HSLDA Jubilant That Iowa Homeschool Parents Won’t Be Required to Teach Their Kids

HSLDA Jubilant That Iowa Homeschool Parents Won’t Be Required to Teach Their Kids May 26, 2013

And now we have HSLDA’s response to the changes in Iowa’s homeschooling law.

Revolutionary Improvement in Homeschool Law

Dear Iowa HSLDA Friends and Members:

On May 22, the Iowa Legislature passed a bill that (with the governor’s anticipated signature) will revolutionize Iowa’s homeschool law when it becomes effective on July 1. Most families know very little about the bill, House File (HF) 215, because the Network of Iowa Christian Home Educators (NICHE) and HSLDA opted for a quiet but effective legislative strategy and did not ask families to make phone calls.

In other words, HSLDA didn’t even bother to ask the advice or input of actual homeschooling families in Iowa, and took the stealth approach instead. I will soon be posting some thoughts from a homeschooling mom about how much Iowa’s laws and standards benefited her and her children, which makes me wonder if HSLDA and NICHE made this effort quietly in an effort to avoid opposition from homeschool parents.

Under Iowa law, homeschooling has officially been labeled as a type of “competent private instruction” or CPI—a category that includes four separate education models: homeschooling with a supervising teacher; homeschooling without a supervising teacher; homeschooling with the assistance of a public school; and non-accredited private schools.

HF 215 creates an entirely new option: “Independent Private Instruction,” or IPI, that is far simpler and involves dramatically less red tape than has historically been connected with CPI. Here is a side-by-side comparison.

Notice that HSLDA’s concern here is the red tape. Not the well being of actual children, the red tape. This goes well with what I’ve said before—HSLDA’s clients are the homeschooling parents, not the homeschooled children. HSLDA’s concern is to spare parents some red tape, even if doing so removes provisions that actually protected and safeguarded homeschooled children’s interests in obtaining an education. This becomes obvious as HSLDA runs through the changes.

1. File Paperwork only in Response to a Written Request

In the past, CPI has required the filing of a form at the beginning of every year. IPI does not require that a family file any routine paperwork.

No paperwork.

2. No Supervising Teacher or Annual Assessment

Under CPI, homeschool families have been required to teach under the auspices of a licensed teacher (either one they choose or one their public school chooses) or submit a year-end assessment showing adequate progress. Under IPI, no licensed teacher and no proof of progress is required.

No proof of progress.

3. No Immunization Information or Blood Lead Testing

Under CPI, homeschool families have been required to submit immunization information the first time they file the CPI form for a child, and blood lead testing must be administered for children within certain age ranges. Under IPI, immunization information is never submitted and blood lead testing is not required.

No immunizations.

4. No Number of Days per Year or Quarter

Under CPI, families must provide 148 days of instruction per year and 37 days per quarter. Under IPI there is no requirement for number of days of instruction.

No required days of instruction.

5. New Required Subjects

Under IPI there are four required subjects families must teach every year: math, science, reading and language arts, and social studies. Families should keep documentation to show they are providing instruction in those four areas. Under CPI there are no subjects that must be taught.

Four required subjects, but no oversight to ensure that parents will actually teach them. So basically, if Governor Branstad signs this law there will be nothing at all ensuring that homeschool parents in Iowa teach their children, and very little requirement that they actually teach anything in the first place. How does HSLDA feel about this change?

HF 215 is truly a gift from God for homeschool families. NICHE deserves a huge “THANK YOU” from the entire Iowa homeschool community for their awesome work spanning many years on IPI. If you are not a member of NICHE, please consider joining and supporting this worthy organization.

Getting rid of provisions ensuring that homeschool parents educate their children? A gift from God! Really, that’s HSLDA in a nutshell.

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