Yesterday HF 214 was introduced into the Iowa House of Representatives by State Representative Sharon Steckman (D-Mason City). The bill if enacted would repeal Independent Private Instruction enacted in 2013 as part of a deal with Iowa Senate Democrats in exchange for passing 4% allowable growth for public school aid.
Independent Private Instruction simply means that students who are of compulsory school age who do not attend a public school or accredited private school do not have to report their intent to homeschool to their local school district or provide an assessment, portfolio or have a supervisory teacher that are requirements under Competent Private Instruction which prior to the 2013 law was the only way one could legally homeschool in Iowa.
Parents who homeschool can still do so through Competent Private Instruction, and by doing so they are able to utilize the parent-taught drivers education law that was also passed in 2013. Some homeschool parents also dual-enroll their children in their local school district or in some cases participate in a Homeschool Assistance Program that a few school districts in Iowa offer.
It is also likely that any future tax credit, tax deduction or education savings account program that homeschoolers will require competent private instruction for homeschooling families to participate.
This is Steckman’s second attempt at repealing Independent Private Instruction. Last year she introduced a bill that died during funnel week. She was also overheard saying that she wanted to “repeal all of that homeschooling crap” passed in 2013.
State Representatives Mary Mascher (D-Iowa City), Bruce Bearinger (D-Oelwein), Cindy Winckler (D-Davenport), Jerry Kearns (D-Keokuk), and Marti Anderson (D-Des Moines) co-sponsored Steckman’s bill.
Homeschooling advocates took aim at the bill.
“This is just an example of extreme educrats in the Iowa House who think the state should have a say in how we live from cradle to grave pandering to the ISEA and the anti-school choice crowd. I anticipate HF 214 is DOA in the Iowa House,” Bill Gustoff, a homeschool parent and member of the Iowa GOP State Central Committee, told Caffeinated Thoughts.
“Legislative Democrats made their bargain to get a massive infusion of new spending in their broken public education system in 2013, and homeschool freedom was a critical part of that bargain. Now that they have pocketed their gains, this small sliver of them wants to renege on the deal legislative Republicans and Governor Branstad made with them in good faith. All of the reliable evidence available supports the conclusion that homeschooling works, and that it works best when bureaucrats leave parents alone to do the job of educating their children,” Gustoff added.
“Is the freedom homeschool families enjoy under the IPI option shocking, or revolutionary? No. Homeschool families in many states are not required to file any paperwork to start homeschooling and are not required to submit any type of year-end assessment. These states include Texas, Indiana, Illinois, New Jersey, Missouri, Idaho, Michigan, Alaska, and Oklahoma,” Justin LaVan, President of the Network of Iowa Christian Home Educators, told Caffeinated Thoughts. “The bill that created IPI in 2013 passed both houses of the Iowa Legislature with strong bipartisan support. Freedom is a bipartisan issue.”
The bill was assigned to a subcommittee consisting of State Representatives Jake Highfill (R-Johnston), Steckman, and Sandy Salmon (R-Denver) where it is likely dead on arrival.