, attendance and standardized test records made it possible to provide some oversight, Mills said.
NCHE’s website says that if home schools are not comfortable with home visits, they are entitled to refuse the visit under the 4th Amendment, as long as they present the records to DNPE outside of the home.