Federal Relations

June 21, 2005

I.D.E.A. - Draft Regulations Defend the Rights of Homeschoolers

The first draft of regulations for the re-authorization of the Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) corrects a problem which has been affecting homeschool families for years.

Under the previous regulations it was not explicitly stated that Local Education Authorities (LEA's) could not override a parent's refusal to evaluate their homeschool children for public special education services.

HSLDA is involved in several cases defending homeschool families against LEA's who are attempting to force homeschool children to be evaluated for public school services.

The new draft IDEA regulations now explicitly state that LEA's cannot override a homeschool parent when the parent refuses consent for an evaluation. If the regulation stays in this form throughout the process then it will be a significant victory for homeschool families.

HSLDA is committed to maintaining the current language, which can be found below:

...consistent with the Department's position that public agencies should use their consent override procedures only in rare circumstances, proposed 300.300(a)(3) would clarify that a public agency is not required to pursue an initial evaluation of a child suspected of having a disability if the parent does not provide consent for the initial evaluation. States and LEAs do not violate their obligation to locate, identify, and evaluate children suspected of being children with disabilities under the Act if they decline to pursue an evaluation to which a parent has failed to consent.

In addition, paragraph (a)(3) of this section would permit consent override only for children who are enrolled in public school or seeking to be enrolled in public school. For children who are home schooled or placed in a private school by the parents at their own expense, consent override is not authorized.

 Other Resources

Comments Needed Now To Support Draft IDEA Regulations