Home schoolers lose special education aid, 15 January 2008, Times Union, Albany, New York
School districts across the state will soon be ordered to stop providing special education services to home-schooled students, according to state Education Department officials who say the change is mandated by federal law.
The policy, according to the memo, stems from federal law that allows money for home schools only if they are recognized by the state as schools. New York state law does not do that. The new policy does not apply to private and parochial school students.
The New York State Education Department issued a memo about the changes, and has already removed the Q&A section about special education from it’s website.
Provision of Special Education Services to Students with Disabilities who are Home Schooled, 3 January 2008, The State Education Department, The University of the State of New York, Albany, New York
In June 2007, the SRO [State Review Office] issued a decision (Application of a Child with a Disability, SRO Appeal No. 07-043) which determined that the provision of IEP services by a public school district to students with disabilities who are home schooled students educated pursuant to section 100.10 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education is not authorized under IDEA or NYS law. The SROâ€™s decision is currently part of an appeal filed by the parents against the school district in Federal District Court.
The Department will be advising the field that the provision of IEP services by a public school district to students with disabilities who are home schooled students … is not authorized under IDEA or NYS law. This communication will recommend that, for home schooled students currently receiving special education services from the public school district, the Committee on Special Education reconvene to determine if any amendments to the IEP are needed to ensure that FAPE [free appropriate public education] is provided upon enrollment of the student in the public schools. Districts will be also advised to notify the parents of the need to review and revise, as appropriate, the childâ€™s individualized home instruction plan (IHIP) to address their childâ€™s special education needs. The IHIP would then be reviewed and approved by the school superintendent. As home instruction is, by its very nature, individualized and flexible, parents may provide for the special education needs of their children in different ways than those contained in the IEP.
Home Instruction Questions and Answers, New York State Education Department
70. If home-instructed students cannot be awarded local or Regents high school diplomas, how can they gain entrance to colleges?
A comparison page is available (as of 15 Jan 08) at the New York Home Education Network (NYHEN) website.
IMPORTANT: The State Education Department deleted this section on 12/12/2007, and is planning to prohibit districts from providing special ed services to homeschoolers. For more information, see our government issues page. Students with Special Educational Needs
70. May the parents of a student with specialized educational needs choose to provide home instruction for the student? Yes. Commissioner’s Regulation 100.10 can be applied to any student of compulsory attendance age without regard to a possible or identified handicapping condition.
71. Is the district required to provide services to a student who has been identified by the Committee on Special Education? The district is required to make appropriate services available to any identified student in accordance with the approved Individualized Education Plan (IEP).
72. Are there any restrictions on the availability of services to be provided by the district? The district has the obligation to offer all the services contained in the student’s IEP.
73. Is the district required to provide transportation in order for the student to receive services? Transportation must be offered to the extent necessary to enable the student to benefit from the instruction. The need for special transportation must be addressed in the student’s IEP.
74. Where are the services delivered? Generally, services would be delivered at the public school. However, the district and the parents may agree to have services delivered at an off-site as well (i.e., library, youth center, etc.)
75. May services be delivered at the student’s home? There is no prohibition against providing the services in the student’s home. If the district and parent agree that this is the most convenient and appropriate location, services may be provided to the student in the home.
76. When are the services delivered? The parent and district officials should discuss arrangements so that a block of time can be arranged for services which minimizes disruption.
77. May a parent elect to have the student receive some but not all of the services specified in the IEP? Yes. Given the nature of home instruction, a parent may assume the responsibility for providing some of the needed services and may choose to have any other(s) specified in the IEP provided by the district.
78. Does a parent have the right to refuse the delivery of any services by the public school district? Yes. If the parent refuses services for a student known to have a handicapping condition, the parent should address the needs of the child in the IHIP.
79. To what extent must the IHIP include the services specified in the IEP? The IHIP should include the equivalent services listed in the IEP. As home instruction is, by its very nature, individualized and flexible, parents may provide for the needs of their children in different ways than those contained in the IEP.
80. Must the Committee on Special Education review and/or approve the IHIP for a student with special educational needs? No. The superintendent of schools of the district is responsible for determining whether an IHIP is in compliance with the regulation and may call upon other persons to assist in the review. However, the superintendent has the responsibility to review and notify the parents whether the IHIP complies with the regulation.
81. Is a parent required to submit an IEP along with an IHIP? No. A parent is not expected or required to construct or submit an IEP.
82. How should the achievement of a student with special educational needs who is instructed at home be measured? Alternative evaluation measures provided in the student’s IEP may be used. If the student does not have an IEP, one of the two alternatives provided in the regulation, a standardized test or a narrative evaluation, must be used.
83. Is the district responsible for providing a reasonable amount of instructional materials for home instruction? A school district may provide textbooks and other materials to students instructed at home but it is not obligated to do so. However, if a student with a handicapping condition receives special education in accordance with an approved IEP, the district must provide the student with any specialized instructional materials necessary to enable the child to benefit from special education.
84. How does the district claim aid for providing any of the services to a student with special educational needs who is instructed at home? The district may claim aid for providing any of the services described in the IEP by filing for excess cost aid on State aid forms.
End of deleted section
A concern is that, because of the way New York’s homeschooling regulations are written, that parents will be denied approval to homeschool their special needs children: (from the SED memo linked above) “Districts will be also advised to notify the parents of the need to review and revise, as appropriate, the childâ€™s individualized home instruction plan (IHIP) to address their childâ€™s special education needs.”
(3) Within ten (10) business days of receipt of the IHIP, or by August thirty-first, or for the 1988-89 school year by September 30, 1988, whichever is later, the school district shall either notify the parents that the IHIP complies with the requirements of subdivisions (d) and (e) of this section or shall give the parents written notice of any deficiency in the IHIP.
(7) When administrative review of a school district determination of noncompliance is completed, the parents shall immediately provide for the instruction of their children at a public school or elsewhere in compliance with Education Law sections 3204 and 3210.
Thanks to HEM’s Kathy Ceceri for the heads-up, and for the link to the Times Union article.
posted by Valerie