Q. I received a memo stating, “Federal and state law requires that school divisions locate, identify and evaluate all private and homeschooled children in their locality.” Am I obligated to have my children tested by my school district?
A. The memo you received is related to each school district’s obligation to “find” children who have special needs. The school district is responding to a federal law called the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA).
In order to receive federal funds under IDEA, public school districts are obligated to attempt to “find” and test children in their districts who may have disabilities. IDEA applies only to public school districts that receive federal money. This law does not apply to private schools or to homeschools in Virginia. However, homeschooling families are sometimes contacted by their public school districts in order for the district to fulfill its obligation under IDEA to “find” and offer services to homeschool students as well as to private school students.
Homeschoolers are not required to participate in ANY type of public school evaluation, and they are not obligated to receive special services from public schools. The law does not require you to respond to the memo; but if the district is persistent, you may want to inform them that you decline their evaluation and services.