May 13, 2013

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

Free Year-End Testing Assured by New Law

On May 1, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad signed a bill that guarantees uninterrupted access to free year-end testing for competent private instruction (CPI) families. The enactment of House File (HF) 454 ends two decades of intermittent questions about free testing.

Iowa law has always said that families are entitled to dual enroll for the sole purpose of obtaining free year-end testing through their public school. But a controversy arose in 2010 when various state and local officials abruptly began to assert that free testing was available only to students who also enrolled in an additional public school activity. At the high point of the controversy, HSLDA and Des Moines lawyer Justin LaVan collaborated and sent letters to Montezuma and Sioux City school districts warning them that we might file litigation if they continued to refuse free testing.

The Network of Iowa Christian Home Educators (NICHE) launched a campaign of gentle persuasion. Soon state and local officials backtracked and agreed that free testing is available even to a CPI student who does not dual enroll in any other public school activity. Our e-lert dated August 9, 2011, announced the good news and also provided a chronology of the issue.

Making it Clear

To prevent a controversy over free testing from erupting again at some future time when different officials might be in office, NICHE and HSLDA sought legislation to make the issue so clear that even the greenest staff member could understand it. With the partnership and support of the Department of Education, this effort culminated in the enactment of Section 33 of HF 454 which states that “A school district shall, if requested, administer the annual achievement evaluation at no cost to the parent.”

Not only does HF 454 provide iron-clad assurance of free testing for CPI students, but it even eliminates the need to dual enroll. Under the new law, a CPI student can receive free testing even without dual enrolling!

If you were compelled to pay a fee to obtain testing that should have been free, you may want to consider seeking a refund. Our legal staff would be happy to review your situation with you if you are an HSLDA member.

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Protect Your Family

If you or someone you know is not a member of HSLDA, will you consider taking a moment today to join or recommend us? Your support enables us to defend individual families threatened by government officials and protect homeschooling freedom for all. Join now >>