The Home Education Foundation (HEF) is excited to announce that SB 1108 and HB 465 have been filed for the 2013 legislative session. The House and Senate companion bills contain language which will provide special education services for home educated students.
In June 2008, the Department of Education received a request from a local school district regarding whether they could provide services for home education students. The DOE responded that IDEA (federal law) does not require public schools to provide special education services to home education students. While a few school districts continued to provide services, many began to deny home education students the services they had previously provided.
HEF tried to get a bill introduced during the 2009 session to clarify that school districts could continue providing services. The legislative staff reviewed the language and said clarification was unnecessary since the districts could report the student and receive state funding. However, DOE would not clarify the funding issue with the districts and some districts were not sure they could legally serve home educated students.
Over the next couple of years, HEF worked with legislative staff on a case by case basis to obtain services for home education students.
During the summer of 2012, Brenda met with the Foundation for Florida’s Future to request that language be included in their disabilities bill to clarify in law the way districts could provide services to home education students. The Foundation graciously agreed to help. SB 1108 and HB 465 will ensure that home education parents will receive some services for their children with disabilities.
In December 2012, a home education mother contacted HEF to ask for help in obtaining speech and language services for her youngest son, who had recently been denied services by the school district. All three of her sons have had severe speech problems. Her older two sons did receive speech and language services from the district prior to 2008. Now, one of her older sons, because he was able to receive the professional services he needed, is now participating on a debate team. This is the kind of success story HEF wants every child to have.