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Public and private schools often exchange students throughout the year. Students, transcripts, school records, and test results all have to move from one school to the next. Public schools often wonder if the rules are different for private schools. Get a little more insight below from the U.S. Department of Education recently issued new guidance clarifying how the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) affects children placed in private schools by their families.

  • Students with disabilities have broad rights when they attend public school, but federal officials are now weighing in on how the law applies when parents choose private school instead.
  • Under IDEA, students with disabilities have the right to a free appropriate public education, or FAPE.
  • The law requires that (a school district) spend a proportionate amount of its IDEA Part B funds to provide equitable services to this group of children, which could include direct and/or indirect services.
    • School districts must work with private schools and parents through a process known as consultation to determine available special education services and how they are provided.
    • USDE guidance makes clear that under IDEA children with disabilities who attend private schools using state vouchers or scholarships are considered parent placements.
    • It also offers new details on how the rules apply to preschoolers with disabilities, out-of-state children or those with parents living out of the country.
    • It clarifies the personnel qualification requirements of those providing IDEA services in private schools.
  • Federal education officials are also addressing the obligations that school districts have to private school students with disabilities under IDEA in the event of an extended school closure like what occurred early in the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • Guidance indicates that equitable services to private school students must continue so long as the district continues to provide virtual or remote learning opportunities for general education students
    • Services or the way they’re provided may look different.

Testing Connection

  • This could result in the following for public school testing coordinators:
    • work with private schools to ensure appropriate testing accessibility and accommodations
    • virtual/remote testing of private schools students during school closures, if it is also provided to public school students.

More HERE
Related doc: New 55-page USDE Q&A Guidance Document

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