DES MOINES, Iowa – The Iowa Senate Education Committee passed SSB 1219, a bill that updates and clarifies the Iowa Code regarding private instruction and parent-taught drivers’ education. The legislation that essentially only makes technical changes to the law passed 10 to 5 along party lines on Wednesday.
The legislation clarifies the distinction between Competent Private Instruction (CPI) and Independent Private Instruction (IPI), two options for homeschooling in the state. It also changed reporting and evaluation dates for CPI students due to changes made with the state’s assessment.
When the Iowa Legislature passed parent-taught drivers’ education the bill’s language ommitted IPI students, but the legislature’s intent at the time was to include them. Also, the Iowa Department of Education has since that bill passed has allowed IPi students to utilize parent-taught drivers’ education. The bill updates the Iowa Code with the current Iowa DOT rules.
The bill also reduces the number of street and highway hours from 40 to 30. It states parents can work together to offer parent-taught drivers’ education since the current homeschooling law allows parents to work in tandem with other subjects.
State Senator Jackie Smith, D-Sioux City, complained about things the legislation doesn’t do.
“I would ask the body to resist this. With that said, we know that homeschooling can be effective. And we know education has a profound effect on people. I’m uncomfortable with combining competent private instruction along, with let me get the terms right, I believe it’s independent private instruction and removing oversight. We don’t know how many kids are in homeschool. This will further exasperate the state not having any idea of how many kids are being schooled at home,” she said.
State Senator Sarah Trone Garriott, D-Windsor Heights, questioned why the bill dropped driving hours and the number of hours for certain topics of instruction.
Bill Gustoff, the lobbyist for Homeschool Iowa, told The Iowa Torch that the Democrats in the Iowa Senate Education Committee were confused about the bill.
“For too long, the terminology applied to the categories of homeschooling under Iowa law has been confusing even to policymakers. SF 1219 makes no changes to homeschooling law but does make important updates and clarifications, including bringing curriculum requirements of parent-taught driver education up to 21st Century online learning methods. Those who voted against it clearly don’t understand that these are benign improvements to the law, and we are confident they will support SSB 1219 once we can help them better understand this admittedly technical bill,” he said.
Americans for Prosperity joined Homeschool Iowa in support of the bill. The Iowa Department of Education was registered undecided, and no group registered opposition to the legislation.
Read the bill below:SSB1219