Advocates for Home Education in Massachusetts, Inc.

IDEA Equitable Services Stakeholder Meeting

At the request of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), AHEM attended an IDEA Equitable Services Stakeholder meeting on March 10, 2021 to discuss additional Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Equitable Services funding for students with disabilities who are homeschooled. DESE briefly addressed non-compliance identified by complainants in a letter submitted to the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) dated October 27, 2017.

DESE also discussed the corrective action it has taken to address the issue, including the allocation of additional funds for Equitable Services to parentally placed students with disabilities in private schools and those who are homeschooled. DESE wanted feedback regarding establishing a threshold dollar amount that would be expended, and what these thresholds should be.

AHEM attended in order to be informed about issues that could affect Massachusetts homeschoolers. We learned that the corrective action has resulted in more Part B funds being allocated to schools to provide services to private school students and homeschooled students in 200 districts across Massachusetts.

Local public schools are supposed to make sure that children in their districts in need of services are able to access them. However, homeschoolers are not required to have their children evaluated, or to accept special needs services from public schools. DESE plans to keep AHEM informed of developments, and we will report those to you as we learn of them.