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3/17/2011 2:37:19 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Iowa--Good Bills Take Giant Steps in Des Moines

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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Iowa--Good Bills Take Giant Steps in Des Moines

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:

Home School Legal Defense and Network of Iowa Christian Home Educators
(NICHE) are working together closely to protect issues of deepest
interest to homeschool families during the legislative season. Bills
that have not made it out of committee in their house of origin are
effectively dead for this year, so it's a great time to summarize the
good and the bad bills we have been tracking.

BILLS THAT ARE MOVING FORWARD

Good: New, Simpler Homeschool Option

Iowa's homeschool law, with complex layers of statutes, regulations,
shifting policies, and oft-changing handbooks, is one of the most
complicated in the nation. Rather than trying to fix the problems
with the competent private instruction statute, which would be like
trying to peel an onion, NICHE and HSLDA have worked to develop a new
homeschool option.

It is called "independent private instruction" or IPI. Under HF 588,
parents choosing IPI would not be required to file a notice or
assessment annually. Less red tape means less wasted time, energy and
resources. HF 588 passed the house yesterday and will now move to the
senate.

An IPI program could not enroll more than four unrelated students or
charge tuition. It must provide private or religious-based instruction
in math, reading and language arts, science and social studies. Upon
written request, the IPI would be required to report the main
instructor, location, and names of students.

IPI would give Iowa homeschool families an option much like the system
under which families operate in Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma,
Michigan, New Jersey, Connecticut, Alaska, and other states that have
simple homeschool laws.

Good: Parent-taught Driver Education

Parents in some states can teach behind-the-wheel driver education to
their own children. HF 584 would bring this same blessing to Iowa. It
passed the house yesterday and will now move to the senate.

Good: Educational "Stay Put"

When divorce brings turmoil to a child's life, parents can add even
more turmoil by making the child's education a pawn in their own
struggles. HF 604 helps protect educational stability for a child. If
divorcing parents disagree about how a child should be educated, this
bill prevents a judge from changing the child's customary form of
education unless there is solid evidence that it should be changed.

Good: Constitutional Definition of Marriage

After the activist Iowa Supreme Court redefined marriage according to
their own preferences, Iowans worked to become part of the solution.
First, some of the responsible judges were removed from office. Next,
a program was initiated to insert a common-sense definition of
marriage into the Iowa Constitution. Known as Senate Joint Resolution
3, it is working its way through the senate. (A joint resolution does
not follow the same time table as other bills.) The companion bill in
the house is HJR 6.

Good: Fixed CPI Filing Deadline

As originally filed, HF 144 would have set a fixed filing date for the
CPI form bizarrely at July 1, when no child is required to be in
school. At our request, the date was changed to September 1, and the
bill is moving forward.

No Longer Bad: Deaf Children's Bill of Rights

As originally written, SF 190 would have dramatically undermined the
normal rights of parents of deaf children. Although it was couched in
terms of sweeping rights and benefits, it would have set up a
parent-hostile system not unlike the U.N. Convention on the Rights of
the Child. After we brought the bill's flaws to light, Senator Nancy
Boettger worked to amend it comprehensively. No longer a threat, it
passed the senate after being renumbered as SF 445 and will now move
to the house.

Bad: HF 580 (Formerly HF 379) School Age vs. Compulsory Age

This bill could make it impossible for a licensed teacher to teach a
child outside compulsory attendance age without government approval.
While this was not the bill's intention, the actual language that was
chosen would create this problem. The bill was intended to expand the
age range of children who could dual enroll in public schools or
participate in HSAPs.

BILLS THAT ARE EFFECTIVELY DEAD FOR THIS YEAR

Bad: Grandparents Threatening Parents

There is a national trend to give grandparents more power to disrupt
intact families by giving them greater rights to demand visitation
with their grandchildren, even over parental objections. HF 297 would
have made it easier for grandparents to override parental wishes.

Bad: Making Kids Subject to Government Control Longer

Teachers' unions are constantly pushing efforts to expand the number
of years a child's life is under government control through compulsory
attendance law. HF 275, HF 71 and HF 116, would have raised the
termination age for compulsory attendance from 16 to 18.

Bad: Warrantless Power to Social Workers

A bill that would have given social workers power--without a
warrant--to enter any "facility, program or school" to examine all
records failed to make it out of committee in its house of origin.
Not only was this bill hostile to constitutional principles, but the
types of "programs" social workers could enter was not defined,
potentially leaving a crack in the door for activist judges to declare
a homeschool is a program that could be entered without a warrant.

Track these and other bill on HSLDA's Iowa legislation page:
http://hslda.org/legislation/state/IA/default.asp

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http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=1100

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