There were 1.1 million homeschooled students in the United States in 2003, accounting for 2.2 percent of the school-age population, according to the most recent data from the National Center for Education Statistics. That was up from 850,000 students, or 1.7 percent of the population, in 1999. The Home School Legal Defense Association Web site says at least one-quarter of a million students in high school alone are homeschooled. There is no statistic for the number of homeschooled students in Oklahoma. Julie Miller with the Home Educators' Resource Organization of Oklahoma said the organization does not keep those statistics. The State Department of Education doesn't keep count, either.
State bars interferenceIn fact, the Education Department is prohibited by law from gathering that data, said spokeswoman Shelly Hickman. By law, the department is not allowed to monitor homeschooling families or otherwise get involved in homeschooling issues, she said. Hickman said the department does its best to help provide contacts and connections for people who choose homeschooling. The department's Web site, www.sde.state.ok.us, lists links to resources. Public schools receive local funding collected through property taxes. Public schools do not get funding through the state aid per-pupil formula for children not enrolled — whether they are homeschooled or in a private school.
State lawSection XIII-4 reads, in part: The Legislature shall provide for the compulsory attendance at some public or other school, unless other means of education are provided, of all the children in the state who are sound in mind and body, between the ages of eight and 16 years...” (Emphasis added.)