It is currently the right of any parent in California to choose the type of school that their children attend whether public or private. Parents may make their choices for a variety of motivations. However, parents of special needs children are often motivated to choose a charter school or a private school because they feel that their children are not receiving the appropriate educational help in the public school setting or because they feel that their child’s freedoms are being limited in public school. Some of these parents may even choose to homeschool as a way to address these concerns while also focusing on a caring educational relationship with their special needs child.
Before parents make this decision, they should understand the several options available to them, should know their rights under California and federal law and should understand what homeschooling entails. First, according to the law, all California special needs children are promised a “free, appropriate public education.” This means that children in public schools are required to have special concessions and specialized learning options available to them if the school district determines that they are eligible for special education. These children are also allowed to go to charter schools and to receive the same type of special education that they would receive in public schools.
However, these laws can become a bit trickier for those who choose private schools or who determine to homeschool privately or under the umbrella of a private school. While special education children attending private schools are guaranteed special education services, they are not allowed to receive any additional services as compared to children attending public schools. In other words, they are guaranteed some special services but will not receive anything extra from the state because they chose to forgo the “free, appropriate public education.”