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Iowa

May 28, 2013

Revolutionary Improvement II: Driver’s Education Blossoms


Scott Woodruff answers questions and assists members with legal issues in Iowa. He and his wife homeschooled their children. Read more >>

It might be described as the final frontier in homeschooling: sure you can teach your kids to read, but can you teach them to drive!? Virginia, Colorado, Texas and other states have permitted parents to provide driver education for years. Now it’s Iowa’s turn!

One of the many conditions for a person under age 18 to obtain an intermediate or full driver’s license is completing a driver education program. Section 100 of House File (HF) 215 for the first time ever in Iowa allows a parent to provide the driver education. Here is an outline of what HF 215 requires.

  1. The parent must have provided the child with Competent Private Instruction (CPI) for the current year and the year just past. Independent Private Instruction (IPI) does not qualify.
  2. The parent must have a driver’s license (not just a motorcycle license or a temporary license). The parent must have a clean driving record, meaning: (a) their license is not subject to suspension, revocation, denial, cancellation, disqualification or bar; (b) the parent has not been convicted of a moving violation that caused an accident; and (c) the parent is not a candidate for having their license suspended or revoked.
  3. The parent must use a curriculum the Department of Transportation has approved. There are no approved courses yet, of course. For a curriculum to receive approval, it must involve 30 hours of classroom instruction, 40 hours of behind-the-wheel instruction, and meet other requirements the department will set by rule.
  4. When it comes time to apply for the intermediate license, the following items must be submitted with an affidavit: (a) proof that the parent is a “teaching parent” and that the student is receiving (and last year received) CPI; (b) the name of the curriculum and proof that the student completed it successfully; (c) copies of the student’s written tests; (d) confirmation of the number of classroom hours of instruction; (e) a log of behind-the-wheel instruction signed by the student and parent showing the date and length of each lesson as well as student deficiencies and recommendations for improvement.

Parents and students must jump through many hoops on the road to a driver’s license. But HF 215 finally puts parents in the driver’s seat on the important component of teaching driver education.

And to round out driver education options, section 99 of HF 215 requires public schools to make their own driver education courses available to CPI and IPI students. Gone are the days when some parents had no meaningful choice but to hire a private driving instructor to teach driver education!

Parent-taught driver education saves lives. Read more about it in this article.

It’s also an awesome chance for you to have some one-on-one bonding time with your teen right before they enter the new phase of independence that a driver’s license will bring. While the door is now open for you to allow the public school to arrange for your child’s driver education, I urge you to seriously consider following the parent-taught option once the department approves courses.

My wife taught my daughters to read; but under Virginia law I had the privilege of teaching them to drive and helping them earn their licenses!

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