Legislature Abdicated Standards to Iowa State Board of Education

I wrote last Friday at Truth In American Education that before the Iowa Department of Education can implement the Smarter, Balanced Assessments they must first gain approval from the Iowa Legislature.  Our code says that all that the Department can do is recommend assessments.  They can’t mandate school districts do it which would put a crimp in their plans heading into 2014.

That’s the good news.  The bad news is that in 2006 the Iowa Legislature gave the Iowa Department of Education authority to approve and align Iowa’s standards to “recognized” national and international standards.  This how the Department back in 2010 was able to jump on the Common Core State Standards bandwagon.

Iowa Code 256.7 subsection 26b says:

Continue the inclusive process begun during the initial development of a core curriculum for grades nine through twelve including stakeholder involvement, including but not limited to representatives from the private sector and the business community, and alignment of the core curriculum to other recognized sets of national and international standards. The state board shall also recommend quality assessments to school districts and accredited nonpublic schools to measure the core curriculum.

First off it’s bad enough that local school districts have lost the ability to weigh in on this subject, but it’s even worse considering an unelected board and educrats can do it without any type of feedback from us.

Secondly even get a bill passed like what we are seeing attempted in Indiana won’t help us in Iowa if we don’t take away the Iowa State Board of Education and the Department’s ability to do this.  Indiana’s bill looks good, but in Iowa we’ll need to make a few tweaks.

Here’s the Indiana language:

Indiana’s Anti-Common Core Bill

An Iowa bill would have to say something like, “the state board may not adopt as standards for the state or direct the department to implement any standards unless approved by the Legislature.”

About Shane Vander Hart

Shane Vander Hart founded Iowans for Local Control in 2012 which later merged with Iowa RestorEd. Shane also is the founder and editor-in-chief of Caffeinated Thoughts and the founder and president of 4:15 Communications, LLC, a social media & communications consulting/management firm.  You can connect with Shane on Facebook or follow him on Twitter and Google +.

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