Dems: Education Committee Report – Week 9, 2018

March 7, 2018

SF 2131 – Allows home school students to enroll in Iowa Learning Online (ILO) courses;
SF 2171 – Praxis II one-year waiver;
SF 2318 – Requires awarding of high school credit for course completion;
SF 2361 – Required financial literacy, three- year degrees at Regent universities;
SF 2362 – Open education resources for higher education;
SF 2364 – School safety plans;
HF 2235 – Requires the statewide student assessment to be new Iowa Tests of Basic Skills. 



SF 2131 expands the Iowa Learning Online (ILO) initiative to allow a student receiving home schooling to participate and complete coursework under the initiative if the parent/guardian pays current market rate to the ILO for providing such instruction. The fee will be established by the Department of Education and is the same for public schools, private schools and home schools. Currently, only school districts and accredited nonpublic schools may partner with ILO to provide distance education to high school students. ILO is not a school. It is an initiative that partners with schools at their invitation to provide supplemental online course instruction. Upon successful completion of a course, ILO provides the school with the student’s percentage score. Grades and credit are awarded by the local school.

The House amended the bill to include an AEA working group to meet and identify ways students may access educational instruction and content online and submit a report to the Legislature by October 15, 2018. The working group is also tasked with identifying partnerships between existing providers of rigorous and high-quality online coursework. The Senate accepted the House amendment. The bill now goes down to the Governor.
[3/5: Final Passage 50-0]


SF 2171 requires the Board of Educational Examiners to waive for one year the requirement that either an out-of-state educated teacher or a graduate from an Iowa educator preparatory program achieve a certain score on the Praxis II, which is a mandated subject matter assessment. Currently, to graduate from an in-state teacher preparatory program or to receive an Iowa teaching license, one must take the Praxis II and score above the 25th percentile nationally. A committee amendment includes in-state prepared teachers, requires proof that the applicant has a job offer and requires proof that the school district or nonpublic school made a concerted effort to find a highly qualified teacher. By the end of the one-year waiver, a teacher must pass the content exam to be granted an Iowa teaching license.
[3/1: 46-3 (No: Dvorsky, Hogg, Taylor; Excused: Bertrand)]


SF 2362 establishes requirements for use and identification of open educational resources by postsecondary institutions. Iowa’s colleges must identify in each course catalog the courses that will use open educational resources, defined as materials used to support education that are in the public domain or are under an open license and that may be freely accessed, reused, modified or shared.
[3/7: 49-0 (Excused: Bertrand)]


SF 2318 requires the school district or accredited nonpublic school to award high school credit to any student at any grade level who satisfactorily completes a high school-level unit of instruction. School districts only have to award credit if the credit hours were taken within their district and taught by a certified teacher. A school district will have the authority to deny graduation credit for any course taken outside their school district.
[3/7: 47-2 (No: Dvorsky, Hogg)]


SF 2361 creates mandates on Iowa’s public universities and their students. First, public university students who graduate on or after July 1, 2019, must complete a financial literacy course prior to graduation. Second, public universities must provide every student an annual report listing the employment rate in the student’s field, average starting salary and average student debt upon graduation. Third, each university must provide a pathway to a baccalaureate degree in three academic years.
[3/7: 39-10 (No: Bolkcom, Danielson, Dotzler, Dvorsky, Hogg, D. Johnson, Petersen, McCoy, Quirmbach, Taylor; Excused: Bertrand)]


SF 2364 requires a school district to establish a security plan for individual school buildings. The plan must include responses to active shooter scenarios and natural disasters. An amendment clarifies the plans are not subject to open record requests; adds state accredited non-public schools; requires the plan to be reviewed and updated yearly; requires school officials and teachers (but not students) to conduct a drill of the plan at least once per school year; requires an alert to be sent to the employers of those regularly in the building but not school officials if an emergency occurs (these people will not know the plan, but in the case of contractors, construction workers, AEA officials or others, they will be altered not to report to the building); requires schools to consult with local emergency management coordinators; and requires schools to publish threat-reporting procedures for school officials, parents and guardians.
[3/6: 50-0]



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.
[3/7: 12-3 (No: Danielson, Hart, Quirmbach)]

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