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arents in Iowa can homeschool their children with

relative freedom today. Was that always the case?

The answer is: “No.”

 How was the recognition of the freedom to homeschool

won in our state? The answer is: “It was won through the

diligent efforts of dedicated parents.”

 There are literally hundreds of stories to document those

efforts, but we’d like to share just one in particular as we

prepare to commemorate our 25th NICHE anniversary.

 Return with us to the late 1980’s. At that time, Iowa law

did not recognize private instruction by persons other

than Iowa licensed teachers. A number of parents had

been homeschooling in Iowa, several of whom faced

prosecution and potential removal of their children under

Child In Need of Assistance (CINA) threats.

 In 1989, the Iowa Senate passed Senate File 149, a bill

labeled as a truancy prevention measure. A prominent

homeschool leader at that time described the bill: “[SF

149] allows and compels the county attorney to go di-

rectly to juvenile court and file a petition to remove tru-

ant children under the child in need of assistance portion

of the Iowa code. No educational neglect may be taking

place. In fact, the child could be excelling, but the child

could be taken from the home and placed elsewhere. This

bill would lower the compulsory attendance age to six (6)

and raise it to eighteen (18). We have very strong evidence

that anti-home school intent was at the origin of this bill.”

 Home educators raised objections to the bill, and, by

God’s grace, the 1989 Iowa Legislature adjourned without

passing SF 149. Unfortunately, the bill was still eligible for

consideration by the 1990 legislature – at the very point

to which it had progressed at the end of the 1989 session.

As the 1990 legislative session approached, various home-

schoolers prepared for the coming opportunity to enact

legislation for homeschoolers in Iowa. One group in par-

ticular, the Dallas County Homeschool Support Group, be-

gan meeting regularly to discuss options and plans.

 On January 6, 1990, before the legislative session opened,

the Dallas County Home School Support Group invited

their legislators to a group member’s Adel home. Keep in

mind that most of the families in this group were educat-

ing their children in a manner outside of the legally recog-

nized means in Iowa at that time.

f r e e d om

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