Roughly 450-500 families are losing or have lost special need
services to their children unless they enroll their kids in school.
In January of 2008, as a result of a new, narrow interpretation of
IDEA (federal special education law), the New York State Education
Department sent a memo to all state school districts informing them
that special education services to homeschooled special education
students would have to be terminated. Essentially: because IDEA 2004
does not specifically identify homeschooled students as possible
recipients of IDEA funds and only identifies “public” and “private”
students as eligible for these federal funds, transmission of
services to homeschooled students (who are considered “other
schooled” in the state of New York) could possibly put “out
of compliance” with IDEA and could possibly jeopardize New York’s
continued ability to receive federal monies under IDEA.
Bottom line: Homeschooling is being held hostage in NY. We need our
services back without forcing famililes to enroll their children in school and without
consequences to current and future homeschoolers.
The Task Force to Re-Instate Services to Special Ed. Homeschooled
Students is in the process of seeking litigation on a local level.
They are meeting with legislators and are trying to help mold some of
the language of a new bill.
The task force has three objections to the language of the SED bill
to reinstate services to homeschooled special education students.
1. Location of Services
The task force believes that the language in this part of the bill
should be made more explicit. Additionally, the task force would
prefer that there is clarity in language allowing services to take
place in the home. This issue is particularly worrisome for parents
of medically fragile children and parents within the New York City
school system (who often must receive services at home because the
city schools do not have the space or time to accommodate
2. The IHIP
The task force is concerned that the language of this section of the
bill will lead districts to believe that they have a “perceived duty”
to more-closely scrutinize the IHIPs of special education students,
and would like to add clarifying language to the bill to avoid that
possible interpretation or eliminate reference to an IHIP altogether.
3. Use of the term Homeschooled
Since the term ‘homeschooled’ is not defined elsewhere in the
legislation, the task force is concerned that confusion might ensue
between students that are homeschooled (most often by their families)
and students that are home-educated (due to health issues, rule
infractions, etc. and who are educated by the district). The task
force would like to explore the use of other terms already
established within the legislation.
What You Can Do
Get the word out to the local groups on what is going on in NY.
Mention that in other states that do not recognize Homeschooling as a
private school, this scenario could of played out already or will
play out in the future.
Leave feedback at the places that already covered this (see list
below). Help get the buzz going around the community and see if we
can shake things up a bit and get some attention. Post this to your
websites and discussion groups. Please help our special ed children
at a grassroots level.
http://www.timesuni on.com/AspStorie s/story.asp? storyID=655243
http://www.nydailyn ews.com/ny_ local/education/
2008/01/16/2008- 01-16_special_ education_ funding_for_ homeschool. html
http://www.nypost. com/seven/ 04082008/ news/regionalnew s/
school_cuts_ hit_home_ 105532.htm
http://wnyt. com/article/ 10464/ <– video is on the right, it will
cycle through, click the one with the two girls on the page where it
says “Parents who Home-school question services”
Remember, a society is judged by the way they treat their most
vulnerable members.. what does this say about IDEA and ?