Arizona is one of a few states where broad school choice access has been in place for some time. As such, it provides an interesting view into how increased choices might impact homeschool participation in other states.

History

Arizona is in the western United States. In 1982, Arizona legalized homeschooling but required parental and student assessments, meaning that both parents and students had to take a test. In 1993, the state eliminated parental proficiency testing requirements. In 1995, the passage of Senate Bill 1348 removed standardized testing requirements for homeschooled students and allowed for homeschooled student participation in local public-school athletic programming. In Arizona, parents can homeschool their children independently or through an umbrella or distance learning program.

Regulation

Arizona requires children ages 6 to 16 to meet compulsory education requirements, which can be met through home-based instruction. Arizona defines home instruction as school conducted primarily by the parent, guardian, or person in custody of the child at home. In Arizona, homeschool families must file a one-time Affidavit of Intent with the county school superintendent’s office within 30 days of beginning homeschool instruction. Along with the affidavit, parents or guardians must provide a birth certificate, reliable proof of the child’s identity/age, or a letter with authorization of child custody. Parents are responsible for providing instruction in all required subjects, including reading, grammar, math, social studies, and science. Testing is not required. Currently, there are no requirements for parents’ educational qualifications or certification. Homeschooled students can be eligible for a GED but not a traditional high school diploma. To re-enter the public school system, homeschooled students must take a grade-level placement test. Information on homeschooling appears to be housed within local county government websites. See here and here for examples.

Public access to SPED services is the same for homeschooled students as those attending Arizona private schools. Similarly, an explicit statute provides homeschooled students access to sports and interscholastic activities in the public school system.

State Data

While the state fails to publicly report the data it collects, there are some hints at the percentage of homeschooled families in the state. According to the U.S. Census, approximately 5.4% of Arizona families homeschooled just before the pandemic which increased to 13% in the fall of 2020. That is 2% above the national average of 11% during that period. During the 2022 and 2023 school years, the U.S. Census found an average of 3.9% of K-12 students were homeschooled in Arizona

It is worth noting that a representative for the state recommended collecting the participation counts district by district. This is a daunting task in some states, but Arizona only has 15 county-level education agencies. Future work will include collecting these data.

Download Homeschool Hub State Data

Cross-Sector Comparison

We cannot calculate a cross-sector comparison because we lack information on homeschool participation.

School Choice Context

In addition to homeschooling, parents in Arizona have many school choice options. These include enrollment in traditional public, private, magnet, charter, and virtual online school options. Both inter- and intra-district choice is allowed. Arizona offers five state-run private scholarship programs and universal school vouchers (HB 2853) to aid with choice. In 2022, Arizona’s Empowerment Scholarships Accounts program, an Education Savings Account (ESA), provides students with up to $7,000 for qualifying educational expenses, which can fund private school education, homeschooling, tutoring, transportation, or education therapy.

Commentary

Parents must file a notice of intent to homeschool with the state, but that information is not collected or reported at the state level. These data should be compiled and publicly reported to increase transparency and understanding of homeschooling in Arizona and the country.