Iowa Laws and Regulations

By

An overview of the homeschool laws and regulations of Iowa, along with links to legislative source information, additional reference materials and government resources on homeschooling.

owa General Assembly

Iowa Code 1995

Supplement: Section 299.1

299.1 Attendance requirements.

Except as provided in section 299.2, the parent, guardian, or legal or actual custodian of a child who is of compulsory attendance age, shall cause the child to attend some public school, an accredited nonpublic school, or COMPETENT PRIVATE INSTRUCTION in accordance with the provisions of chapter 299A, during a school year, as defined under section 279.10. The board of directors of a public school district or the governing body of an accredited nonpublic school shall set the number of days of required attendance for the schools under its control.

The board of directors of a public or the governing body of an accredited nonpublic school may, by resolution, require attendance for the entire time when the schools are in session in any school year and adopt a policy or rules relating to the reasons considered to be valid or acceptable excuses for absence from school.

Section History:

Early form – [S13, ¤ 2823-a; C24, 27, 31, 35, 39, ¤ 4410; C46, 50, 54, 58, 62, 66, 71, 73, 75, 77, 79, 81, ¤ 299.1]

Section History:

Recent form – 83 Acts, ch 17, ¤ 2, 4; 85 Acts, ch 6, ¤3; 88 Acts, ch 1087, ¤ 2; 88 Acts, ch 1259, ¤2, 3; 89 Acts, ch 265, ¤41; 91 Acts, ch 200, ¤3

Internal References – Referred to in ¤ 299.2, 299.6, 299.11, 299A.1

Iowa Code 1995

Supplement: Section 299.1A

299.1A Compulsory attendance age.

A child who has reached the age of six and is under sixteen years of age by September 15 is of compulsory attendance age.

Section History:

Recent form 91 Acts, ch 200, ¤4

Internal References – Referred to in ¤ 299.6, 299.11, 299A.1

299A.1 Private instruction.

The parent, guardian, or legal custodian of a child of compulsory attendance age who places the child under private instruction shall provide, unless otherwise exempted, COMPETENT PRIVATE INSTRUCTION in accordance with this chapter. A parent, guardian, or legal custodian of a child of compulsory attendance age who places the child under private instruction which is not COMPETENT PRIVATE INSTRUCTION, or otherwise fails to comply with the requirements of this chapter, is subject to the provisions of sections 299.1 through 299.4 and the penalties provided in section 299.6.

For purposes of this chapter, “COMPETENT PRIVATE INSTRUCTION” means private instruction provided on a daily basis for at least one hundred forty-eight days during a school year, to be met by attendance for at least thirty-seven days each school quarter, by or under the supervision of a licensed practitioner in the manner provided under section 299A.2, or other person under section 299A.3, which results in the student making adequate progress.

For purposes of this chapter and chapter 299, “PRIVATE INSTRUCTION” means instruction using a plan and a course of study in a setting other than a public or organized accredited nonpublic school.

Section History:

Recent form – 91 Acts, ch 200, ¤20

299A.2 COMPETENT PRIVATE INSTRUCTION by licensed practitioner.

If a licensed practitioner provides competent instruction to a child of compulsory attendance age, the practitioner shall possess a valid license or certificate which has been issued by the state board of educational examiners under chapter 272 and which is appropriate to the ages and grade levels of the children to be taught. COMPETENT PRIVATE INSTRUCTION may include, but is not limited to, a home school assistance program which provides instruction or instructional supervision offered through an accredited nonpublic school or public school district by a teacher, who is employed by the accredited nonpublic school or public school district, who assists and supervises a parent, guardian, or legal custodian in providing instruction to a child. If COMPETENT PRIVATE INSTRUCTION is provided through a public school district, the child shall be enrolled and included in the basic enrollment of the school district as provided in section 257.6. Sections 299A.3 through 299A.7 do not apply to COMPETENT PRIVATE INSTRUCTION provided by a licensed practitioner under this section. However, the reporting requirement contained in section 299A.3, subsection 1, shall apply to COMPETENT PRIVATE INSTRUCTION provided by licensed practitioners that is not part of a home school assistance program offered through an accredited nonpublic school or public school district.

Section History:

Recent form – 91 Acts, ch 200, ¤ 21; 92 Acts, ch 1135, ¤ 10; 92 Acts, ch 1247, ¤ 48

Internal References – Referred to in ¤ 299.4, 299A.1

299A.3 Private instruction by nonlicensed person.

A parent, guardian, or legal custodian of a child of compulsory attendance age providing COMPETENT PRIVATE INSTRUCTION to the child shall meet all of the following requirements:

  1. Complete and send, in a timely manner, the report required under section 299.4 to the school district of residence of the child.
  2. Ensure that the child under the parent’s, guardian’s, or legal custodian’s instruction is evaluated annually to determine whether the child is making adequate progress, as defined in section 299A.6.
  3. Ensure that the results of the child’s annual evaluation are reported to the school district of residence of the child and to the department of education by a date not later than June 30 of each year in which the child is under private instruction.

Section History:

Recent form – 91 Acts, ch 200, ¤22

Internal References – Referred to in ¤ 299.4, 299A.1, 299A.2

299A.4 Annual achievement evaluations—requirements and procedure.

  1. Each child of compulsory attendance age who is receiving COMPETENT PRIVATE INSTRUCTION shall either be evaluated annually by May 1, using a nationally recognized standardized achievement evaluation or other assessment tool developed or recognized by the department of education and chosen by the child’s parent, guardian, or legal custodian from a list of approved evaluations or assessment tools provided by the department of education or be evaluated annually in the manner provided in subsection 7. The department shall provide information on the cost of and the administration time required for each of the approved evaluations. The department shall provide, as part of approval procedures for evaluations to be used under this section, a mechanism which permits the introduction and approval of new or alternate methods of educational assessment which meet the requirements of this chapter.
  2. A child, who is seven years of age and is receiving COMPETENT PRIVATE INSTRUCTION or who is placed under COMPETENT PRIVATE INSTRUCTION for the first time, shall be administered an evaluation for purposes of obtaining educational baseline data.
  3. The director of the department of education, or the director’s designee, which may include a school district or an area education agency, shall conduct the evaluations required under subsections 1 and 2 for children under COMPETENT PRIVATE INSTRUCTION. Evaluation shall occur at a time and a place to be determined by the person responsible for conducting the evaluation. Persons conducting the evaluations shall make every reasonable effort to conduct the evaluations at times and places which are convenient for the parent, guardian, or legal custodian.
  4. The parent, guardian, or legal custodian of a child receiving COMPETENT PRIVATE INSTRUCTION may be present when the child is evaluated, but only if both the parent, guardian, or legal custodian and the child are under the supervision of the evaluation administrator.
  5. The conducting of evaluations shall include, but is not limited to, purchasing of evaluation materials, giving the evaluations, scoring and interpreting the evaluations, and reporting the evaluation results.
  6. Except when a child has been enrolled in a public school district under section 299A.8, the parent, guardian, or legal custodian of the child being evaluated shall reimburse the entity conducting the evaluation for no more than the actual cost of evaluation required by this chapter. However, the parent, guardian, or legal custodian is not required to reimburse the evaluating entity for costs incurred as a result of evaluation under section 299A.9.
  7. In lieu of annual achievement evaluations, a parent, guardian, or legal custodian of a child may submit, as evidence of adequate academic progress, all of the following:
    1. A book of lesson plans, a diary, or other written record indicating the subjects taught and activities in which the child has been engaged.
    2. A portfolio of the child’s work, including but not limited to, an outline of the curriculum used by the child, copies of homework completed in conjunction with the curriculum and instruction, and copies of evaluations completed by the child which have been produced by the parent, guardian, or legal custodian.
    3. Completed assessment evaluations, other than the annual achievement evaluation, if assessment evaluations are administered to a pupil as part of the competent private instruction by the parent, guardian, or legal custodian.

If a parent, guardian, or legal custodian submits evidence under this section, the information shall be reviewed by a qualified, licensed, Iowa practitioner selected as the evaluator by the parent, guardian, or legal custodian and approved by the superintendent of the local school district or the superintendent’s designee. The evaluator shall prepare a report based on a review of the child’s work submitted, which shall include an assessment of the child’s achievement or academic progress levels, and submit a copy of the report to the child’s parent, guardian, or legal custodian, the school district of residence of the child, and the department of education. If the evidence demonstrates, in the evaluator’s opinion, that the child is achieving adequate progress, the report shall create a presumption that the child is making adequate progress.

Section History:

Recent form – 91 Acts, ch 200, ¤ 23; 92 Acts, ch 1163, ¤ 68

Internal References – Referred to in ¤ 299A.2, 299A.6

299A.5 Reporting of evaluation results.

The results of evaluations administered to children of compulsory attendance age who are under COMPETENT PRIVATE INSTRUCTION shall be reported by the evaluation administrator to the child’s parent, guardian, or legal custodian, the school district of residence of the child, and the department of education. Personally identifiable information relating to or contained in the evaluation scores is confidential and shall not be released without the prior consent of the child’s parent, guardian, or custodian except as otherwise permitted by law.

Section History:

Recent form – 91 Acts, ch 200, ¤ 24; 92 Acts, ch 1163, ¤ 69

Internal References – Referred to in ¤ 299A.2

299A.6 Failure to make adequate progress.

If the results of evaluations, administered to a child of compulsory attendance age who is under COMPETENT PRIVATE INSTRUCTION, indicate that the student has failed to make adequate progress, the parent, guardian, or legal custodian shall cause the child to attend an accredited public or nonpublic school at the beginning of the next school year unless, before the beginning of the next school year, the child retakes a different form of the same evaluation, or another evaluation from the approved list of tests or assessment tools recognized by the department of education, and the results indicate that adequate progress has been made, the child has demonstrated adequate performance in the opinion of an evaluator and documented in a report under section 299A.4, subsection 7, or the director of the department of education, or the director’s designee, grants approval for competent private instruction to continue under a plan for remediation.

A child who is required to attend an accredited public or nonpublic school under this section shall continue attendance at an accredited public or nonpublic school until the child achieves adequate progress.

For purposes of this chapter, “adequate progress” means, for children in all grade levels of COMPETENT PRIVATE INSTRUCTION, evaluation scores which are above the thirtieth percentile, nationally normed, in each of the areas of reading, mathematics, and language arts, and which indicate either that the child has made six months’ progress from the previous evaluation results or that the child is at or above grade level for the child’s age. For children in grade levels six and above, “adequate progress” also means that the child has achieved evaluation scores in both science and social studies which are above the thirtieth percentile, nationally normed, and which either indicate that the child has made six months’ progress from the previous evaluation results or that the child is at or above grade level for the child’s age.

Section History:

Recent form – 91 Acts, ch 200, ¤ 25; 91 Acts, ch 258, ¤ 41; 92 Acts, ch 1135, ¤ 11

Internal References – Referred to in ¤ 299A.2, 299A.3

299A.9 Children requiring special education.

A child of compulsory attendance age who is identified as requiring special education under chapter 256B is eligible for placement under COMPETENT PRIVATE INSTRUCTION with prior approval of the placement by the director of special education of the area education agency of the child’s district of residence.

A child who has been placed under COMPETENT PRIVATE INSTRUCTION, whose performance indicates that the child may require special education, shall be referred for evaluation under chapter 256B and the rules of the state board of education. Evaluation shall occur at a time and a place to be determined by the person responsible for conducting the evaluation. Persons conducting the evaluations shall make every reasonable effort to conduct the evaluations at times and places which are convenient for the parent, guardian, or legal custodian.

Section History:

Recent form – 91 Acts, ch 200, ¤28

Internal References – Referred to in ¤ 299A.4

299.3 Reports from accredited nonpublic schools.

Within ten days from receipt of notice from the secretary of the school district within which an accredited nonpublic school is conducted, the principal of the accredited nonpublic school shall, once during each school year, and at any time when requested in individual cases, furnish to the secretary of the public school district, within which the accredited nonpublic school is located, a certificate and report in duplicate on forms provided by the public school district of the names and ages of each pupil of the accredited nonpublic school who is of compulsory attendance age and the grade level of each pupil, during the preceding year and from the time of the last preceding report to the time at which a report is required. In addition, the report shall identify all students of compulsory attendance age who were truant as defined by law or school policy and the number of days of truancy for the period covered by the report, and children who dropped out, withdrew from enrollment, or transferred to another Iowa school and the date their attendance ceased at the accredited nonpublic school. The secretary shall retain The reports and file the other with the secretary of the area education agency.

Section History:

Early form – [S13, ¤ 2823-b; C24, 27, 31, 35, 39, ¤ 4412; C46, 50, 54, 58, 62, 66, 71, 73, 75, 77, 79, 81, ¤ 299.3]

Section History:

Recent form – 91 Acts, ch 200, ¤6; 93 Acts, ch 101, ¤207 Internal References – Referred to in ¤ 299.6, 299.11, 299A.1

299.4 Reports as to private instruction.

The parent, guardian, or legal custodian of a child who is of compulsory attendance age, who places the child under COMPETENT PRIVATE INSTRUCTION under either section 299A.2 or 299A.3, not in an accredited school or a home school assistance program operated by a public or accredited nonpublic school, shall furnish a report in duplicate on forms provided by the public school district, to the district by the earliest starting date specified in section 279.10, subsection 1. The secretary shall retain and file one copy and forward the other copy to the district’s area education agency. The report shall state the name and age of the child, the period of time during which the child has been or will be under COMPETENT PRIVATE INSTRUCTION for the year, an outline of the course of study, texts used, and the name and address of the instructor. The parent, guardian, or legal custodian of a child, who is placing the child under COMPETENT PRIVATE INSTRUCTION, for the first time, shall also provide the district with evidence that the child has had the immunizations required under section 139.9. The term “outline of course of study” shall include subjects covered, lesson plans, and time spent on the areas of study.

Section History:

Early form – [S13, ¤ 2823-b; C24, 27, 31, 35, 39, ¤ 4413; C46, 50, 54, 58, 62, 66, 71, 73, 75, 77, 79, 81, ¤ 299.4]

Section History:

Recent form – 88 Acts, ch 1259, ¤4; 91 Acts, ch 200, ¤ 7; 92 Acts, ch 1135, ¤ 9

Internal References – Referred to in ¤ 299.6, 299.11, 299A.1, 299A.3

299.24 Religious groups exempted from school standards.

When members or representatives of a local congregation of a recognized church or religious denomination established for ten years or more within the state of Iowa prior to July 1, 1967, which professes principles or tenets that differ substantially from the objectives, goals, and philosophy of education embodied in standards set forth in section 256.11, and rules adopted in implementation thereof, file with the director of the department of education proof of the existence of such conflicting tenets or principles, together with a list of the names, ages, and post-office addresses of all persons of compulsory school age desiring to be exempted from the compulsory education law and the educational standards law, whose parents or guardians are members of the congregation or religious denomination, the director, subject to the approval of the state board of education, may exempt the members of the congregation or religious denomination from compliance with any or all requirements of the compulsory education law and the educational standards law for two school years. When the exemption has once been granted, renewal of such exemptions for each succeeding school year may be conditioned by the director, with the approval of the board, upon proof of achievement in the basic skills of arithmetic, the communicative arts of reading, writing, grammar, and spelling, and an understanding of United States history, history of Iowa, and the principles of American government, by persons of compulsory school age exempted in the preceding year, which shall be determined on the basis of tests or other means of evaluation selected by the director with the approval of the state board. The testing or evaluation, if required, shall be accomplished prior to submission of the request for renewal of the exemption. Renewal requests shall be filed with the director on or before April 15 of the school year preceding the school year for which the applicants desire exemption.

Section History:

Early form – [C71, 73, 75, 77, 79, 81, ¤ 299.24]

Section History:

Recent form – 85 Acts, ch 212, ¤21, 22; 89 Acts, ch 296, ¤26

Internal References – Referred to in ¤ 280.3, 299.2

Tags: , , ,

Do you have a question?
We have several answers!

Search HEM's 10,000+ page knowledge base.

Resource Guide

Resource Guide

Become a part of our
Resource Guide

Art
Books
Chemistry
Children's Magazines
Colleges
Computer Science
Conferences
Educational Supplies
Family Vacations
Foreign Language
Games
Geography
History
Home School Curriculum
Literature
Mathematics
Music
Online Programs
Online Schools
Parenting Support
Reading Instruction
Science
Self-Employment Education
Summer Programs
Support Groups
Testing/Assessments
Travel
Unschooling
Writing

Become a part of our
Resource Guide


RSS Home Education Magazine

RSS HEM Notes

RSS News & Commentary

  • Wisconsin Virtual Academy Must Adhere to Public School Requirements
    Wisconsin Virtual Academy Must Adhere to Public School Requirements Over the years, there has been intentional word mixing by some officials in order to draw independent homeschoolers back into the public schools.  Across the board, confusion often reigns as to who or who is not a homeschooler.  It usually lies on the homeschool community’s back to educate o […]

RSS HEM Resources

  • Hands On Science Kits
    Hands On Science Kits Tumblehome Learning, helps kids imagine themselves as young scientists or engineers and encourages them to experience science through adventure and self-guided discovery. Exciting mystery Adventure Fun experiments Hands On Science Kits All carefully designed to engage students. Learn more about how to engage and satisfy your kids scient […]

RSS HEM Closer Look

  • Unschooling, what is it?
    Unschooling, what is it? Unschooling, Un schooling what is it? Defining unschooling is a little like describing a color, and every bit as elusive. You can rely on commonly-held descriptions; for example, we generally all agree what blue looks like, but what about cobalt, aqua, navy, cyan, sapphire, azure, indigo, cerulean, turquoise or cornflower? It’s the s […]