Private School Regulation
Under Michigan law, the Superintendent of Public instruction has supervisory
power over all private, denominational and parochial schools, i.e. schools
other than public schools giving instruction to children below the age
of 16 years, in the first 8 grades. The sanitary conditions, the courses
of study, and the qualifications of the teachers are intended to meet
the same standards provided under the general school laws of the state.
Mich. Com. Laws §§ 388.551; 388.552.
schools satisfying the compulsory school attendance statute must
be approved by the state. Mich. Comp. Laws § 380.1561(3).
Length of School Year/Day: Regular attendance
at a state approved nonpublic school satisfies the compulsory attendance
statute. Mich. Comp. Laws § 380.1561.(3)(a).
Instruction in English: English must be the basic
language of instruction in any nonpublic school. This mandate does
not prohibit religious instruction in a foreign language, classes
to become conversant in a foreign language, or bilingual instruction
to assist limited English-speaking students. Mich. Comp. Laws § 380.1151.
Discrimination: Private schools are prohibited
from discriminating against an individual based on a handicap that
is unrelated to the individual's ability to utilize and benefit from
the school or the individual's use of adaptive devices. In addition,
private schools are prohibited from utilizing textbooks and learning
materials that promote or foster physical or mental stereotypes.
Mich. Comp. Laws §§ 37.1401; 37.1402.
Teacher Certification: Under Michigan law, teachers
in the regular or elementary grade studies in a private, denominational
or parochial school, i.e. a school other than a public school
giving instruction to children below the age of 16 years, in the
first 8 grades, must hold a teaching certificate that would qualify
them to teach in like grades of the public schools. Mich. Comp. Laws §§ 388.552;
388.553. The Michigan Supreme Court recently ruled this provision
unconstitutional when applied to families whose religious convictions
prohibit the use of certified instructors. People v. DeJonge,
442 Mich. 266 (Mich. 1993).
Persons without valid teaching certificates who have the requisite
college credit may apply to the Michigan Department of Education
for a teaching permit for employment in a nonpublic school under
Mich. Admin. Code r. 390.1142 (full-year permit); 390.1143 (substitute
permit); and 390.1144 (emergency permit).
Curriculum: Attendance at a nonpublic school satisfies
the compulsory attendance statute if the school teaches subjects
comparable to those taught in the local public schools to children
of corresponding age and grade. Mich. Comp. Laws § 380.1561(3)(a).
Nonpublic schools must provide regular instruction in the constitutions
of the United States and Michigan, and the history and present form
of government of the United States, Michigan, and its political subdivisions.
The successful completion of a 1-semester course in civics is required
prior to graduation. Mich. Comp. Laws § 380.1166.
The state board of education is charged with developing a recommended
model core curriculum for the local school districts. The curriculum
defines the outcomes to be achieved by all K-12 pupils. The Board
will make the model curriculum available to nonpublic schools for
their consideration in developing their own core curriculum. Mich.
Comp. Laws § 380.1278(6).
The State Board of Education is authorized to develop guidelines
for expanding curriculum on the culture of ethnic, religious, and
racial minority peoples, and the contributions of women. The guidelines
must be made available to nonpublic schools. Mich. Comp. Laws § 380.1174.
Special Education: The policy of the Michigan
Department of Education, Office of Special Education and early Intervention
Services on this matter is stated in Michigan's Special Education
The Michigan Auxiliary Services Act and related rules require
that all school districts provide students enrolled in nonpublic
schools with a genuine opportunity for equitable participation
in special education services in accordance with requirements established
by the School Code of 1976 and the IDEA. R 340.293 of the Administrative
Rules requires school districts to notify in writing, no later
than April 1 of each school year, all private or nonpublic schools
within each district as to the available programs and services.
Private nonpublic schools are then to respond by indicating which
of those services they anticipate will be needed. Administrative
The procedures for referral, evaluation, determination of eligibility,
and IEP development are the same as those presented in this Plan.
The public agency which provides a child with disabilities in a private
school special education and/or related services shall initiate and
conduct meetings to develop, review, and revise an IEP for a child
and ensure participation of the private/parochial school representative
in these meetings. The public agency will provide the special education
and/or related services in accordance with the child?s IEP. However,
the agency, teacher, or other person cannot be held accountable if
the child with disabilities does not achieve the growth projected
in the annual goals and objectives.
Special education programs are available at public schools to nonpublic
school students who are dually enrolled.
Health: Children registering for the first time
in a school must present a certificate of immunization, a statement
of exemption based on a physician's recommendation or a religious
conviction. A school administrator must not admit a student unless
he has received a minimum of one dose of immunizing agent against
each disease specified or is exempt. Mich. Comp. Laws §§ 333.9208,
9215; 380.1177. Before November 1 of each year, the school administrator
must submit to the local health departments the immunization status
of new entering students. By February 1, the administrator must update
the list for incoming students. Mich. Comp. Laws §§ 333.9209
and 380.1177. If the immunization level of a nonpublic school falls
below the level necessary to guard against the spread of the disease,
the school may make the immunization requirements a condition for
admission. Mich. Comp. Laws § 333.9212.
Private school students entering kindergarten must submit evidence
of a preschool vision screening test prior to enrollment unless the
parents/guardians submit a statement that the test is contrary to
their religious convictions. Mich. Comp. Laws § 380.1177(2).
Michigan's statutory prohibition against smoking in a public place
or at a meeting of a public body does not apply to private educational
facilities after regularly scheduled school hours. Mich. Comp. Laws § 333.12603.
Safety: Prior to either employing or making an
offer of employment to a teacher, administrator, substitute teacher,
school nurse, school psychologist, or other certified (State Board
of Education approved) personnel, a non-public school must request
a criminal history check on the applicant through both the Department
of State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. 1992 MI
Public Act 99 and 1995 MI Public Act 83.
Non-public schools may, under certain conditions, "conditionally
employ" a teacher, administrator, substitute teacher, school nurse,
or school psychologist until the results of the criminal records
check are received. The Department of State Police is required to
respond within 30 days. 1993 MI Public Act 68.
The superintendent, chief administrative officer of a non-public
school, or the president of a school board of a public or non-public
school is required to notify the State Board of Education of a certified
teacher, school administrator, school counselor, etc. who has been
convicted of any felony or certain misdemeanors. 1995 MI Public Act
K-12 nonpublic schools must comply with federal standards requiring
implementation of operations and maintenance plans for educational
facilities containing asbestos or asbestos-containing materials.
1993 MI Public Act 51.
School buses with seating capacity of 12 or more and used by nonpublic
schools are subject to annual inspections by the Department of State
Police. Mich. Comp. Laws § 257.715a.
Transportation: Under the Michigan State Constitution,
the state legislature may provide transportation to and from school
for nonpublic school students. Michigan Const. Art. 8, Sec. 2. Mich.
Comp. Laws § 380.1217. Local school districts that provide transportation
to resident pupils must provide free transportation to nonpublic
school students with some limitations. Mich. Comp. Laws § 380.1321,
The advisory committee to the Department of Education on school
bus matters includes a member representing nonpublic schools. Mich.
Comp. Laws § 257.1870.
Home Schooling: State laws pertaining to private
schools also pertain to home schooling.
Public Aid for Private Schools/Private School Students: The
Michigan Constitution prohibits public appropriations for the benefit
of any religious sect or society. Michigan Const. Art. 1, Sec. 4.
Mich. Comp. Laws § 380.1217.
The Michigan Constitution prohibits public appropriations directly
or indirectly to aid or maintain nonpublic pre-elementary, elementary
or secondary schools. Michigan Const. Art. 8, Sec. 2. The Michigan
Supreme Court has interpreted this provision to prohibit public payment
of lay teachers in nonpublic schools; the provision is not a bar
to nonpublic school student participation in federally subsidized
programs designed to aid educationally deprived elementary and secondary
school children, shared time programs, special education services,
and drivers training. Traverse City School District v. Attorney
General, 185 N.W. 2d 9 (Mich. 1971).
Property owned and occupied by nonprofit religious or educational
organizations and used exclusively for religious or educational purposes,
is exempt from real and personal property taxes. Michigan Const.
Art. 9, Sec. 4.
Nonpublic schools are exempt from the Michigan general sales tax
for the purchase of tangible personal property including textbooks.
Mich. Comp. Laws § 205.54a.
Nonpublic school students may participate in shared time instruction,
such as band, art, domestic science, shop, advanced math, and science
at the local public schools. Mich. Comp. Laws § 380.1147. Snyder
v. Charlotte Public School District, 365 N.W.2d 151 (Mich. 1985).
Examinations or health services provided to elementary and secondary
students must be provided on an equal basis to children in public
and nonpublic schools. Mich. Comp. Laws § 333.9105.
Local school districts that provide auxiliary services must provide
the same services to nonpublic school students on an equal basis.
Auxiliary services include: health and nursing services and examinations;
street crossing guard services; speech and language services; school
social work services; school psychological services; teacher consultant
services for handicapped pupils and other ancillary services for
the handicapped; remedial reading; and other services determined
by the legislature. Mich. Comp. Laws §380.1296. Transportation
to the auxiliary services must also be provided, with some limitations.
Mich. Comp. Laws § 380.1296.
Educational media centers operated by intermediate school districts
to provide teaching materials and services may serve nonpublic schools.
Mich. Comp. Laws § 380.671(2).
Nonpublic school students may participate in the mathematics and
science centers funded by the state to provide accelerated and innovative
instruction in mathematics, science, and computer science. Mich.
Comp. Laws § 388.1699.
Nonpublic schools are reimbursed, on an equal basis with public
schools, for school bus safety education costs incurred for the benefit
of school bus drivers. Mich. Comp. Laws § 257.1851.
State grants for vocational-technical education are conditioned
on acceptance of nonpublic school pupils. Mich. Comp. Laws § 380.686.
Miscellaneous: The Michigan Constitution recognizes, "Religion,
morality and knowledge being necessary to good government and the
happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever
be encouraged." Michigan Const. Art. 8, Sec. 1.
Before the construction or remodeling of any private school building
is commenced, the Superintendent of Public Instruction must give
written approval. The building specifications must meet certain standards
outlined by statute. Mich. Comp. Laws § 388.851.
The Superintendent of Public Instruction, or his agent, has the
authority to investigate a nonpublic school at any time regarding
the school's sanitary condition, records of enrollment, courses of
study, and teacher qualifications. A nonpublic school must admit
the Superintendent or his agents to the school. A nonpublic school's
refusal is sufficient cause to suspend the operation of the school.
Mich. Comp. Laws § 388.555.
Private school teachers, administrators and librarians are exempt
from Michigan's criminal code provision prohibiting the dissemination
of sexually explicit material to minors. Mich. Comp. Laws § 722.676.
Private, denominational and parochial schools, i.e. schools
other than public schools giving instruction to children below the
age of 16 years, in the first 8 grades, found in violation of the
Nonpublic School Act, Mich. Comp. Laws § 388.551 et seq.,
are entitled to a hearing on the matter. Mich. Comp. Laws § 388.554.
Nonpublic schools may establish academic or attendance standards,
or both, as eligibility requirements for students enrolled in a driver
education course conducted by the school. Mich. Comp. Laws § 380.1302.