Public school leaders have grown accustomed to the ground shifting beneath their feet. The one constant we could always rely on was this: Come fall, students would be there, waiting. These days, though, even that’s not a given.
In the absence of federal homeschooling guidelines, states have created provisions for such students that vary widely from one place to another, according to a July report from the Education Commission of the States.
Some states, such as Alaska, Idaho and Michigan, have little or no homeschooling regulation. Others, including Washington, New York and Pennsylvania, have robust oversight policies.
Driven by a commitment to serve all students, or by a desire to maximize state funding, some districts are offering families that educate their children at home everything from free computers to curricular guidance.
The era of school choice and open enrollment has driven many district leaders to create innovative programs and to more aggressively publicize their offerings to compete with charters and private schools that have drawn away families and funding.
Here, three districts turned the tide on enrollment with enhanced communication, construction and even recruitment initiatives.