Welcome to the third update in 2022 on Iowa’s education-related legislation priorities and movement.
Overall, no new bills were passed, some have advanced, and many have been referred to various entities or marked as unfinished business. Bills that deal with the state budget are exempt from deadlines, as are bills in the Ways and Means, Appropriations, or Government Oversight Committees. Lawmakers also have the option of marking a bill as “unfinished business,” allowing them to continue work after the funnel. Legislative leaders also may sponsor bills that are exempt from the deadline.
Similar to prior years, the governor would like to see more “student choice” in terms of attending either public or private schools and redirecting public funds to support private schools. There are several bills still in the funnel specific to establishing a voucher system and a “Student First Enrollment Supplement Fund” SF2369. This bill contains many elements now and goes beyond the governor’s priorities. A number of previous bills have been collected under this number (SF2369), including HF2081, which addresses the elimination of teacher preparation assessments. This bill has passed the Senate and now goes to the House.
- Division I establishes a parental bill of rights, incorporating elements of the transparency provisions introduced in the original bill.
- Division II establishes the Student First Scholarship program.
- Division III modifies provisions related to social studies instruction.
- Division IV relates to special education services for students receiving private instruction.
- Division V allows siblings and stepsiblings of students who are subjected to “repeated acts of harassment” to file for open enrollment after the March 1 deadline.
- Division VI incorporates HF2081, as amended, related to end-of-program assessment in teacher preparation programs and other matters related to practitioner preparation and licensure.
- Division VI of the original bill made changes to teacher librarian licensure and credentialing. These provisions are not included in the amended bill.
- Division VII incorporates HF2567, as amended, related to the reporting and investigation of misconduct by licensed practitioners.
- Division VIII relates to licensure renewal requirements for practitioners holding a master educator teaching license.
Bills Currently Moving Forward
Teach Iowa Scholarship Eligibility Requirements
SF2377 This bill expands eligibility for students to qualify for the Teach Iowa Scholarship program. Students must be in the top 50% of their teaching preparation class versus 25% and the bill omits requirements for discipline-specific preparation opening up eligibility to all preservice teachers. A recent change allocates 50% of the funding to districts with less than 1200 students and 50% to districts with more than 1200 students. The bill has been passed by the House. This bill has passed the House and Senate and is now with the Ways and Means Committee.
English Learners Terminology
SF2128 This bill changes terminology from “limited English proficiency” to “English learners” and also extends services for English learners from five to seven years. This bill has been passed by the Senate and the House.
Computer Science Funding and Disbursement
SF2081 This bill allows for unused funds in CS professional development to roll over into the next fiscal year. This bill has been placed on the unfinished business list.
Supplemental Funding Bill
HF2315 This bill has passed the House, but has not yet been discussed by the senate. The bill provides $19.2 million in additional funding for bus drivers, paraeducators, and other needs for schools. Passed the House.
Renewal of licenses
HF2398 Strikes requirements for teachers with a master’s degree or Ph.D. to renew their licenses. This bill has been placed on unfinished business.
Curricular bills & Transparency of Curricular Materials
HF2577 relates to education transparency and civics instruction and was passed by a vote of 60-36 in the House and goes to the Senate. The House adopted two amendments to the bill on the floor:
- Clarification that instructional materials do not include lesson plans.
- Specifies that a change in materials must be posted by the end of the school week in accordance with the requirements of the act. Exempts a teacher of record providing special education instruction from the requirements of the new section 279.76.
Other bills related to targeting librarians with charges and fees if they provide certain reading material did not make the funnel. However, a bill making administrators and teachers accountable for ensuring that no obscene material is distributed is still under review, SF2198. If obscene materials are distributed, the crime would be a serious misdemeanor. This bill has been referred to the Judiciary.