IAA Policy Update
February 2022
During the state legislative session, the Iowa Afterschool Alliance provides policy updates. These newsletters include what's going on at the state and federal levels, as well as actions you can take to advocate for afterschool!
State Policy Update
Here is activity to be aware of in the Iowa Legislature that relates to afterschool policy concerns:

  • SF2358 – Achievement Gap Study: This bill directs the Iowa Department of Education to study the achievement gap and disparities in academic performance between racial or ethnic groups of students in K-12. Findings and recommendations are to be reported in 2022.
  • HF2385Mandatory Reporter Changes: This bill directs mandatory reporters of child abuse and sexual exploitation need to file a report (previously the law said they “may” report, this bill introduces they “shall” or must). It expands the definition of a “school employee” to include volunteer or contracted services for a school district in addition to those who are employees. The criminal penalties of committing these acts are also outlined.
  • SSB3123Governor Regulatory Bill: Within the comprehensive bill is an advisement to the Iowa Department of Education requiring school boards to report annually on student participation in work-based learning programs. It also requires the BEE to develop certification for work-based learning supervisors, and for student education plans to identify work-based learning opportunities in high school that will help the student in college.
  • HF2085Alternative Teaching License: This bill allows for temporary licensing for applicants who complete an alternative teacher certification process, issued by the board of educational examiners. Applicants must be 26 years old, hold a bachelor’s degree, and complete an alternative teacher certification program; they must also complete a one-year clinical experience during the individual’s first year in the classroom as an employed full-time teacher. Additional restrictions and requirements are outlined.

The first funnel week closed on Feb. 18 and the above bills are continuing; however, there are a number of exceptions to the funnel including tax-related and spending bills that can be proposed at any time throughout the session. Afterschool policies relate to education, childcare, workforce, budget and appropriations, and other issue areas. The Iowa Afterschool Alliance will continue to monitor legislation on the state level.
Federal Policy Update
Here is activity to be aware of in the U.S. Congress that relate to afterschool policy concerns:

  • Supporting STEM Learning Opportunities Act: A new bill has been introduced in both the House and the Senate to provide grants to nonprofits providing afterschool hands-on STEM learning (other extracurricular activities like robotics competitions also included). This policy prioritizes students receiving STEM education from traditionally underrepresented groups, like women and communities of color. Anticipated changes include expanding eligibility with the guidance of the national Afterschool Alliance. View bill.
  • Waiver Authority for Nutrition Programs: The waiver authority granted in March of 2020 allowing meals to be provided by community groups to students and families in need will expire in June. The national Afterschool Alliance joins a broad coalition of education and anti-hunger groups seeking for the waiver authority to be permanently the decision of the Secretary of Agriculture instead of U.S. Congress, supported by the USDA. This policy if widely favored and is being actively promoted to ensure it can be completed before the deadline. More information to come.
  • COVID Relief Funding: Leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives called for President Joe Biden to reinvest in the depleted funds provided by the American Rescue Plan or resurrect unpassed legislation from last year such as Work Now Act, which would support nonprofits such as afterschool programs among the many beneficiaries. More and multiple forms of comprehensive COVID relief funding are expected to be introduced, although unclear at this time. More information to come.
  • Senate Hearing on Youth Mental Health: Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy spoke during a recent Senate hearing focused on the state of youth mental health; he discussed advisories and the importance of community engagement for emotional wellbeing and health. Murthy also called for further understanding of the effect of technology and social media on youth development. Watch here.

Funding to support afterschool is a top priority. The Iowa Afterschool Alliance works closely with the Iowa Department of Education to secure and administer funds, most often granted on a federal level and dispensed through the state. More federal updates will be shared in this newsletter with the assistance of the national Afterschool Alliance. 
Iowa Afterschool Alliance Action Center
You can take action and make a difference. Legislators want to know the local and state impact of afterschool. Showcase your program and community!

Contact Your Iowa Legislators
Click here to find your legislator. You can search by address, city, school district, county, or zip code.

To find bios, contact information, and photos of all the legislators, go to the Legislators page on the Iowa Legislature website. Select either "Senators" or "Representatives" on the left-side menu to see a complete list of all members, including links to their information page and district map. 

For a complete list of Senate and House committees and members, click here.
For a full list of Senate and House leadership, click here.