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JOINT NEWSFLASH

September 16, 2011

From: Family Protection Ministries (FPM) and HSLDA

Parent’s Right Secured To Determine the Education for Their Special-Needs Children

In past years, families have been contacted by various Local Education Agencies (LEAs) and pressured to have their special-needs children evaluated and involved in a public school education program. Although California legislation was passed in both 2007 and 2010 to address these concerns, we at FPM have recently begun receiving questions about whether parents are required to enroll their special-needs children in these public school programs.

We praise God for blessing the work of FPM, in teamwork with HSLDA, for success in passing AB 1841 in 2010 and AB 1663 in 2007. These victories ensure that homeschooling parents in California do not have to be involved with any special-needs public program. This legislation also allows parents to opt out of these programs even if they were previously involved.

Background:

AB 1841 (Special Education: Parental Consent) was introduced in the 2009-2010 legislative session, to make some changes to state law passed in 2007 (AB 1663) that specifically permits the parents of "a child who is home schooled or placed in a private school by the parents at their own expense" to choose to not participate in the public school special education program. FPM carefully monitored AB 1841 to make sure that this parental right was preserved.

AB 1663 was passed and signed into law in October of 2007. It brought California's Special Education law into conformance with new federal law. This included conformance to those portions of the federal law that specifically permitted the parents of "a child who is home schooled or placed in a private school by the parents at their own expense" to choose to not participate in or to withdraw from the publicly funded and provided program and any associated Individualized Education Program (IEP).

The new federal law referred to above was a result of HSLDA's hard work in 2006. The new wording in federal law ensured that local public school officials could not require that any homeschooled special-needs child be enrolled in a public school program. Specifically, a homeschooled child with special education needs who had an IEP could not be forced to continue to be educated in accordance with their IEP if the parents wanted to opt out of the public school's program. This also meant that LEAs could not compel the parents of any child to have their child evaluated to determine eligibility for receiving special education services.


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