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.
HF2385 – Mandatory 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.
SSB3123 – Governor 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.
HF2085 – Alternative 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.