Education Committee – Week 9, 2021


SF 466 – Adds to health care providers for athletic concussion policies

SF 466 adds occupational therapists to the definition of “licensed health care provider” for purposes of state law regarding concussion and brain-injury policies for extracurricular interscholastic activities. Duties of such licensed health care providers include, but are not limited to, determining when students should be removed from participation and return to participation.
[3/10: 48-0 (Excused: Hogg, Nunn)]


SF 478 – Training content prohibition and First Amendment training

SF 478, as amended, public higher education institutions and public K-12 school employees, and imposes new training, prohibitions and requirements relating to First Amendment rights. The Board of Regents (BOR) must develop materials and procedures to ensure all entities that have oversight, administration or financial responsibility understand the policies, regulations and duties of the institution regarding free expression on campus. The BOR must protect the First Amendment rights of its students, staff and faculty, and must establish and publicize policies that prohibit institutional restrictions and penalties based on protected speech. An institution cannot retaliate against a person filing a discrimination complaint. A university or the Board of Educational Examiners will discipline a teacher or faculty member that knowingly restricts a student’s free speech or otherwise penalizes a student in violation of this bill.

  • Training – “Divisive Concepts”: Each public university is prohibited from staff or student training that teaches, advocates or promotes “divisive concepts.” This prohibition is applied to any contractor hired by the institution and their own training programs.

  • Training – Inherent bias prohibition: The bill defines “race or sex stereotyping” as ascribing character traits, privileges, status, etc., to a race or sex; assigning fault, blame or bias to a race or sex; or claiming that (consciously or unconsciously) members of any race or sex are inherently racist or sexist. Each university may continue training that fosters a workplace that is respectful of all employees and students. However, the president of a university will ensure that any mandatory staff or student training provided by an employee of the institution or by a contractor hired by the institution does not teach, advocate, act upon or promote divisive concepts.

  • Student Organizations: Each public institution of higher education must provide student government organization members instruction and training on the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, including descriptions of what is or is not protected. Each Regents university will make student government organization access to and authority over any moneys disbursed contingent upon compliance with the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and with Code chapter 261H. If a student government organization violates provisions of the bill, the institution will suspend its authority to manage and disburse student fees for one year.

  • Civil Rights Act: The bill says “diversity and inclusion efforts must discourage students and prohibits employees of the school district or institution from discriminating against another by color, race, ethnicity, sex, or any other characteristic protected under the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 or applicable state law.”

  • Protections: The bill will be construed to violate the First Amendment rights of students or faculty, or undermine the institution’s or school district’s duty to protect intellectual freedom and free expression; prevent a school district or public postsecondary institution from promoting racial, cultural or ethnic diversity, or inclusiveness; prohibit discussing divisive concepts as part of a larger course of academic instruction; or create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the state of Iowa, its departments, agencies or entities, its officers, employees or agents, or any other person.

  • Journalism K12 Teacher Protections: Extends employment protections to teacher/advisors of student newspapers and yearbooks. Teachers will not lose their job, or their role as advisor for such publications based on the student free-speech content in said publications.
    [3/8: 33-14 (Yes: Republicans, Bisignano, Kinney, Lykam, Quirmbach)]

SF 546 — Home school instruction and driver’s education modifications

SF 546 relates to private instruction by parents, guardians and legal custodians, and to driver education provided by a teaching parent. Under the bill, competent private instruction and private instruction are merged.

While this change does not substantively expand home schooling or decrease reporting requirements for home schoolers, it also does not improve the current policy of not requiring notification and reporting for homeschooling students that many legislators have found concerning.

Drivers Education: The bill allows all homeschool parents to teach drivers education. 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 decreases certain time requirements for homeschool students, which will not be different from other students going through an approved driver’s education course.

Currently, an approved course administered by a teaching parent must consist of 30 hours of classroom time, which the bill eliminates. Currently, 40 hours of street or highway driving are required. of which four hours must be after sunset. The bill reduces that to 30 hours, of which three hours must be after sunset. The bill also eliminates the four hours required for substance abuse and railroad crossing safety (now just “instruction”), and adds that instruction must be provided on sharing the road with pedestrians.
[3/9: 28-17 (Excused: Hogg, Koelker, Nunn, Zumbach, Whiting)]