Student enrollment declines in non-public education
RALEIGH – The N.C. Division of Non-Public Education (DPNE) in the Department of Administration recently released its annual home school statistical report for the 2011-12 school year. Statewide, the total number of home schools operating for the 2011-2012 school year was 47,977 with an estimated student population of 79,693. The data shows that the number of home schools increased by 5.39 percent and the estimated number of students decreased by 4.69 percent. There are several possible reasons for the decrease in the estimated student enrollment, including: a) the accuracy of the total number of active home schools, b) the larger sample size available this year than in previous years, and c) the accuracy of enrollment numbers disclosed by home school chief administrators. Non-public school laws do not require home schools to disclose the enrollment beyond one student; however, several home schools disclose their full enrollment. The estimated home school enrollment represents approximately 5 percent of the state’s student population. Home schools are located in all 100 counties of the state. The counties with the largest number of home schools during the 2011-2012 school year included Wake (4,419), Mecklenburg (3,617) and Buncombe (1,829). Counties with the smallest number of home schools were Tyrrell (20), Hyde (33) and Clay (48). North Carolina officially legalized the concept of home instruction, in modern times, starting with the 1985-86 school year. Home schools are defined in G.S. 115C-563(a) as “a non-public school in which one or more children of not more than two families or households receive academic instruction from parents or legal guardians, or a member of either household.” For more detailed statistical information, visit the DPNE website at www.ncdnpe.org; click on “Home Schools” and then on “State of North Carolina Home School Statistics.” State of North Carolina home school statistics are available back to the 1985-86 school year and trace the rate of new school growth as well as the operational longevity of home schools.