Iowa Department of Education’s Legislative Agenda for 2014

iowa-state-capitol-domeThe Iowa Department of Education released its legislative agenda for the 2014 legislative session.  I could go on a rant about the fact that we the taxpayers are paying for their lobbyists to push an agenda that many of us don’t agree with.  Suffice to say I don’t believe any state department should have any lobbyists and the only time staffers should speak with legislators is when they are summoned to committee hearings for testimony – period.  Taxpayer-funded lobbyists are anathema.  If the legislature wants to do something useful this session (beyond restoring local control) it should ban them.

But I digress,  I do want to highlight a few of their priorities so that we are aware of what will be coming:

  • Improve accountability with a reliance on student achievement data to demonstrate results. (*Yay* more data)
  • Establish a permanent state funding stream to support competency-based measures in Iowa schools. (I’m not a fan of anything coming from the Department of Education deemed “permanent,” but I’d like to know more details)
  • Require all Iowa students to take at least one class online before graduation. (This needs to be killed.)
  • Establish intensive efforts for students based on ever improving data in this policy (reducing achievement gap) area (and more data).
  • All student assessments must align with the Iowa Core to accurately study what students know. (Wait a minute, I thought school districts could choose additional assessments if they so desire?  Why say all assessments must be aligned to the Iowa Core?)
  • All assessment choices should be available for potential use in this state, with testing choices being selected based on professional research and review, not legislative prohibitions. (This seems to me that they want a bill that shifts  oversight to the Iowa State Board of Education over what assessment is used, and it will probably include  adopting the Smarter Balanced Assessments – the Legislature should flatly reject this.)

You can read the entire document below.

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 +.


  1. Thanks for posting this. I hadn’t seen it yet, though I think I might have liked to see it first after the holidays. Happy Thanksgiving!

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