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No. 6

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NYC Reorganizing Reporting Process

While many homeschooling families in New York City were preparing for the 2006-2007 school year, the New York City Department of Education (NYC DOE) sent out a letter informing them of major changes in the city’s homeschool policy. The letter stated that the NYC DOE was working to reorganize the way that parents report their homeschool programs within the city. (In the past, homeschooling families have submitted their documentation to their local regional learning support center.)

After hearing rumors that changes were in the works, Home School Legal Defense Association contacted Lilian Garelick, the New York City director of the office of attendance, to find out about the NYC DOE’s intent regarding the policy changes. Ms. Garelick confirmed that the office of attendance is in the process of requesting from the regional centers all homeschool documentation for families within New York City. The new reporting process would therefore have families submit their homeschool information directly to the office of attendance.

HSLDA expressed to Ms. Garelick several concerns about the reorganization. These concerns include the possible loss of homeschool paperwork by the regional offices and/or new central office during the transfer process. In the past, some innocent homeschooling families in New York City have been threatened with educational neglect when the regional office lost their paperwork.

Another concern is the timing of the transition-right in the middle of Individualized Home Instruction Plan (IHIP) form submission time. While most families have already submitted their IHIP forms for the 2006-2007 school year, others have not. In a few of New York City’s regions, families do not even receive a homeschool packet with an IHIP form or the city's homeschool regulations by early September.

Ms. Garelick has assured us that she and her staff will do all they can to minimize these potential problems, and she is willing for HSLDA to contact her personally about any difficulties. We will continue to closely monitor this situation to ensure that this reorganization does not threaten or prevent our member families and others homeschooling in New York City from teaching their children at home.

— by Thomas J. Schmidt