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Special Education/homeschooling a child who isn't progressing


I see many questions about homeschooling. My son isn't progressing at school. They have no other placement options. I know I can do better because everything he knows now, is from homeschooling. He's also happier at home. But I can't afford to prepare and do what i need to do with my other kids and life responsibilities. I'd have to hire help. Has anyone ever shown documented they made more progress with their child and been reimbursed for hiring help. The worst part is I can't even get my significant school taxes. It really doesn't seem to be a fair system, public schools. If they cannot educate or help your child, why should you have to pay them in high taxes? Also, can I sue the school in a civil suit for compensation? The whole due process seems very corrupted with hearing officers who favor schools.  Thanks.

I don't know of a case where parent has won compensation for any type of "choice" education, where you elect to take your child out of the public school system and homeschool or place in a private school.  I do think you could make a strong case if you can show significant gains while homeschooling, verses the attempts the school district made when he was enrolled.

You will need to seek legal advice for the civil suit possibilities.  I believe you have that right.  However, I have seen parents go directly to civil court without trying the dispute resolution processes within IDEA and be told to exhaust those then re-file.  However, not being an attorney I do not know if that is how it works in every state.  It may be possible to meet with an attorney who knows education law for consultation, sometimes without cost.  As well, there are some organizations who provide this type of consultation for free.  For example, in Arizona there is an organization called The Center for Disability Law, who would evaluate your case and give you at least initial advise.  

Yes, taxpayers have argued for a long time that paying property taxes for public schools while your child doesn't attend there isn't fair, but then not much in our tax law is based on a concept of fair.  

Finally, if you have documentation that the district has "tried" all of their placement options and continues to offer the same placements that did not show documented progress, then the district has denied your son his right to a Free Appropriate Public Education.  The key is whether or not they can demonstrate enough progress to say it was appropriate.  When a student's special education program does not make progress the district is required to create or find a program that is appropriate, it is not just a list of what they do, rather each child with a disability has a right to a program that provides appropriate specially desgined instruction based upon his or her unique needs.  That last sentence is in the language of the law, it does not say within what they normally provide.

From a non lawyer's point of view, I think you may have a good case...but check with the attorney first.

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Dr. Norm Bishop


I have spent nealy 40 years in the area of Special Education. I have had the pleasure of teaching pre-school, elementary, middle, high school and college levels, as well as, served in school district administration buildings in classroom/legal support positions. I have also spent some time working in a State Department of Education Exceptional Student Services Office and am now currently Division Head and Director of Institutional Research at Alice Lloyd College in Pippa Passes, Kentucky. I also teach special education classes on campus. I have also taught full time teacher preparation at Northern Arizona University on the Tucson Campus, Seattle Pacific University, and at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, Wyoming. In addition to that I have taught adjunct at Seattle Pacific University, City University in Seattle, Ashford University, and Grand Canyon University.


I have experienced directly special education legal issues, process and procedure, and have taught at all levels in every special education category except gifted. My major expertise is diagnostic prescriptive teaching, literacy as it relates to disabilities, technology in special education, and Educational Leadership. My greatest passion in the field is building new programs, implementing and doing the research to see how they work. My Dissertation and principle research interest is in the area of inclusive education, primarily co-teaching of students with disabilities in the general education classroom.

Council for Exceptional Children, Association for the Supervision of Curriculum, National Reading Council.

Teaching Exceptional Children, Published computer assisted instruction, titled PAL, Special Education Basics, college Textbook, Teaching with Precision, college Textbook, Various devotionals at the website,

I have a B.A. in Secondary Education, a Masters in Special Education (cross categorical), administrative certification, and a second B.A. in Elementary Education. I completed my doctorate in Educational Leadership at Northern Arizona University.

Awards and Honors
Best Summer Program in the Nation (Honorable Mention, when I was Teaching) Multiple local awards

Past/Present Clients

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