Last year the Iowa Legislature passed landmark legislation friendly to the state’s home educators including parent-taught drivers education.
The new law required the Iowa Department of Transportation to develop rules surrounding the implementation of the new law including approved curriculum and what homeschooling parents are qualified to teach.
Some homeschooling parents have been frustrated to find out there is no approved curriculum and no process to seek approval to teach drivers education yet.
The Iowa Department of Transportation confirmed with Caffeinated Thoughts that the process is still under development. “It seems like this would be a simple process, but there are a lot of moving parts,” Mark Lowe, the Director of the Motor Vehicle Division at the Iowa DOT, told Caffeinated Thoughts. He said there were a number of statutes passed by the legislature impacting his division. “These changes are utilizing shared resources and this is an entirely new program for us,” Lowe added.
Lowe said they have had discussions with other state departments of transportation about the program and they are going to be ready this month to release a request for proposals for driving education course providers to submit curriculum to be approved or not approved. They are also developing the criteria for what parents are allowed to teach drivers education. What is currently known is that the primary criteria will be parents who are dual-enrolled, involved with home school assistance programs or have filed a competent private instruction form with their local school district. Parents opting for independent private instruction will not qualify to teach drivers education to their children.
When curriculum is approved the department will make that information available on their website, as well as, instructions on how parents may qualify to teach drivers education.
Lowe indicated that the rules-making process normally takes anywhere from three to six weeks. He projected this option for home educating parents will be available by the 2014-2015 school year. “Our target is to have this ready to go by the start of next school year,” he said.