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8/9/2011 4:07:49 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Iowa--Homeschoolers Prevail: State Repudiates its Restriction on No-Cost Testing

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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Iowa--Homeschoolers Prevail: State
Repudiates its Restriction on No-Cost Testing

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:

After homeschool advocates worked furiously behind the scenes, the
Iowa Department of Education finally acknowledged last week that
dual-enrolled students have a right no-cost testing without taking
public school classes.

We first alerted you to the developing problem on September 29 and
October 10, 2010. Around that time the Department announced a new
policy that dual-enrolled homeschoolers should not get no-cost testing
unless they also signed up for public school classes. The Department
began the process of turning its policy into an official regulation.

The Department soon backed off from creating a regulation, but did not
change its policy. Families discovered that public schools were
suddenly denying access to no-cost testing unless the student also
took at least one public school class.

I pointed out to the Department that Iowa law states plainly that a
dual-enrolled student "shall not be required to pay the costs of any
annual evaluation under this chapter." It's a matter of equity: the
state demands a year-end assessment, so the state says it will cover
the cost in specific situations.

After I made my point, we received word in November that the
Department was going to revisit the issue. But when the Department
published the 2011-2012 version of the CPI (competent private
instruction) form, it had removed testing from the list of services a
family could receive under dual enrollment.

The Network of Iowa Christian Home Educators (NICHE) sent the
Department stacks of proof showing that--for two decades--the
Department itself agreed that the law entitles homeschoolers to
no-cost testing without taking classes. NICHE representatives told
the director of the Department that NICHE would consider legislation
if the Department refused to follow the law.

The Department subsequently announced that all students--even those
not dual enrolled--could get free testing as a "courtesy". This
magnanimous yet perplexing statement side-stepped the real issue:
whether a dual-enrolled student has an actual right to no-cost
testing.

NICHE kept the pressure up. On August 2, the Department did an
about-face. It fixed the CPI form and publicly announced that no-cost
testing is available even for students who don't sign up for other
classes!

If you have already filed your CPI form for this year, you probably
used the old version which did not list testing as an available
service. If you want testing, and didn't pencil in "testing" as a
service you wanted, we recommend that--before the August 26
deadline--you file an updated CPI form indicating that you want
testing. To reduce the likelihood of confusion, either ask your
school system to give you back your old form, or pencil in "updated"
on the top of your new form, and be sure to keep a copy.

Sincerely,

Scott Woodruff
HSLDA Senior Counsel

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