Join NICHE in praising God for the results of our efforts to simplify our state homeschool law! Iowa homeschooling families have demonstrated a record academic excellence and a huge cost savings to Iowa taxpayers. At last, the Iowa homeschooling law & rules recognize this!
Since 2011, NICHE has promoted a bill in the Iowa Legislature introducing a new section in the Iowa Code: Independent Private Instruction. This new section would provide a simple alternative to the current Competent Private Instruction -- with greatly reduced paperwork & regulation. This bill was attached to the Governor's Education Reform Bill, HF 215, which came through a difficult joint chamber conference committee, was passed by both the Iowa House & Senate, was signed by Govenor Branstad, to became law on July 1, 2013.
NICHE Legislative Liaison Bill Gustoff Holds Governor Branstad's Proclamation of Iowa Homeschool Week at 2012 NICHE Capitol Day
For well over a decade, NICHE has promoted legislation that would allow homeschooling parents to teach their own children driver education. We were able to assist it through both chambers of the Iowa Legislature in 2004, but then Governor Vilsack vetoed it. This bill was also attached this year to the Governor's Education Reform Bill, HF 215. It came through a difficult joint chamber conference committee, was passed by both the Iowa House & Senate, and was signed into law by Governor Branstad in June.
Two NICHE Legislative Initiatives Bring Expanded Freedom to Iowa Homeschoolers Independent Private Instruction (IPI) and Parent-Taught Driver Education
Iowa Homeschool Families Visit the Iowa State Capitol to Meet with Their Legislators
July 1, 2013 was the effective date of the amazing change that our awesome God has provided for Iowa homeschooling families!
On that date -- with the legislature's passage of HF 215, and the governor's signature on June 3rd, 2013 -- an additional form of homeschooling, "Independent Private Instruction" (IPI) has become available to Iowa families. This option will be much simpler and less intrusive than the Competent Private Instruction (CPI) regime we have had for over 20 years.
Independent Private Instruction (IPI)
Iowa homeschooling families operating under IPI, do NOT need to file anything. They do NOT need to get a supervising teacher. They do NOT need to submit a year-end assessment of any type, unless they want one for their own purposes. They do NOT need to submit immunization information or submit to blood lead testing. They are not required to provide any specific number of days of instruction.
Iowa families using an IPI program must provide instruction in math, reading and language arts, science, and social studies. They must also list the primary instructor, location, name of authority responsible for the IPI, and names of students enrolled -- but ONLY if the Director of the Department of Education or the local superintendent requests it in writing. That's it!
IPI is also a major step toward making home education more readily available to the changing needs of 21st century families. By allowing up to four unrelated students to be part of an IPI program, the law also affords greater access to home education for single parents (by enlisting the help of others to teach) and even foster parents (subject to other regulations on foster children).
Although, IPI families are not required (or allowed) to dual enroll in a public school, changes signed into law by Governor Branstad on May 1, 2013, make free annual testing available to all students upon request without the need to dual enroll. Families seeking to participate in certain classes or extracurricular activities through the public school district should consider operating under the familiar CPI laws.
Parent-Taught Driver Education
HF 215 also contained a long-sought freedom for homeschooling parents: the right to teach driver education to their children without the need of a certified instructor. While driver education for homeschoolers takes a huge leap forward under HF 215, the bill still requires public schools to make their own driver education classes available to homeschooled students. Parent-taught driver education allows homeschooling parents using CPI to teach driver education to their own students, without going through the public schools or commercial driver education programs. (Because parent-taught driver education was enacted in the same legislative initiative in which IPI was created, current law does not offer parent-taught driver education for homeschooling parents using IPI. NICHE hopes to rectify this situation as soon as legislatively possible.)
Changes in the CPI Sections of the Iowa Code
Another significant change was made to the existing CPI law, though not initiated by NICHE. This change was made in Section 299A.3, the section providing for "private instruction by nonlicensed person." The new wording renders the past CPI reporting and annual assessment requirements for parents using this mode of private instruction optional. Those who opt to have "competent private instruction" provided by a licensed teacher under Section 299A.2 will still need to follow annual reporting and assessment requirements.
NICHE actively worked with members of both the Department of Education and the Department of Transportation during the administrative rule making process following the enactment of these new sections of Iowa Code.
The Iowa Department of Education responded to the changes in 299A.3 Competent Private Instruction by a Non-Licensed Person section by creating two CPI Option 2 choices.
When homeschooling parents select CPI and choose not to report, they are are exercising "Opt-Out" and, by doing so, are also opting out of access to public school dual enrollment.
When homeschooling parents select CPI and choose to file a Form A and report annual assessment results, they are exercising "Opt-In" and, by doing so, have the option to access dual enrollment.