SF 2130 – Expiration date of beginning teacher license modification;
SF 2360 – Dyslexia taskforce and report;
HF 2235 – Codifies the statewide student assessment;
HF 2280 – Eliminates the Praxis requirement completely;
HF 2354 – Student data privacy protections;
HF 2390 – World Language and Sign Language;
HF 2406 – Social workers included in sharing incentive program;
HF 2420 – Iowa national service corps program modifications;
HF 2441 – Flexibility of categorical funding 2.0;
HF 2442 – Regulations to prevent concussions;
HF 2467 – Prohibits “lunch shaming”.
SF 2130 removes the requirement that an initial teacher license expires in the month of the holder’s birthday. Initial licenses will instead expire at the end of the academic year. New Iowa teachers must complete two full academic years of teaching to go from an initial to a standard teaching license. When a teaching license expires on the last day of their birth month, it may fall prior to the end of an academic year. Beginning teachers who need additional time on their initial license must then pay for a license extension to finish the academic year. This bill will eliminate the need for teachers moving from initial to standard licensure to pay for such an extension, a savings for approximately 200 teachers who currently pay for an extension each year.
[3/13: 49-0 (only 49 senators seated)]
SF 2360 creates a dyslexia taskforce, which will be staffed by the Department of Education. The bill specifies task force membership, and directs the task force to submit to the Governor and Legislature a report on findings and recommendations for dyslexia response by November 15, 2019.
[3/13: 49-0 (only 49 senators seated)]
HF 2235 requires that the statewide assessment of student progress be the assessment developed by the Iowa testing program within the University of Iowa’s College of Education and administered by the Iowa testing program’s designee.
[3/13: 39-10 (No: Boulton, Danielson, Dotzler, Hart, Horn, D. Johnson, McCoy, Petersen, Quirmbach, Taylor; only 49 senators seated)]
HF 2280 eliminates the requirement for a high quality assessment before qualifying for teacher licensure. As part of the Education Reform bill of 2013, Iowa teachers were required to pass an assessment which could be the Praxis II exam. The statute also allows for alternative assessments (a performance-based assessment called edTPA and 2 ETS PPAT, which includes a pedagogy test and the appropriate Praxis II content area test). Currently, 40 states use the Praxis II as part of licensure requirements, making it easier for Iowa teacher-prep students to be licensed in another state or for Iowa teachers to transfer their licenses.
[3/14: 9-6, party-line]
HF 2354 places restrictions on third parties that receive student data from school districts. The bill outlines specific advertising targeting what these operators can and cannot do while maintaining student confidentiality. This is an effort to protect student privacy while allowing districts to maintain ongoing relationships with third-party technology providers.
[3/13: Short Form (Excused: Chelgren)]
HF 2390 makes two changes regarding foreign language courses in schools. The first substantive change is to allow school districts to use American Sign Language as an option to meet the district’s “offer and teach” requirements for foreign/world language. The second, a terminology change, is to refer to “foreign language” as “world language.”
HF 2406 adds social workers to the list of employees that are assigned a supplementary weighting of three students when a school district shares the operational functions of a licensed social worker. The House amended the bill to clarify that a master social worker or an independent licensed social worker can be assigned the supplementary weighting. This will give districts greater flexibility to address student needs.
[3/13: Short Form (Excused: Chelgren)]
HF 2420 allows the Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service to establish an Iowa National Service Corps program to provide opportunities for state agencies, political subdivisions of the state, and private, nonprofit organizations to meet state and local needs and provide opportunities for volunteer service. The bill provides that certain existing programs and service positions are automatically part of the Iowa National Service Corps program. A person participating in the program is exempt from the state merit system requirements and is ineligible to receive unemployment compensation benefits upon completion of service. The bill allows state agencies or political subdivisions of the state to establish hiring preferences for Iowa National Service Corps or AmeriCorps participants. Funding for this program is available through the Iowa summer youth corps established in current Code section 15H.5. Funds may also be provided by private sector, and local, state and federal government sources, or other available funds.
HF 2441 is the 2018 school district flexibility fund bill. It also restricts the Department of Education from issuing guidance that imposes a legal obligation or duty unless it is required or reasonably implied by law, rule or other legal authority. The provision does not apply to administrative rules, declaratory orders, a document or statement required by federal law or a court, or a document or statement issued in the course of an administrative or judicial proceeding. The bill mainly provides additional flexibility to various programs and funds at the school district level. These are some of the funding program modifications contained in the legislation:
- Class Size Reduction/Early Intervention – The current categorical funding and program requires school districts to spend funds for class-size reduction for grades K-3 or increased reading programming. The program is set to expire June 30, 2018 without legislative action. This provision takes effect upon enactment, and applies to the 2018-19 school year.
- At-Risk/Dropout Prevention Funds – Instead of submitting a plan to the School Budget Review Committee, plans and requests for a modified supplemental amount for at-risk students can be approved by resolution of a school The school district must provide a comprehensive plan, but the plan would no longer have to be a part of the comprehensive school improvement plan. The Department of Education will no longer be able to add to the list of items to be included in a plan. The current cap limit of 5 percent of a school district’s budgeted enrollment that can be spent on such programs is removed. The bill specifically adds additional staff, salary and benefits of those working with at-risk or dropout prevention to the list of permissible uses of funding.
- Leased Portions of a School Building – Allows the leasing of school property and strikes a five-year lease duration limitation.
- Sports Equipment – Last year’s flexibility bill allowed, by resolution, a school district to transfer funds from their general fund to the student activity fund an amount necessary to purchase protective and safety The bill adds the reconditioning of such protective and safety equipment.
HF 2442 relates to school sport concussion protocols and coaching licensure. The bill requires the Department of Public Health, the Iowa High School Athletic Association and the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union to work together to develop training materials and courses regarding concussions and brain injuries and return-to-play protocols. A coach or contest official must complete such training at least every two years. A student removed from sports participation cannot recommence until they are evaluated by a license health care provider. The bill removes a school’s legal liability for the actions or nonactions of a licensed health care provider at an extracurricular interscholastic activity so long as the provider acts reasonably and in good faith and in the best interest of the student athlete.
HF 2467 allows schools to pay for the costs of student lunch/meal debt with a recently created flexibility fund. The bill requires schools to notify parents at least twice a year if the student has five or more unpaid lunches. It also encourages (but does not require) schools to offer students reimbursable lunches unless the parent authorizes withholding lunches from a student. A reimbursable meal cannot be an alternative (like a cold cheese sandwich) as it would be identifying that the student has school meal debt.
The bill prohibits a school from publicly identifying or stigmatizing a student for being delinquent in their meal account. This would include sitting at a separate table, doing chores for food, or wearing a wrist band, hand stamp or other identifying marks. The bill prohibits posting lists of students who cannot pay for lunch and denying the students participation in various school activities. After two years of attempting trying to collect more than $500 in school lunch debt, the school district may proceed with an income-offset to collect.
The bill allows school districts to set up a private fund within their nutrition fund that could accept donations to offset school lunch debt. The school may also reimburse that fund with money from their flexibility fund.
[3/14: 14-1 (No: Elder)]