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12/12/2008 2:59:31 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Iowa--Sweet 16 Homeschool Rule Improvements

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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Iowa--Sweet 16 Homeschool Rule Improvements

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:

Since April of 2005, Home School Legal Defense Association and Network
of Iowa Christian Home Educators have been working with the Iowa
Department of Education to ensure that changes the department planned
to the CPI rules would not adversely impact homeschool families. The
revisions have now been adopted by the State Board of Education and
are only a few small steps from finality. They will have the force of
law.

While there are many changes, most are small, and many simply
formalize aspects of the de facto policy the department has been
following. Here are a few highlights. (This list does not cover all
changes.)

1. CPI students are explicitly allowed to enroll in post-secondary
enrollment option courses, in line with a lawsuit HSLDA won several
years ago in the Meggan Stone case.

2. In line with HSLDA's court victory in Fitzgerald vs. Simmons,
approval to provide CPI to a special needs student is no longer
necessary unless the family wants their special needs child to be
evaluated by the school system.

3. HSLDA has long advocated that a portfolio can be submitted to
satisfy the baseline assessment requirement. This is now being
adopted into the regulations. Generally speaking, a family should use
a portfolio assessment as a baseline if they plan to use a portfolio
in future years, and a standardized test if they plan to use that
instead.

Here are few changes that relate to timetables:

4. August 26 is established as the deadline for filing the CPI form
rather than the vague "first day of school."

5. Parents filing after the school year has begun are now only
required to file within 14 days a draft CPI form, to be followed by a
fully completed CPI form within 30 days after taking the child out of
public school. Previously, an entirely completed CPI form was
required within 14 days.

6. A supervising teacher's duty to contact a parent "per quarter" has
been clarified to "per 45 days of instruction."

7. The timing of submitting the baseline assessment has now been
clarified to coincide with the guidance HSLDA has provided for several
years.

And here are a few related to assessments:

8. Year-end testing options have been broadened and now explicitly
include testing through "a correspondence course or other school
accredited by an accrediting agency approved by the Federal Department
of Education, or by any testing service authorized by the publisher of
any test approved by the state Department of Education for assessment
purposes."

9. Parents are specifically allowed to redact, or blot out, portions
of a year-end test score that are not required to satisfy the law.

10. A previous rule required the submission of the "original" of the
test results. The revised rule allows the submission of a photocopy.

11. Year-end test results are now required to be submitted only to
the school district, not copied to the Department of Education.

12. A report card from an accredited correspondence school is now
explicitly identified as satisfying the baseline evaluation or
year-end assessment.

13. A person with a current substitute teacher's license who
previously held an Iowa license with classroom or content endorsements
may provide a portfolio evaluation for a child within the same grade
level restrictions as that of a person with a current Iowa license
classroom or content endorsements.

And finally:

14. A person with a substitute teacher's license or substitute
authorization is now explicitly authorized to provide instruction or
instructional supervision.

15. The duties of a supervising teacher have been explained more
carefully to avoid needless administrative duties.

16. "Actual guardians" are now identified as persons allowed to
provide home education.

See our website at http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=5904 for all rule
changes. Over the past several years, several bills have been filed by
out-of-touch legislators seeking to impose additional requirements on
homeschool families. By the grace of God, and with the vigorous help
of Iowa homeschool families, those bills were all stopped. On the
other hand, the revisions to the homeschool regulations now on the
verge of final adoption make sensible, incremental improvements for
homeschool families. We are grateful for God's protection.

Sincerely,

Scott A. Woodruff
HSLDA Staff Attorney

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