Common Core Related Bills Still Live in Iowa House

iowa-golden-dome.jpgThe Iowa House Education Committee is scheduled to meet today in Room 102 in the State Capitol Building at 4:00p.  I’ve not seen an agenda, but here are three bills related to assessments and standards that may come up.

  1. HF 446 – This is basically a shell bill right now, it really doesn’t say anything other than the legislature intends to address assessments this session for the “core academic indicators” in math and English for grades four, eight, and eleven, as well as, science for grades eight and eleven.  This is the Trojan Horse bill for the Smarter Balanced Assessment which has been discussed in committee.  Karen over at Education in Iowa has been covering the meetings.  I encourage you to go read her notes.  She served on the Assessment Task Force and voted no on Smarter Balanced so she has a unique perspective.
  2. HF 582 – Basically codifies Governor Branstad’s executive order he made in October of 2013.  A similar bill passed out of the House last year unanimously, but stalled in the Iowa Senate.  It’s not a repeal bill, no repeal bill ever made it out of committee, but it does slow down the adoption of future standards by the Iowa State Board of Education requiring a review process, public comment period, public hearings and a report made to the Legislature before new standards can be adopted and implemented. It also changes the name of the “Iowa Core Curriculum” to “Iowa Academic Standards” (let’s be clear here only the name has changed).  Also there is some student data protection language that doesn’t currently exist in Iowa law which is an improvement (not perfection).
  3. SF 431 – This bill directs the Iowa Department of Education to develop academic standards for fine arts.  While I would encourage local school districts to maintain their fine arts programs I do not see the point or purpose of the state dictating standards for what is really an extracurricular activity/optional course for students.
Also another bill to watch that passed out of the Iowa Senate Education Committee is SF 429.  It looks like a shell bill, but it strikes current language in the Iowa Code 2015 Section 1 256.7 Subsection 21, paragraph b, subparagraphs 2 and 3.  This is language that was added in 2013 related to the Assessment Task Force.  SSB 1239 which preceded SF 429 preserved language for Smarter Balanced, but SF 429 does not include it.  Watch for floor amendments.
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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