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November / December 2005

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Department of education retracts remediation threat

A Home School Legal Defense Association member family in Tama County turned in their year-end test scores and were surprised to receive a reply from the Iowa Department of Education telling them they must put their 2nd-grader on a remediation plan or enroll her in school. While their daughter had done well on the standardized test in general, her score on the social studies subtest was below the 30th percentile.

Parents in Iowa are not required to evaluate their children in social studies until they enter 6th grade. Since the daughter was only in 2nd grade, her low social studies score did not require remediation.

HSLDA Attorney Scott Woodruff called the School Improvement Consultant who had authored the department of education letter and explained the problem. She immediately acknowledged her error and agreed to follow up with the family.

When sending in test scores, problems like the one above can be avoided by redacting (blotting out) scores on subtests that relate to subjects in which testing is not required for that grade. Math, language arts, and reading must be evaluated in grades 1-5. Beginning in grade 6, science and social studies must also be evaluated.

Cass County demands immunization info

A representative of Cass County Public Schools sent a letter to an HSLDA member family stating that they had neglected to submit immunization information on their Competent Private Instruction (CPI) form.

After the family contacted us for assistance, we discovered that they had filed CPI forms for their child in previous years. Since Iowa law only requires families to submit immunization information the first time a CPI form is filed for a child, no additional immunization information was due this year.

HSLDA promptly called the school district and spoke to the author of the letter. We asked if she knew that immunization information is only required on a child's first CPI form. She said apologetically that she had no idea. She assured us she would send a letter of correction to the family.

In further conversation, we learned that the letter was prompted by the discovery, during an audit of the school system's records, that the staff had lost the family's previously submitted immunization information. A school's loss of information does not, of course, obligate families to submit new information.

— by Scott A. Woodruff