State Senator Matt McCoy (D-Des Moines)

State Senator Matt McCoy (D-Des Moines) introduced a bill, SF 2065, into the Iowa Senate that would require parents who homeschool under independent private instruction (IPI) to submit a written notice to their local school districts by September 1st of their intent to do so.

McCoy actively criticized IPI after the death of Natalie Finn whose adoptive parents claimed they pulled her out of the West Des Moines School District to do that.

McCoy also introduced SF 2034 that would prevent adoptive parents of former foster care children from homeschooling their adoptive children under competent private instruction or independent private instruction if they receive an adoption subsidy from the state.

Independent Private Instruction passed under a bipartisan education reform bill in 2013 has been under attack by Democrats and the Des Moines Register‘s editorial board. IPI eliminated all reporting to the state and the need to turn in a CPI form to their local school district. It also allowed home educators to teach up to four students who were not in their immediate family.

IPI is the pinnacle of homeschooling freedom, and any bill that seeks to address, while not an outright repeal, is a step backward.

Scott Woodruff, senior counsel with Homeschool Legal Defense Association, in an email on Thursday evening, said the bill turns the clock back and adds red tape.

In the early years of homeschooling in Iowa, all families were required to file papers every year—sometimes even more than one set of papers. With strong bipartisan support, in 2013 the legislature ended the reign of this wasteful red tape and created two new options for homeschooling which required no routine paperwork.

This aligned Iowa’s law with that of many other states which require no routine paperwork: Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Texas, Idaho, Alaska, Michigan, and South Carolina.

SF 2065 seeks to resurrect that bygone era when all homeschool families faced the hassle of shuffling papers and the anxiety of what might happen if they somehow messed up on their paperwork.

This will benefit no one.

Families United Action Network has registered against the bill. The bill is supported by the Iowa State Education Association, Iowa Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, and Interfaith Alliance of Iowa Action Fund.

The bill was assigned to a subcommittee consisting of State Senators Amy Sinclair (R-Allerton), Mark Chelgen (R-Ottumwa), and Herman Quirmbach (D-Ames).

2 comments
    1. They are pointing to a family whose adoptive daughter, Natalie Finn, died as a result of their neglect and abuse. They claimed to pull her out of school to teach her independently.

      This obviously has nothing to do with homeschooling, but hey, don’t let a crisis go to waste, right?

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