Step-by-Step Compliance with Iowa Law
1994-2005 by Ed Dickerson, all rights reserved.
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Compliance Options

The CPI Form

See On Setting a "Precedent"" Below
No matter what anyone else tells you, this is the way the law really works. As the only lobbyist for homeschoolers, I was present at every step of its passage. As a consultant I served on both committees that made recommendations to the state Department of Education. As director of HSAP for two school districts, I've helped administer the law. As a supervising teacher and portfolio evaluator, I've filed reports. As a homeschooling parent, I've had to comply with the law. This is how it really works.

Teacher Supervision

Most consider this the easiest method of compliance. Find a certified teacher, fill out your paperwork, have eight contacts with that teacher during the school year (half of them face-to-face), and you're done. Goto Supervision Step-by-Step

Testing

If your child tests well, this can be a convenient method. Fill out your paperwork, do whatever you please most of the year. Have the child take one of the state-approved tests and forward the results to the Dept. of Ed. by April 30, and you're done. Goto Testing Step-by-Step

Portfolio

Where are you going?

For children who do not test well, or families who cannot easily meet with a teacher, this option is ideal. Choose a certified teacher for portfolio evaluator. The school Superintendent for your district has the right to veto your choice, but, for legal reasons, this rarely happens. Keep samples of the child's work, and a record of activities. Submit these to the evaluator by April 30. If, in the evaluator's opinion, the child has made "adequate academic progress," you're done. Goto Portfolio Step-by-Step

On Setting a "Precedent"

Whatever you put on the CPI form, YOU ARE NOT SETTING A PRECEDENT THAT CAN ENDANGER OTHER HOMESCHOOLERS. (Sorry for the shouting).

The law in Iowa is the law. It was very hard to change to what it is now, and no one at the legislature is interested in making large changes.

You could include your entire genealogy, fingerprints of all family members, and sign it in blood. Aside from making a very large file for some bureaucrat to file, it would have NO EFFECT on what is required of other homeschoolers this year or the next.

When there was no law (pre 1991), and everything was negotiated, then it might have set a precedent. Now that the law is there, everything is spelled out, I can't think of anything you might do on the CPI form that would set a precedent.

Precedents can be set, like the kid who wanted to be "homeschooled" and then dual enroll for everything but PE. The courts saw through that, and said that you couldn't dual enroll to avoid just one class. Can you do it for two? Nobody knows. If someone tried, that might set a precedent. But it's only at the extreme fringes of the law where that has any possibility of occuring.

What is required on the CPI form is defined IN STATUTE, and implemented through ADMINISTRATIVE CODE, and cannot be changed, willy-nilly, by individual homeschoolers.

So DON't WORRY. Do what you think is best for you and your family. That's the way it was meant to be.

Finally, for those newbies who don't know, the reason I know all this is that I lobbied the law. The Governor, on signing the bill, said, "Where's Ed? He gets the first pen." I've also been involved in the process of writing the regulations. On occasion, I've had the legal counsel of the Dept. of Ed. call me for an interpretation. I tell you this not to boast, but to set you at ease.

There's no question I've had more involvement with this law, from start to finish, than any other single person. I negotiated the language, I helped write the regs. AS an HSAP coordinator I administered it for two school districts. As a homeschooling parent I was subject to it's provisions. As a supervising teacher I still deal with it.

DON'T WORRY. IT'll be all right. Do what you need for your family.