The legislature hereby recognizes that private schools should be subject only to those minimum state controls necessary to insure the health and safety of all the students in the state and to insure a sufficient basic education to meet usual graduation requirements. The state, any agency or official thereof, shall not restrict or dictate any specific educational or other programs for private schools except as hereinafter in this section provided.
The administrative or executive authority of private schools or private school districts shall file each year with the state board of education a statement certifying that the minimum requirements hereinafter set forth are being met, noting any deviations. The state board of education may request clarification or additional information. After review of the statement, the state board of education will notify schools or school districts of any concerns, deficiencies, and deviations which must be corrected. If there are any unresolved concerns, deficiencies, or deviations, the school or school district may request or the state board of education on its own initiative may grant provisional status for one year in order that the school or school district may take action to meet the requirements. The state board of education shall not require private school students to meet the student learning goals, to learn the state learning standards, or to be assessed pursuant to RCW 28A.655.070
. However, private schools may choose, on a voluntary basis, to have their students learn these state learning standards or take the assessments. Minimum requirements shall be as follows:
(1) Except as provided in RCW 28A.195.040
, the minimum school year for instructional purposes shall consist of no less than one hundred eighty school days or the equivalent in annual minimum instructional hour offerings, with a school-wide annual average total instructional hour offering of one thousand hours for students enrolled in grades one through twelve, and at least four hundred fifty hours for students enrolled in kindergarten.
(2) The school day shall be the same as defined in RCW 28A.150.203
(3) All classroom teachers shall hold appropriate Washington state certification except as follows:
(a) Teachers for religious courses or courses for which no counterpart exists in public schools shall not be required to obtain a state certificate to teach those courses.
(b) In exceptional cases, people of unusual competence but without certification may teach students so long as a certified person exercises general supervision. Annual written statements shall be submitted to the state board of education reporting and explaining such circumstances.
(4) An approved private school may operate an extension program for parents, guardians, or persons having legal custody of a child to teach children in their custody. The extension program shall require at a minimum that:
(a) The parent, guardian, or custodian be under the supervision of an employee of the approved private school who is certificated under chapter 28A.410
(b) The planning by the certificated person and the parent, guardian, or person having legal custody include objectives consistent with this subsection and subsections (1), (2), (5), (6), and (7) of this section;
(c) The certificated person spend a minimum average each month of one contact hour per week with each student under his or her supervision who is enrolled in the approved private school extension program;
(d) Each student's progress be evaluated by the certificated person; and
(e) The certificated employee shall not supervise more than thirty students enrolled in the approved private school's extension program.
(5) Appropriate measures shall be taken to safeguard all permanent records against loss or damage.
(6) The physical facilities of the school or district shall be adequate to meet the program offered by the school or district: PROVIDED, That each school building shall meet reasonable health and fire safety requirements. A residential dwelling of the parent, guardian, or custodian shall be deemed to be an adequate physical facility when a parent, guardian, or person having legal custody is instructing his or her child under subsection (4) of this section.
(7) Private school curriculum shall include instruction of the basic skills of occupational education, science, mathematics, language, social studies, history, health, reading, writing, spelling, and the development of appreciation of art and music, all in sufficient units for meeting state board of education graduation requirements.
(8) Each school or school district shall be required to maintain up-to-date policy statements related to the administration and operation of the school or school district.
All decisions of policy, philosophy, selection of books, teaching material, curriculum, except as in subsection (7) of this section provided, school rules and administration, or other matters not specifically referred to in this section, shall be the responsibility of the administration and administrators of the particular private school involved.