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29 March 2011 @ 02:29 pm

Senator Dix will move to amend SF423 with IPI langauge from HF588. If it passes, it will then have to go back to the House for another vote. Further details, including information about keystone Senators for this bill's passage at Caffeinated Thoughts.

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22 March 2011 @ 09:57 pm
The status of this bill, which would allow for parent-taught driver education, is identical to that of HF588. It has been sent to the Sentate Education Committee, who assigned it to a subcommittee made up of Education Committee Chair Quirmbach plus Boettger and Dvorsky. As with HF588, now is the time to contact your Senator to ask him or her to support this bill. If it does make it out of committee, there will probably be very little warning before the full Senate votes on it, so make your opinion known now!

If you are unsure who your State Senator is, you can enter your address on the Iowa Legislature website and it will tell you both your Senator's name and how to contact him/her.

22 March 2011 @ 09:23 pm
HF 588, the "Independent Private Instruction" bill has been sent to committee in the Senate. It's currently in the hands of subcommittee members Quirmbach, Boettger, and Dvorsky. The IPI option would decrease the paperwork for homeschoolers. This is a good thing.

Quirmbach is the Chair of the Senate Education committee. He's a Democrat from District 23 in Story County. Boettger is a Repubican from District 29 in Shelby County. Dvorsky is a Democrat from District 15 in Johnson County.  If you're a homeschooler in one of those districts, now is the time to contact those members. Quirmbach's vote is particularly critical, as he heads the committee!

Names and contact info for the rest of the Education Committee can be found here.

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17 March 2011 @ 04:02 pm
HF584 and HF588 passed yesterday.

HF584 allows homechooling parents to teach driver's ed. The Senate failed to pass this provision (as an amendment to SF184) earlier this month by a vote of 25 to 24, so this could be a close one when this version of the bill goes to the Senate.

HF588 is even more interesting. It creates a Independent Private Instruction option as an alternative to the current Competent Private Instruction (CPI). Parents choosing the IPI option (for those of us who are less "competent"?) would provide the district &/or state with a "report identifying the primary instructor, location, name of the authority responsible for the independent private instruction, and the names of the students enrolled" ONLY if requested by the superintendent or DOE. Now, I assume most districts would request that information annually, but at least you don't have to pretend you know exactly what you'll be doing in March when the paperwork is due in August, nor worry about the district getting pissy with you if you're honest about following the child's lead or picking materials as needed. Even more interesting, this bill would allow up to 4 UNRELATED students to be enrolled in a homeschool, a provision which bothered Rep. Nate Willems (D) who said that it “crosses a bright line.” Willems voted No on both bills.

Both bills must now pass the Senate and the Governor before becoming law. The Senate is adjourned until Monday. I'll keep an eye out for updates.
21 February 2007 @ 04:00 pm
From today's DSM Register:

State child abuse officials were peppered with complaints from across the country Tuesday after an Iowa family was featured on the television show "Wife Swap" eating raw eggs and meat, living in an untidy home,and seemingly letting the children go unschooled.

State officials said there appears to be no child abuse in this case. An unorthodox diet and messy housekeeping don't amount to abuse, and the parents have filed the proper paperwork to home-school [sic] their two teenage children...

...DHS only investigates child abuse and neglect cases when there is a credible report that, if proven true, would amount to abuse, Munns said.

"None of these reports rise to that threshold," he said. "People who eat unusual food and feed it to their children are not abusive, nor are people whose houses are not tidy."

The Haigwoods filed paperwork proving competent private schooling, as the law requires, said Steve Pelzer, superintendent of the Cumberland and Massena school district. A licensed teacher from the West Des Moines area monitors the children's progress, he said...
29 January 2007 @ 10:45 am
HF 6, which would increase the compulsory education age to 18, is now HSB 13. Additionally, SF 60 would create a "statewide student information system" and was sent to committee.

Here are some of the other education bills that are new since January 17.
  • HF 32 - "Creating a twenty-first century Iowa scholars program and fund to be administered by the College Student Aid Commission, and requiring a program promotion and support study."
  • HF 44 - "Postsecondary education opportunities by establishing a jump-start grant program for the postsecondary education expenses of students who graduate early from high school and by requiring school districts to publicize available postsecondary education opportunities."
  • HF 45 - "Minimum hours of instructional school time in a school year for grades one through twelve for school districts, charter schools, and accredited nonpublic schools."
  • SSB 1119 - "Creating a preschool for four-year-old children program."
  • HF 119 - "Requiring the board of directors of a school district to adopt a parent and guardian involvement policy."
19 January 2007 @ 03:36 pm
The Sioux City Journal reports:
SCHOOL AGE -- A House subcommittee delved into legislation Wednesday that would raise Iowa's compulsory school attendance age from 16 to 18.

Backers of the bill, co-sponsored by Rep. Lisa Heddens, D-Ames, argue the change would help reduce Iowa's high school dropout rate. The state had about 1,100 dropouts in 2005-2006, according to education department figures.

Under current law, parents face criminal penalties if their children under 16 fail to attend school. The bill would require school attendance until age 18.

"We want to find ways to keep kids engaged in school," Heddens said.

But the idea met criticism.

Justin LaVan, a lawyer representing the Network of Iowa Christian Home Educators, insisted the change would put more reporting burdens on home-school parents. Under current law, home-school parents are required to file periodic reports on student progress until their child turns 16.

Others contended the bill would only be effective if it's coupled with more resources for alternative high schools and other programs for at-risk students.
More info about the bill's sponsors:

Lisa Heddens is the Assistant Majority Leader. She's from district 46 (Ames), and is on the Administration and Rules, Education, Human Resources, and Public Safety committees. Swati Dandekar is from Marion, IA, which is district 36. She's on three committees: Appropriations, Economic Growth, and Transportation. Both women are Democrats.

While digging for that information, I discovered that Mary Mascher (D, District 77), the Representative who was so vocal last year about homeschoolers in Iowa needing *more* oversight, is now the Vice Chair of the education committee.
17 January 2007 @ 05:08 pm
The new legislative season has started, which means it's time to start keeping an eye on the politicians again.

HF 6, which would raise the compulsory attendance age to 18, has been sent to committee. This would affect all homeschoolers in Iowa. The senate version is currently SSB 1020.

Other education bills so far include:
  • SF 16 makes college entrance exams mandatory for high school graduation - sent to committee.
  • SF 17 would lengthen the school day - sent to committee.
  • HF 10 affects the use of telecommunications in public education by striking Section 256.7, subsection 8 of the Iowa Code - sent to committee.
  • HF 12 addresses how to count kindergarten and preschool students enrolled in a district - sent to committee.
  • SSB 1021 makes so many changes I can't even begin to summarize them here; however, I don't see any that directly affect homeschoolers - study bill.
  • SSB 1022 looks at the budget - study bill.
  • SSB 1023 would count foreign exchange students as enrolled students - study bill.
  • SSB 1024 relates to funding and would by striking Section 257.35, subsections 2, 3, & 4 of the Iowa Code - study bill.
  • HF 18 would fund technological advancements for certain schools - sent to committee.
  • HF 21 establishes the "high school reform initiative" - sent to committee.
  • HF 30 relates to the issuing of bonds by a school district - sent to committee.
30 January 2006 @ 10:36 am
First, the Register just happens to pick a homeschooler to interview regarding a proposed business expansion (adding volleyball courts at Plaza Lanes):

Volleyball seen as way to spike area business
Randy Thompson says the addition will bring people to the Douglas-Euclid corridor.
January 27, 2006

...Amy Graber , 38, of Urbandale was bowling Thursday with her children and a group of other mothers who also home school [sic] their children. She belonged to a sand volleyball league at another Des Moines center and likely wouldn't switch locations, she said.

Volley's "would probably be a younger crowd," she said. "I would picture more teenagers here."

The second article is about HSB 119/SSB 1067:

Bill raises drop-out age to 18
The proposal would cost taxpayers $19 million, but teachers say more students would graduate.
January 30, 2006

Iowa's teenagers would be required to stay in high school until they turn 18 or graduate, under legislation introduced this month.

Since 1991, Iowa teens have been allowed to drop out of high school when they turn 16. Before then, students were required to complete eighth grade...

...Iowa lawmakers, though, are showing little interest in tightening the state's current law, mostly because the proposal would cost taxpayers about $19 million. The state has about 3,500 high school dropouts who aren't counted as part of the school aid formula. If those students were in school, districts would receive the additional financial aid, Iowa Department of Education officials said.

"I'm concerned about stretching the limited dollars we already have for education," said Rep. Danny Carroll, a Grinnell Republican. He also said he worries about further increasing the workloads of truancy officers and others in law enforcement...
26 January 2006 @ 09:19 pm
House File 2121 – Introduced & referred to committee. – This bill provides a home schooling tax credit equal to 25 percent of the first $1,000 spent by a taxpayer on tuition and  textbooks for each dependent to receive competent private instruction in kindergarten through grade 12.  The credit is in lieu of the present tuition tax credit.  Competent private instruction is instruction that uses a plan and a course of study in a setting other than a public or accredited private school.  This tax credit takes effect upon enactment and applies retroactively beginning with the 2006 tax year to expenditures made on or after January 1, 2006, for school years ending on or after that date.

Public school bills of (possible) interest:
House File 2099 – Introduced & referred to committee. – This bill establishes the virtual public schools Act, which permits a school district board, charter school board, or the department of education to sponsor a public virtual school. The bill includes legislative findings and declarations, which include the statement that virtual schools should be recognized as public schools and provided equitable treatment and resources as any other public school in the state.

Senate File 2001 – Voted out of committee. – This bill provides an exemption to the child identification and protection Act to allow a school district or its authorized representative to use biometric technology to scan a child's fingerprint if the technology used does not store the data extracted from the child's fingerprint, the technology cannot reconstruct the child's fingerprint, and if the parent or guardian does not submit a written objection to the school district to the use of the scan.  The student handbook must specify the school district's uses of the data derived from the child's fingerprint.

House File 2100 – Introduced & referred to committee. – This is a long one, folks! This bill establishes a high school reform initiative relating to student coursework and teacher training and development in grades 9 through 12.