Education Committee – Week 22, 2020


SF 2284 – Board of Regents technical and regulatory cleanup bill

SF 2284 modifies various regulations for the Board of Regents, including:

  • Changes gifts and grants reporting from monthly to quarterly.
  • Eliminates the Iowa Telecommunications and Technology Commission waiver request requirement, which would put the universities into the same category of users as private colleges and nonpublic schools.
  • Updates Iowa’s open meetings law to allow the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics to go into closed meetings as other public hospital boards do, when discussing patient care quality, process improvement initiatives, or marketing and pricing strategies.
  • Amends Iowa’s confidential records law to allow proprietary intellectual property owned or held under contractual agreements by the Board of Regents to be considered confidential records. Requires new report.
  • Eliminates outdated Regents Resource Center language and updates continuous improvement language.

The House amendment makes these changes to SF 2284 (Board of Regents technical and regulatory cleanup bill):

  • Strikes Sec. 5: Proprietary intellectual property owned or held under contractual agreements by the state board of regents or by an institution of higher education under the board’s control.
  • Strikes Sec 16: Ownership or equity interests in entities for commercialization of research.
    [6/11: 49-0 (Excused: Hogg)]

SF 2356 – Expanded dyslexia support services

SF 2356 requires the State Board of Education to establish procedures for the approval of practitioner preparation programs that offer an advanced dyslexia specialist endorsement by July 2022. The Department must maintain a dyslexia consultant to provide technical guidance and assistance. Subject to an appropriation, each Area Education Agency must maintain a dyslexia specialist. An Iowa Dyslexia Board will oversee implementation of dyslexia instruction in Iowa and make recommendations for continued improvement. The bill expands the definition of dyslexia used to determine what schools must provide to students who are persistently at risk in reading to develop the skills to read at grade level. Finally, the bill requires all K-3, Title 1 and ELL teachers to complete the Iowa Reading Research Center dyslexia overview module by July 1, 2024.

The House adopted an amendment that removes this requirement for all teachers and instead clarifies that a practitioner must have specific endorsements of Pre-K, elementary or special education.
[6/11: 49-0 (Excused: Hogg)]

SF 2360 – Classroom Management and Therapeutic Classroom

SF 2360 addresses concerns from some parents and teachers regarding at-need students and the increased use of “room clears” in response to violent behavior. In a room clear, students are evacuated from the classroom while a violent or disruptive child remains in the classroom. The bill has these main components:

  • Teacher Training and Preparation: Provides $500,000 (House Amendment: starting in 2021-22 school year) for educators to receive additional training to manage classroom disruptions, address student behavior and use the least restrictive environment. 
  • Therapeutic Classroom Funding: Therapeutic classrooms provide smaller classes, intensive help, and short-term breaks to help students reset and develop new coping strategies before reentering their regular classroom.
    • Provides $1,582,650 (House Amendment: starting in 2021-22 school year) for grants for districts and community mental health agencies to help students with violent behavior. Schools may collaborate and apply for a regional therapeutic classroom model. The Iowa Department of Education estimates the funding will cover 150 seats.
    • An additional $500,000 (House Amendment: starting in 2022-23 school year) will reimburse schools for transportation costs to a regional therapeutic classroom. Grants will help establish therapeutic classrooms for one to five pupils, classrooms with six to 10 pupils, and classrooms with 11 to 15 pupils.
  • Classroom Clear Requirements: Provides statewide expectations for clearing a classroom when a student behaves violently, and increases the requirements for school communication with parents of all children affected by a room clear.
  • Educator Protection: (House Amendment: Strikes this and goes back to current Code. Removes all new language about corporal punishment). Increases liability protects for educators when reasonable physical contact is used to relocate a student to protect them and other students from injury. Increases job and whistle-blower protections for teachers who report violence and personal attacks to police and administrators.
  • Data Collection: Establishes data reporting to track incidents of violence or assault by students. This section was amended to comply with federal special education and data privacy laws, and to track key student demographic information to identify overuse or patterns that have a disproportionate racial, gender or social-economic impact.

House Amendment: Removes all corporal punishment provisions and educator liability protections, and pushes all effective dates back one year (with funding impacts). There are also technical corrections.

  • Therapeutic classroom incentive grant program fund – In the subsection talking about the Department of Education establishing criteria for incentive fund, the House inserted, “Grant awards shall be distributed as equitably as possible among small, medium, and large school districts,” and defines, based on student population, what those mean.
  • Strikes all corporal punishment sections – Strikes 10, 11 and 12. Modifies Sec. 13.
    • Sec. 10 and 11: Removes educator immunity for use of corporal punishment.
    • Sec. 12: Strikes immunity for any actions while removing a student from a classroom.
    • Sec. 13: Strikes and replaces with language against employment reprisal or retaliation against a school employee who, in the reasonable course of the employee’s responsibilities, comes into physical contact with a student in accordance with this section.
      [6/11: 48-01 (No: Celsi; Excused: Hogg)]

HF 2359 – Mandatory entrance exams for colleges of education

HF 2359 allows an institute of higher learning the option to administer the Praxis 1 (or other exam) or not to administer any entrance exam, before granting admission into their College of Education. With fewer college students choosing to go into education, and the continued challenge of attracting and retaining a diverse teaching force, eliminating unnecessary barriers to entry into the profession is a priority for a variety of K12 education entities and higher education institutions.
[6/10: 49-0 (Excused: Bisignano)]

HF 2418 – Director of Education and BOEE sharing corrective licensure information

HF 2418 says that if a school district requests the Department of Education to review information contained in a BEDS (Basic Education Data Survey) submission and the director finds an error relating to licensure of a practitioner, they must notify the Board of Educational Examiners (BOEE). BOEE will initiate corrective action. An amendment provides a waiver for four school districts that missed the deadline to submit their requests for modified allowable growth for their dropout prevention programs.
[6/10: 49-0 (Excused: Bisignano)]

HF 2443 – Eligibility and assessments for the senior year plus

HF 2443 removes the requirement for students to demonstrate proficiency in reading, mathematics and science under new Iowa Statewide Assessment of Student Progress proficiency standards prior to participating in the program, and modifies authorization for community college’s assessment of student readiness. Students still must meet academic standards set by postsecondary institutions to be eligible for concurrent enrollment. A technical amendment, while not changing any the bill’s policy or intent, more smoothly inserts the changes into current Code.
[6/10: 49-0 (Excused: Bisignano)]

HF 2629 – Future Ready Iowa

HF 2629 extends the program by creating the Future Ready Iowa Expanded Registered Apprenticeship Opportunities program. This bill has these components:

  • Future Ready Iowa Apprenticeship Training Program: The program encourages small and medium-sized businesses to start apprenticeship programs. Seventy percent or more of the apprentices must be residents of Iowa; the rest must be residents of states contiguous to Iowa. Funding for the Registered Apprenticeship Opportunities Program is $1 million in FY20. The Governor recommended $1.6 million for FY21. No appropriations in this bill.
  • Iowa Child Care Challenge Fund (Iowa Workforce Development): The Iowa Employer Innovation Fund matches eligible employer contributions to expand education and training leading to high-demand jobs. A business or nonprofit may apply for construction of a new child care facility, rehabilitation of an existing child care facility, or retrofitting and repurposing an existing structure. The program received $1.2 million for FY20. The Governor is recommending an increase of $2.8 million to bring the total to $4 million. The portion of the increase going to the Child Care Challenge Fund is $2 million. No appropriation in this bill.
  • Computer Science Instruction – K-12 Educational Standards Online Coursework: This requires all school districts and nonpublic schools to include computer science and adds a half unit of instruction to the Iowa core. The bill allows the instruction to be offered online. This portion goes into effect July 1, 2022. No appropriation in this bill.
  • Operational Sharing to include a Work-based Learning Coordinator: A work-based learning coordinator would help facilitate structured education and training programs at K-12 schools that include authentic work-site training, such as registered apprenticeship programs. This position would be included under the maximum amount of additional weighting a school district can receive in a budget year, effective for the 2021-22 school year.
  • Last Dollar Scholarship Program: The bill addresses these qualification issues:
    • Allows a student who graduates from high school, before becoming an adult learner, to enroll full-time at a community college. This addresses eligibility for 19-year olds, meaning students don’t have to attend right after graduating.
    • There was an issue with students taking prerequisite courses not being eligible for the program since they did not go directly into an eligible program. This is fixed by removing the “by fall-semester” enrollment requirement.
    • The bill’s proposed changes allow for all eligible students to receive scholarships for part-time classes during the summer time. No appropriation in this bill.
  • Division 6: Senior Year Plus and Postsecondary Enrollment Options: The division eliminates the part-time enrollment limitation for a high school student enrolling in a community college course through Concurrent Enrollment (Senior Year Plus). The bill eliminates all references within the program that restrict it to part-time enrollment.
    [6/11: 49-0 (Excused: Hogg)]