Legislative Update for 02/26/21

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Legislative Update for 02/26/21

Renee Jerman

One week until the first funnel, which is Friday, March 5! 

Subcommittee activity is increasing as we near that date. After the first funnel, I will provide an update on education-related bills that remain alive.

Subcommittee meetings held this week: 

HSB237 Free Speech - Requires school districts to protect the intellectual freedom of the school district’s students and practitioners and to establish and publicize policies that protect students and faculty from discrimination based on speech. 

HF105 Open Enrollment Transportation - Eliminates the requirement that the receiving and sending school districts must mutually agree on an arrangement for transportation of a student participating in open enrollment before the receiving district can send a school vehicle to pick up the student. 

HF400 Substitute Teachers - Allows a person with an Associate of Arts degree or the completion of not more than 60 undergraduate credit hours of college to be a substitute teacher in prekindergarten through twelfth grade for no more than 10 consecutive teaching days in one job assignment.  

HF420 American Culture Curriculum -  Encourages public and nonpublic schools to incorporate American culture into their curricula. American culture includes music, the founding fathers, and art and architecture. 

HF465 Mandatory School Age - Raises the compulsory attendance age from 16 to 18. 

SSB1192 Online Learning - Prohibits a school district or accredited nonpublic school from offering online learning or continuous remote learning unless they meet the requirements of Iowa Code section 256.7(32) or section 256.11(17), as appropriate, or are offering the online learning or continuous remote learning in accordance with a proclamation of public health disaster emergency from the Governor. Establishes that a school district or accredited nonpublic school can use an online learning platform to deliver regular school day coursework for up to five days when inclement weather causes the schools to close. 

SSB1205 School First Amendment Rights - Contains various provisions establishing training, prohibitions, and requirements for school districts and public postsecondary educational institutions in the attempt to protect the first amendment rights of students, staff, and faculty. Prohibits schools and institutions from providing training that contains “divisive concepts” and defines that term. 

SSB1213 Education Violations - Adds an additional ground of removal for local school board members, if the member violates Title VII or any other provision of Iowa law concerning the operation of a school district. Additionally, the bill provides that if a school district provides instruction in violation of Senate File 160 or provides instruction through remote learning without a proper waiver from the Department, that behavior would be grounds for misconduct for the purposes of a complaint filed against a superintendent. Superintendents can now also be removed if they intentionally violate Title VII or another provision of Iowa law governing the operation of a school district.

SSB1219 Homeschooling Matters - Changes assessment and reporting deadlines for competent private instruction. Changes the definition of competent private instruction to include private instruction by a parent, guardian, or legal custodian. Eliminates or reduces various requirements for drivers education courses administered by parents, making them easier to complete. 

SF328 Occupational Therapists and Concussions - Adds occupational therapists to the definition of “licensed health care provider.” Duties of such licensed health care providers include making determinations regarding the removal of students from participation in activities and their return to participation.

SF430 English Proficiency Weighting - Divides students with limited English proficiency into intensive and intermediate categories. “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 being proficient under the state’s English language proficiency standards. Increases the supplementary weighting for both categories (to 0.3 and 0.25 respectively). 

Subcommittee meetings scheduled for next week:

HSB242 Charter School Programs - Establishes a new charter school program that allows for a founding group – defined as a person, a group of persons, or an education service provider – to apply to the State Board of Education to establish a charter school. 

HSB243 Student First Scholarship - Creates a scholarship program for students which it refers to as “student first scholarships” for those who attend, or will be entering into kindergarten, at a school identified as needing comprehensive support and improvement. Requires an application process, establishes a state fund, outlines management provisions, provides procedures for parents to appeal, dictates what should be done if scholarships are awarded improperly, and specifies how to categorize the scholarship for tax purposes. 

HF564 Return-to-Learn for Brain Injuries - Requires return-to-learn plans for a student removed from participation in an extracurricular interscholastic activity and diagnosed with a concussion or brain injury to be developed for students in grades seven through twelve based on protocols supported by guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the United States Department of Health and Human Services. The board of directors of each school district and accredited nonpublic school shall provide the parent or guardian of each student in grades kindergarten through twelve the return-to-learn protocols.

SF452 Learning Recovery Taskforce - Establishes a learning recovery task force to evaluate the degree and types of learning losses students enrolled in prekindergarten through grade twelve experienced due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Requires the task force to submit its findings and recommendations, including recommendations for legislation or rulemaking, as necessary, in a report to the general assembly by December 30, 2021.

Until next week, have a great weekend! 

Renee Jerman
Legislative Liaison
Iowa Department of Education
Grimes State Office Building
400 E 14th St
Des Moines, IA 50319-0146
Cell: 515-729-0859
Office: 515-281-3399