Government Affairs Update

As I write this, this year’s proposed bills have made it through the funnel in Des Moines. Now our legislators will discuss the bill in committee, revise them as needed and then votes will be cast to update or change laws that will influence your work. To keep up with these bills, check out Educate Iowa ( ). You will see a list of bills that have been filed, read them, and find out where each one is in the legislative process.

One bill to follow is HF2317. If passed, eliminates the requirement that school districts and private schools use statewide core curriculum standards adopted by the state board of education and instead authorizes the state board to establish a core curriculum that school districts and private schools may voluntarily utilize. Updating what is already in place, even it if may be currently used by school districts, would not be allowed.

Several bills are related to funding public education. It seems to me that the money allocated in these bills is restricted to certain uses. None of these relate directly to the teaching and learning of mathematics but will impact overall school budgeting and spending. I have not seen the Educational Savings Accounts addressed among the bills that survived the funnel. I do think they might be part of the state budget being worked on in Des Moines and have not had time to read it.

It is still difficult to determine what will happen federally regarding education due to many matters not being settled in Washington, DC. It is expected that the President’s budget for FY19 will include proposals to cut spending for the Department of Education, building on what started with FY18. Already in 2018, the House Education and the Workforce Committee approved a partisan Higher Education Authorization Act (HEA) reauthorization plan. Included in this plan are the following:

·         Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Title II-A State grants are to be eliminated

·         Teacher Quality Partnership grants are eliminated

·         School Leader Recruitment and Support programs are eliminated

·         The phase-out of Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. (Note that the TEACH grants are pulled out of this category and funded if there is enough money.)

·         Federal Work-Study program cut

·         Only short-term Pell grants are funded.

·         The elimination of the Regional Education Laboratories and statewide longitudinal data systems are eliminated.

·         Rural Education Achievement and Special Education Personnel Preparation Programs are funded at FY17 level.

This reauthorization of the HEA is not complete. There is currently a bipartisan effort to revise this before presenting it for a vote. The unclear future of ESSA, which has some support in Congress, appears to be creating a divide between Congress and the Department of Education and slowing down the collaboration needed for a bill reauthorizing HEA to be filed.

The information I share in the federal government updates is based on information I find at ( ). Updates are posted the beginning of each month, so check this to keep up on federal government related to education.

                                                                           —Catherine Miller

                                                                            ICTM Government Affairs Liaison