Thursday, January 10, 2008

NY Homeschoolers, the New Colonials

The following is an e-mail forwarded to my local homeschooling loop from the NYHEN webspinner. (I didn't have time to check all the links, please let me know if any of them lead nowhere):

I have confirmed, via a memo on the New York State Education
Department (SED) website, that the department is planning to tell New
York's school districts that they are not allowed to provide special
education services to homeschoolers. The memo was issued last
Thursday, January 3, for presentation to the Board of Regents at their
January meeting this coming Monday, the 14th. The SED plans to issue
another memo in the coming weeks to inform districts of this decision.

The January 3 memo is available at:

http://www.regents.nysed.gov/2008Meetings/January2008/0108vesidd3.htm

THE SED'S REASONING

The SED's argument in the memo is as follows: Before 2004, the federal
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was unclear
regarding whether districts were required to provide special ed
services to homeschoolers. But, according to the version of IDEA that
was enacted in 2004 (and subsequent federal regulations), districts are not required to provide services unless state law treats homeschoolers as private school students (which New York law doesn't). Furthermore, New York has no state law authorizing special ed services for homeschoolers. Thus, the SED concludes, districts are not allowed to use federal or state funds for such services. There are links to more information below.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO FAMILIES WHO ARE RECEIVING SERVICES

For parents whose children are currently receiving district services,
the memo says that the SED will tell districts to have those parents
revise their IHIPs to address their children's special ed needs on
their own; those IHIPs will then be re-evaluated by the district. (See
the "Recommendation" section near the end of the memo.)

MORE RESOURCES

This action is based on a decision by the SED's State Review Office
(SRO) in a dispute between a family and their district. The case is
called SRO Appeal No. 07-043 and is available at these links:

PDF format:
http://www.sro.nysed.gov/2007/07-043.pdf

HTML format:
http://209.85.173.104/search?q=cache:K2oJDMawfGsJ:www.sro.nysed.gov/
2007/07-043.pdf

The relevant discussion begins near the bottom of page 16.

The decision quotes the federal Department of Education's regulations
regarding states' use of federal IDEA money for special education. The
section of the federal IDEA law in question is Section 300.133, which
is at:

http://idea.ed.gov/explore/view/p/,root,regs,300,B,300%252E133,
(Note: The comma at the end of this link is necessary. Your email
program or browser might not include the comma as part of the link, so
you might have to add it in yourself.)

The relevant federal Department of Education regulations are in a very
large (307-page) PDF file, which you will probably not want to
download unless you have a high-speed connection:
http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/01jan20061800/
edocket.access.gpo.gov/2006/pdf/06-6656.pdf

The section quoted by the State Review Office is on page 56 of that
PDF file.

This case is not over yet. The family who lost this decision has filed
a federal lawsuit against their school district:

http://dockets.justia.com/docket/court-nyndce/case_no-7:2007cv00944/
case_id-69023/

Interesting. Did anyone notice that even though homeschoolers are being refused special education services, the state education department is telling parents that their IHIPs must explain how they will address their children's special needs on their own? Excuse me? Doesn't this amount to, "We aren't going to provide this service, so what are you going to do about it?" Sounds like a challenge to me! I think the SED is forgetting where their funds come from. I apologize for the cliche, but I am a homeowner, I pay school taxes, why can't I have access to the services I am funding? After all these years, does King George live on in our school systems? I am beginning to understand why the colonists dumped that tea!

2 comments:

Soutenus said...

That is awful!
"homeschoolers are being refused special education services, the state education department is telling parents that their IHIPs must explain how they will address their children's special needs on their own"
I am speechless!

ethansmommy36 said...

another homeschool blogger Mom, HI!
this new law is a thread to all of us.. special needs or not.
we must come together, regardless of affiliation, and rally, rally, rally. If Spec. Ed today, then what tomorrow? NYS will stop at nothing in their goal to erode the homeschooling base completely. People, we MUST come together on this issue and protect ourselves and our fellow hoemschoolers!

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