Education Committee – Week 8, 2021


SF 304 – Modification to the Teach Iowa Scholar program

SF 304 modifies the Teach Iowa Scholar (TIS) program and lays out priority funding for applicants. It raises the annual grant limitation from $4,000 to $7,500 and the total grant limitation over a five-year period from $20,000 to $37,500.

Currently, priority is given to residents of Iowa. New priority funding order:

  1. Applicants seeking renewal of their grant awards.
  2. Applicants who are most recent graduates of approved practitioner preparation programs.
  3. Applicants who are minorities and residents of Iowa.

TIS provides qualified Iowa teachers with awards of up to $4,000 a year, for a maximum of five years, for teaching in Iowa schools in designated shortage areas. Qualified teachers are those currently teaching in designated shortage areas who meet all of the eligibility criteria. An amendment was adopted that directs districts with more than 10% minority students to be included on the eligibility list of high-need areas under TIS.
[3/3: 15-0]

SF 430 – Expansion of English Language Learner funding

SF 430 divides limited-English-proficient students (LEP) into two categories based on proficiency: intensive students and intermediate students. “Intensive student” means a limited-English-proficient student that, even with support, is not proficient under the state’s English-language proficiency standards. “Intermediate student” means a limited-English-proficient student that, either with or without support, approaches proficiency under the English-language proficiency standards. Under the bill, intensive students will be assigned an additional weighting of 0.3 and intermediate students will be assigned an additional weighting of 0.25. The bill also modifies the definition of “fully English proficient.”

The bill was amended to conform to the House version, which provides lower funding for each category. The bill will provide supplementary weighting for intensive students at 0.26 and for intermediate students at 0.21. Approximately 80% of LEP students are intermediate, and, as amended, funding will be lower than current law. Under current law, an LEP student may draw an additional weighting of 0.22 in the School Aid formula for no more than five years. The bill, as amended, provides a net increase of $80,000 statewide for LEP support. Democrats voted against the amendment to lower funding levels. In FY21, 21,334 students were identified as LEP and received supplementary weighting.
[3/3: 15-0]

SF 452 – Establishment of Learning Loss Recovery Task Force

SF 452, as amended, establishes a Learning Recovery Task Force to evaluate learning losses for students enrolled in preschool through grade 12 due to the pandemic. The task force will study, identify and recommend remedial measures, including alterations in the school calendar, remedial classwork, special individualized tutoring and further options as justified and practical. The task force will consult with education experts and will include small, medium and large district representation. The task force will submit its findings, including specifics of learning loss for in-person, hybrid and continuous remote learning, and recommendations for legislation or rulemaking to the Legislature by December 30.
[3/3: 15-0]

SSB 1219 – Home school instruction changes and drivers ed

SSB 1219 relates to private instruction by parents, guardians and legal custodians, and to driver education provided by a teaching parent. Currently, a parent may place a child in one of these home-school options:

  • Competent private instruction under a licensed practitioner (reporting requirements).
  • Independent private instruction provided by an individual to not more than four unrelated students (no other state laws apply, religious focused).
  • Private instruction by a non-licensed parent, guardian or legal custodian. 

Under the bill, competent private instruction and private instruction are merged and the bill removes the “under a licensed practitioner” requirement for both. This means private instruction by a parent, guardian or legal custodian will be considered competent private instruction, but remains exempt from any reporting and assessment requirements.

Competent Private Instruction (everyone except independent private instruction) MAYmeet the following:

  • Complete and send annual achievement evaluations to the school district of residence.
  • Ensure the child is evaluated annually to determine whether they are making adequate progress.
  • Report results of annual evaluation to the school district on August 1 (used to be June 30).

Assessments: Currently, each child receiving competent private instruction is evaluated annually by May 1. The bill changes that to May 31. The bill modifies the requirements and responsibilities when a child fails to make adequate progress by stating that lack of progress is not to be construed to require testing on any subject matter at intervals more frequently or at grade levels other than the currently required annual assessments in math and English for students in grades three through 11, and in science for students in grades five, eight and 10.

Drivers Education: The bill allows all homeschool parents to teach drivers education. Currently, a “teaching parent” for drivers’ education is someone who is providing competent private instruction to the student, which the bill amends to include any private instruction under 299A.

Currently, an approved course administered by a teaching parent must consist of 30 hours of classroom time, which the bill eliminates; and 40 hours of street or highway driving, which the bill reduces to 30 hours, and must include four hours of driving after sunset and before sunrise, which the bill reduces to three hours. The bill also eliminates the number of instructional hours required for substance abuse and railroad crossing safety, and adds that instruction must be provided on sharing the road with pedestrians. The bill eliminates actual classroom hours and minutes required for an approved driver education course, so it will not be required for driver education provided by a teaching parent. The bill also provides that Code section 321.178A will not require a teaching parent to apply for or seek approval of the Iowa Department of Transportation separate from the course completion and certification established in the Code section.

Currently, the teaching parent must provide evidence of a student has completed the requirements for an intermediate license. Evidence includes documentation that the student is receiving competent private instruction or the name of the school district within which the student is receiving instruction. Under the bill, the option to provide the name of the school district is stricken. Evidence also includes copies of written tests completed by the student, and the bill adds that in place of these copies, the DOT may require lesser documentation. The bill also strikes a requirement that the student’s and teaching parent’s names and initials be noted on a log of completed street or highway driving instruction.
[3/3: 10-5 (No: Democrats)]

SSB 1231 – BOEE credential licensed behavior analysts

SSB 1231 will require the Board of Educational Examiners (BOEE) to adopt rules establishing a statement of professional recognition for behavior analysts licensed under Code chapter 154D. This bill is in response to the fact that many health care companies will not reimburse for behavior analyst services provided in school settings without a licensure or credential from the BOEE. The bill authorizes the board to carry out emergency rulemaking to implement the bill. The bill takes effect upon enactment.
[3/3: 15-0]