Category Archives: 85th GA

Smarter Balanced Assessments 26 [updated]

Tech readiness: what do we know about Iowa’s readiness for statewide computer-adaptive testing and does it matter?

There is not much information being made publicly available about Iowa’s tech readiness for statewide administration of computer-adaptive testing. Whether the lack of publicly available information is due to failure to collect the information, a failure of transparency, or some of each is not clear. If anyone can provide answers or more details, comments, as always, are welcome.

One reason information on tech readiness matters is that switching over to statewide, online assessments is a huge undertaking. Wyoming’s experience in 2010 ought to be keeping Iowa proponents of Smarter Balanced Assessments up at night. The short version: online testing went so poorly that the state superintendent of education was voted out of office, the vendor (Pearson) was sued, and the state returned to paper-and-pencil tests.

Other stories of problems with online testing aren’t hard to find. See “Minn. Computer Crash Halts State Math Test” or “Online Testing Suffers Setbacks in Multiple States” (detailing problems with online testing in Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, and Oklahoma).

Conversely, Virginia apparently had few problems moving to online testing after spending 650 million dollars and taking six-years to roll it out. [Note that we are now less than one year out from the promised statewide use of the Smarter Balanced Assessments in Iowa.]

Planning for tech readiness obviously requires information about what you have now and what will be required for successful administration of the tests. To that end, PARCC and Smarter Balanced Assessments put together a Tech Readiness Tool to collect information on device indicators (meeting minimum or recommended requirements for testing), device to test-taker indicators, network indicators, and staff and personnel indicators to assist in planning for technology upgrades, test scheduling, and training for test administrators and tech support staff. In addition, SBAC offers a tech readiness calculator to help schools determine how many days of testing they will need to plan for given the number of students, computers, hours of computer availability, and bandwidth.

After completing a tech readiness assessment, Oklahoma determined they could not adequately prepare and chose to opt out of PARCC exams.

If Iowa has used the SBAC Tech Readiness Tool, that information and the results have not been made public.

Iowa is making public efforts focused on improving bandwidth capacity throughout the state. See comments by Director Brad Buck starting at 29:33 on #IAedchat on March 23rd (video below–other comments on Smarter Balanced Assessment field tests and the work of the Assessment Task Force start at 24:21–note also comments from Director Buck that he is unaware of efforts to determine whether Iowa schools have enough computers for testing).

Iowa conducted a SchoolSpeedTest earlier this year to gather information to “plan for future increases in access and support our planning for the next-generation assessments to be launched in 2014-15.”

The Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council is also working on this issue and two broadband bills were filed this session (HF 2329 “Connect Every Iowan Act” and SF 2324 “Statewide Broadband Expansion Act“). While both of these bills still appear to be in committee (House Ways and Means and Senate Appropriations, respectively), I believe bills in either of these committees are not subject to funnel deadlines and could still be taken up this session. However, it seems unlikely that major infrastructure upgrades, if needed to improve access and capacity, would all be completed prior to next March (more on this later).

Of course, tech readiness is more complicated than just bandwidth. Schools must have enough computers, meeting minimum or recommended requirements, to test students during the testing window and schools must have adequate wiring to run all those computers (see “rural district decided to charge all its wheeled carts of laptop computers overnight, overloading the electrical circuits and shutting off heat in all its buildings.“) In addition, as noted in the stories linked above, vendor server capacity matters on the one end of the connection, and district server/network capacity matters on the other end of the connection. The following illustration is courtesy of AEA 267:

Bandwidth Factors

The 2013 Condition of Education Report (p. 109) shows the following information for bandwidth available in Iowa schools in 2012-13:

Bandwidth 1213

The STEM Advisory Council is recommending a short term goal of .5Mb per student, with a long term goal of 1 Mb per student. Iowa schools appear to be falling well short of these goals–150 schools have 10 Mb or less of bandwidth, with seven having no access to the internet at all–but if we look at bandwidth requirements for streaming video (again courtesy of AEA 267), it is easy to understand the STEM Advisory Council recommendations.

Bandwidth Video

For schools with low bandwidth capacity, instructional use of the internet will have to be limited or eliminated during testing. Of course, for schools working with limited hardware, instructional use of computers might have to be limited or eliminated during testing anyway.

Why else does it matter?

We have already seen pushback on the Common Core in Iowa. Imagine how popular it will be if there are major problems with the Common Core assessment rollout. A high profile, comprehensive tech readiness plan might be reassuring (see New Hampshire’s website, for example) and minimize the likelihood of major problems occuring.

In addition, the DE can’t ask the Iowa Legislature to appropriate funds for tech readiness if they don’t know what is needed, leaving schools to fund needed tech readiness upgrades out of existing school budgets that are already stretched thin. This might be much less of a concern for schools ahead of the curve tech wise, but ought to be a concern nonetheless. Diverting local funds from the classroom or needed facility maintenance or upgrades will hardly make the Common Core and the accompanying standardized assessments more popular.

A paper-and-pencil option will be offered until 2016-17 for school not currently tech ready, but this option raises comparability and equity issues.

“With an adaptive test, you see right away what questions a kid needs,” said Lauress L. Wise, a principal scientist with the Monterey, Calif.-based Human Resources Research Organization, which has performed quality assurance and evaluation on testing systems such as the National Assessment of Educational Progress. “With paper and pencil, you’d have to offer a lot more questions—a longer test—to make it comparable to that. If you can’t do that, you won’t be measuring the end points [of achievement] as well.”

[SBAC executive director Joe] Willhoft acknowledged that the paper version of the Smarter Balanced test will be “less precise, with a larger measurement error” at those points in the spectrum.

These assessments will be used to compare Iowa schools to each other, with high stakes attached to the outcomes. As a matter of basic fairness, all Iowa students should be taking these assessments under essentially the same conditions.

Update: How much variability in testing conditions can occur before it affects the validity and reliability of the results? Rick Hess asks three questions in this regard that he says haven’t been answered:

How will we compare the results of students who take the assessment using a variety of different devices?  There will be variability in screen sizes, keyboards, and potentially in the visual display. Some students will be using certain kinds of devices for the first time. And many states will be administering tests to some number of students using paper and pencil in 2015, and likely beyond. What do we know about how to account for all this variation in order to produce valid, reliable results?

While there are always questions about consistency of testing conditions, these get super-sized when the stakes climb and variation is non-random.  Well, limited access to the required devices means that all the usual questions get accentuated.  How will PARCC and SBAC account for vastly different testing conditions?  Depending on testing infrastructure, some schools will be able to assess students in their regular classroom while other schools will have to shuffle students around the building, to schools across town, or to independent testing centers.  How much does this matter?  What do we know about how to track and then account for the impact of such factors on outcomes?

How will we account for the fact that we’re apparently looking at testing windows that will stretch over four or more weeks?  Students in schools which administer the test towards the end of the testing window will have had a lot more instructional time than students in schools which test at the beginning.   The variation could be 10 percent of the instructional year, or more.  How is this going to be tracked and accounted for when comparing teachers, schools, programs, and vendors?

Field test side note: SBAC has released estimated times to complete the assessments based on pilot testing, with the caveat that the tests are not timed, so students may take more or less time to complete them. Smarter Balanced Assessments cover just mathematics and English language arts, so the time to administer the science assessments required by Iowa law would be in addition to these estimated times:

SBAC estimated times

Legislative Update 3/18 [updated]

Update: Huffington Post reports that twenty high school students were suspended for retweeting gossip about a high school teacher. Is this where we are headed in Iowa? Do we want students to lose days of instructional time as punishment for off-campus speech? What other tweets about teachers or administrators could be punished under a policy like this?

Last Friday was the second funnel deadline. The House Democrats and House Republicans have produced two slightly different lists of education bills that survived the second funnel.

Both of the anti-bullying bills, HF 2409 and SF 2318, survived the funnel.

SF 2318, as amended by S-5060 [adopted by voice vote] and S-5073 [adopted by voice vote], passed [26-19] in the Senate today. S-5060, described during debate as “largely technical,” made a number of changes, including changing the requirement that training be incorporated into individual teacher and administrator professional development plans to school district or attendance center professional development plans, changing “research-based” to “research- and outcome-based”, and changing “safety and security” to strike “and security”. S-5060 also removed the 3.0 additional F.T.E. in the DE and grants the DE emergency rule-making authority to implement the new sections 256.100 Office of support and analysis for safe schools and 256.101 School climate improvement grant program. S-5073 creates an exemption to the varsity interscholastic athletic contest and competition ineligibility for students open enrolling into another district during the first ninety days of enrollment if the resident district determines that the student was subject to a founded incident of bullying or harassment as defined in 280.28 while attending school in the resident district.

Three other attempts to amend the bill failed. S-5074 [22-25] on quick inspection appears to be a strike and replace amendment to insert the language of the House bill. S-5075 and S-5076 [both ruled out of order] would have added training on free speech to training requirements. These two amendments were determined to be “unduly broad.”

Video of the Senate debate on Monday and Tuesday of this bill is available at the Iowa Legislature website.

Lobbyists for StudentsFirst and the Urban Education Network of Iowa are registered for the Senate bill, ACLU-IA is registered against (read about their concerns here), with ISEA, IASB, SAI, DE, and the AEAs registered as undecided.

The debate isn’t overly long, and had some interesting moments.

One concern with anti-bullying bills is that the definition of bullying can become overly broad. Consider the apparent definition of cyberbullying or online bullying from an article in today’s Globe and Mail, Teachers are low on the list students turn to when cyberbullied (H/T @SheilaSpeaking): “said or done something mean or cruel to someone online” or “that someone has said or done something mean or cruel to them online that made them feel badly.”

Sen. Hogg (D-Linn) recognized this over-broadness issue at one point, stating “lots of bad behavior isn’t bullying or harassment.” Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a recognition that some bad behavior–mean, hurtful, or offensive speech–may, nonetheless, be constitutionally-protected. This is particularly concerning with regard to the expansion of school authority off school grounds; there are some permissible limitations on student speech at school, but it doesn’t follow that those same limitations can properly be placed on student speech away from school.

It is nice to think that everyone understands and respects the First Amendment implications and limitations in policing speech, but discussion around a local school board’s proposed public comment policy (see, for example, Chris’s post here) suggests this isn’t the case.

In arguing against an amendment that would have made investigation of alleged incidents of bullying or harassment occurring off school grounds discretionary, Sen. Hogg argued that granting immunity for failure to act created the wrong incentive, and stated something along the lines that the bill is giving them the tools, and expects them to act.

Missing from the debate were concerns that the bill might encourage school surveillance of student social media use or recognition that students can take steps–without school administrator involvement–to protect themselves on social media (see, for example, Twitter’s online abuse page and suggestions for helping targets of online abuse). In addition, schools can educate students about bullying issues and prevention without having expanded authority to investigate and discipline students for off-campus incidents.

Interestingly, as Iowa moves to make the DE and schools primarily responsible for bullying prevention and response efforts, the Globe and Mail reports that:

[The study] found that teachers are far down the list of people that students consider turning to for help when faced with online harassment. Parents come first, followed by other trusted adults and friends. In some cases, students said they would rather talk face to face with their own bullies, or simply ignore the problem and hope it resolves itself, than ask teachers to get involved. The researchers believe that highly punitive school policies are a factor.

Legislative Update 3/5

A few more education bills were debated in the Iowa House today:

HF 2388 (successor to HSB 654), as amended by H-8075 [adopted by voice vote], passed [99-0] by Committee on Education relating to continuity of learning for children receiving foster care services. H-8075 primarily changed a requirement that the AEAs employ a child welfare liaison to encouragement that they employ a child welfare liaison, and changed a reference to a two point on a four point scaled to a passing grade.

HF 2389 (successor to HSB 659) passed [99-0] by Committee on Education relating to misconduct under the code of professional conduct and ethics of the BOEE. This bill prohibits BOEE licensees from engaging in sexual conduct or romantic relationships with any individual who was a student within ninety days, if the licensee taught or supervised the individual in any school activity when the individual was a student.

Legislative Update 3/4

A few education bills were debated in the Iowa Legislature today.

In the Senate:

SF 2286 passed [42-7] (successor to SSB 3048) by Committee on Education establishing a fine arts standards task force to review and make recommendations relating to the inclusion of dine arts in the statewide K-12 academic standards. [Note that SSB 3048 would have made music, visual art, drama and theater, and other fine and applied arts part of the core curriculum.]

SF 2262, as amended by S-5039 [adopted by voice vote] and S-5043 [adopted by voice vote], passed [35-14] by Committee on Education relating to radon testing in public schools. S-5039 struck radon mitigation requirements. S-5043 requires radon testing results be reported to the department of public health rather than the department of education.

In the House:

SF 2230 passed [98-0] by Salmon relating to technical corrections (initially proposed by the DE). Related bill HF 2179 withdrawn.

SF 2056, as amended by H-8062 [adopted by voice vote], passed [99-0] by Dolecheck relating to incentives for whole grade sharing and reorganization or dissolution by school districts. Related bill HF 2272 withdrawn.

Several more education bills are on the House tentative debate calendar:

HF 2388 (successor to HSB 654) relating to continuity of learning for children receiving foster care services.

HF 2389 (successor to HSB 659) relating to misconduct under the code of professional conduct and ethics of the BOEE.

HF 2409 (successor to HSB 525) the “Bully Free Iowa Act of 2014”.

Bully Free Iowa 2

The Senate Committee on Education antibullying bill has been renumbered as SF 2318 and assigned to an Appropriations subcommittee of Hogg (D-Linn), Dvorsky (D-Johnson), and Ernst (R-Montgomery). The Senate bill is substantially the same except for changing the name of the new office in the DE to the office of support and analysis for safe schools and reallocating the appropriations as $250,000 to the new office and $750,000 to the school climate improvement grant program.

The “Bully Free Iowa Act of 2014” has been renumbered as HF 2409. HF 2409 varies from HSB 525, and proposes these additional changes to Iowa Code:

  • 256.7(34) directing the state board adopt rules incorporating the training required by 272.2(19) into the standards for individual teacher and administrator professional development plans. [Same as the Senate bill.]
  • 256.100 directs the department to coordinate and implement the state’s efforts to prevent and respond to harassment and bullying [similar to the Senate bill though stops short of establishing an office of support and analysis for safe schools (formerly called the office of harassment and bullying prevention and response in SSB 3149), does not include the school climate improvement grant program administration, or require the department to coordinate or collaborate with IDPH on the your life Iowa initiative or administration of the Iowa youth survey.]
  • 272.2(19) changes the training requirement to completing training on harassment and bullying prevention and response (while removing the requirement that the training be provided at no cost to the trainee). Requiring the adoption of rules requiring training for individuals applying for or renewing an administrator license.
  • Removing the change to 280.28(2)(c) defining trait or characteristic of the student and amending the definition of harassment and bullying to include acts or conduct based on any actual or perceived trait or characteristic of the student or for any other reason.
  • 280.28(3)(i) adding a procedure for documenting actions taken by the school to investigate and respond to harassment or bullying. [Same as Senate bill 280.28(3)(h).]
  • 280.28(7) [Same changes as the Senate bill regarding reporting requirements.]
  • 280.28 (10) rulemaking authority. [Same as 280.28(11) of the Senate bill.]

Eight amendments to this bill have been filed.

H-8040 by Alons (R-Sioux), Fry (R-Clarke), Sheets (R-Appanoose), Fisher (R-Tama), Shaw (R-Pocahontas), Salmon (R-Black Hawk), Gassman (R-Winnebago), Schultz (R-Crawford), Rogers (R-Black Hawk), Watts (R-Dallas), and Heartsill (R-Marion) allowing school districts to display the motto “in God we trust” in every school building in the school district.

H-8050 by Alons (R-Sioux), Salmon (R-Black Hawk), Watts (R-Dallas), Fisher (R-Tama), Sheets (R-Appanoose), Heartsill (R-Marion), Schultz (R-Crawford), Gassman (R-Winnebago), Shaw (R-Pocahontas), and Maxwell (R-Poweshiek) striking the training notification, providing the state board of education access to analyze responses to the Iowa youth survey conducted by the IDPH, striking references to accredited nonpublic schools, and adding new 280.28(11) that this section does not apply to nonpublic schools or private instruction as defined in 299A.1 (competent and independent private instruction).

H-8051 by Schultz (R-Crawford), Salmon (R-Black Hawk), Alons (R-Sioux), Heartsill (R-Marion), Sheets (R-Appanoose), Fisher (R-Tama), Watts (R-Dallas), Gassman (R-Winnebago), Shaw (R-Pocahontas), and Maxwell (R-Poweshiek) making training requirements conditional on the availability of training at no charge to trainees, schools, or school districts.

H-8052 by Gassman (R-Winnebago), Salmon (R-Black Hawk), Alons (R-Sioux), Schultz (R-Crawford), Sheets (R-Appanoose), Heartsill (R-Marion), Watts (R-Dallas), Fisher (R-Tama), Shaw (R-Pocahontas), and Maxwell (R-Poweshiek) completely rewriting the portion of the definition of harassment and bullying that requires one or more of the following conditions to be met:

  • (1) Is lewd, indecent, or obscene.
  • (2) Is a severe, persistent, or pervasive use of threatening acts, words, or conduct that objectively inflicts injury on the student.
  • (3) Is intended to threaten imminent physical harm to the student.
  • (4) Is intended to incite an immediate breach of the peace.
  • (5) Causes a substantial and material disruption of the school environment.

H-8053 by Alons (R-Sioux), Salmon (R-Black Hawk), Watts (R-Dallas), Sheets (R-Appanoose), Heartsill (R-Marion), Schultz (R-Crawford), Gassman (R-Winnebago), Fisher (R-Tama), Shaw (R-Pocahontas), and Maxwell (R-Poweshiek) striking the requirement that data be reported to the department and the local community.

H-8054 by Watts (R-Dallas), Salmon (R-Black Hawk), Alons (R-Sioux), Fisher (R-Tama), Heartsill (R-Marion), Sheets (R-Appanoose), Gassman (R-Winnebago), Schultz (R-Crawford), Shaw (R-Pocahontas), and Maxwell (R-Poweshiek) striking the new subsection regarding authority off school grounds.

H-8055 by Sheets (R-Appanoose), Salmon (R-Black Hawk), Alons (R-Sioux), Heartsill (R-Marion), Watts (R-Dallas), Fisher (R-Tama), Gassman (R-Winnebago), Schultz (R-Crawford), Shaw (R-Pocahontas), and Maxwell (R-Poweshiek) adding new subsection 280.28(11) Rule of construction. this section shall not be construed to permit the restraint of or discipline for speech addressing legitimate matters of public concern, including speech that is an expression of a religious belief, philosophical belief, or political belief, or other categories of expression protected by the United States and Iowa Constitutions.

H-8056 by Salmon (R-Black Hawk), Alons (R-Sioux), Watts (R-Dallas), Fisher (R-Tama), Sheets (R-Appanoose), Heartsill (R-Marion), Schultz (R-Crawford), Gassman (R-Winnebago), Shaw (R-Pocahontas), and Maxwell (R-Poweshiek) amending subsection 280.28(5) to extend immunity from criminal or civil liability to school employees who choose not to investigate or take further action regarding a report of an alleged incident of harassment or bullying that occurred off school grounds or away from school functions or school-sponsored activities.

Bully Free Iowa

Bullying remains a hot topic again this year at the Iowa Legislature, with bills surviving the funnel deadline in both the House and the Senate.

School district harassment and bullying policies are covered by Iowa Code 280.28 Harassment and bullying prohibited–policy–immunity.

HSB 525 is the “Bully Free Iowa Act of 2014” proposed by Governor Branstad. The bill is only four pages long and proposes the following changes to the Iowa Code:

  • 256.7(33) directing the state board of education to adopt rules for annual notification to all school districts and accredited nonpublic schools of the availability of training meeting the requirements of proposed new subsection 272.2(19) relating to bullying prevention, suicide prevention, and the BOEE’s code of professional conduct and ethics.
  • 272.2(19) directing the BOEE to adopt rules requiring all individuals applying for or renewing a license, certificate, authorization, or statement of recognition issued by the BOEE to completed training relating to bullying prevention, suicide prevention, and the BOEE’s code of professional conduct and ethics, to the extent that training is made available by the state at no charge to the trainee.
  • 280.28(2)(a) amending “electronic” to include social networking sites, and any other electronic communication site, device, or means.
  • 280.28(2)(c) amending “trait or characteristic of the student” to include behavior, friendship or relationship with others, or any distinguishing characteristic. This paragraph shall be construed broadly to achieve the purposes of this section.
  • 280.28(3)(h) to require school district policies to include a procedure for prompt notification of the parents or guardians of all students directly involved in a reported incident of harassment or bullying.
  • 280.28(9) permitting school officials to investigate and impose school discipline for alleged incidents of harassment or bullying that occurs outside of school grounds, off of school property, or away from a school function or school-sponsored activity if: 1) a parent, guardian, student, school employee, or volunteer reports the incident pursuant to the school’s harassment and bullying policy and 2) the alleged incident of harassment or bullying has an effect on school grounds that creates an objectively hostile school environment meeting one or more of the conditions set out in 280.28(2)(b).

The Governor’s Office, BOEE, DE, UEN, IDPH, Iowa Psychological Association, Iowa Alliance of Boys and Girls Club, Iowa State Sheriffs’ and Deputies Association, and StudentsFirst are registered for this bill; Concerned Women for America of Iowa and ACLU-IA are registered against. School Administrators of Iowa registered as undecided with a comment explaining concerns.

SSB 3149 is the proposed Senate Committee on Education bill. This bill is thirteen pages long and proposes the following changes to the Iowa Code:

  • adding definitions of harassment and bullying to section 256.2 and 272.1 that are the same as the definition of those terms in 280.28.
  • 256.7(33) directing the state board adopt rules incorporating the training required by 272.2(19) into the standards for individual teacher and administrator professional development plans.
  • 256.9(65) directing the director of the department of education to file an annual report on harassment and bullying in Iowa schools to the Iowa Legislature as well as publishing the report on the department website.
  • 256.100 establishing an office of harassment and bullying prevention and response in the department of education to coordinate and implement the state’s efforts to prevent and respond to harassment and bullying. The office shall employ a harassment and bullying investigation specialist, provide assistance to schools, administer the school climate improvement grant program, analyze data, and coordinate with IDPH on the Your Life Iowa initiative. The bill includes a $500,000 appropriation for various purposes including funding not more that 3.0 full-time equivalent positions.
  • 256.101 establishing a school climate improvement grant program. Grant money may be used to fund school programs or activities including staff training, assessment of compliance with 280.28, conflict resolution or dispute management including restorative justice strategies, peer helpers or peer mediation programs, school-wide positive behavior support, school-based diversion programs, classroom management, and research-based violence prevention programs. The bill includes a $500,000 appropriation to fund the grant program.
  • 272.2(19) directing the BOEE to adopt rules requiring all individuals applying for or renewing a license, certificate, authorization, or statement of recognition by the BOEE who have direct and consistent contact with students to complete training approved by the office of harassment and bullying prevention and response. [Note the wording on who is required is slightly different that in HSB 525.] The BOEE is also directed to adopt training rules for individuals responsible for conducting investigations and for administrators. [Also different from HSB 525.]
  • 280.28(2)(a) amending “electronic” to include social networking sites and applications. [Note this is different that language in HSB 525 and does not make any change to 280.28(2)(c) “trait or characteristic of the student.”]
  • 280.28(3)(h) requiring a procedure for documenting actions taken by the school to investigate and respond to harassment or bullying.
  • 280.28(7) making changes to reporting requirements to the department and the local community to include data collected under 280.28(6), the process used for filing complaints, and antiharassment and antibullying training completed by school employees, volunteers, and students.
  • 280.28(9) establishing a more detailed parental notification procedure for incidents of harassment and bullying than the one included in HSB 525.
  • 280.28(10) permitting school officials to investigate and impose school discipline for alleged incidents of harassment or bullying that occurs outside of school grounds, off of school property, or away from a school function or school-sponsored activity if the alleged incident of harassment or bullying has an effect on school grounds that creates an objectively hostile school environment meeting one or more of the conditions set out in 280.28(2)(b). [Note the absence of language requiring certain persons to have reported the alleged incident before the school officials may take action as in HSB 525.]
  • 280.28(11) granting rule-making authority to the department of education.

UEN and StudentsFirst are registered for this bill. Interestingly, ACLU-IA is currently registered as undecided on this bill, though I can’t see that it is substantially different from HSB 525 with regard to First Amendment concerns.

Links that may be of interest:

From this blog: Harassment and bullying legislation raises First Amendment issues and concerns about overly-broad definitions of bullying.

Joanne Jacobs on school district surveillance of student out-of-school social media use and zero tolerance policies discouraging other students from intervening to stop bullying or assaults.

Out in Left Field on various ways schools may inadvertently encourage bullying and strategies to reduce bullying.

A Blog About School on overly-broad definitions of bullying and bullying prevention programs.

Legislative Update 2/22

Yesterday was the first funnel date of the 2014 session of the Iowa Legislature.

The Iowa Legislature has a good website, though it seems not to be completely up to date. I have compiled the following lists of funnel date survivors by looking at education committee meeting agendas and the House and Senate Journals.

Bills reported out of the Iowa House education committee:

  • HF 2119 relating to certain costs under the statewide preschool program for four-year-old children. Recommendation: amend and do pass.
  • HF 2170 (formerly HSB 559) relating to school instructional time. Recommendation: do pass. Passed the House [97-0], messaged to Senate and attached to similar bill SF 2018.
  • HF 2179 (successor to HSB 561) DE technical corrections bill. Recommendation: do pass. Related to SF 2230.
  • HF 2180 (formerly HSB 562) relating to transitional coaching authorizations issued by the BOEE. Recommendation: amend and do pass. One amendment filed and adopted: H-8010. Passed the House [98-0], messaged to Senate.
  • HF 2193 (successor to HSB 556) providing for the establishment of an Iowa middle school extended learning time pilot project grant program. Recommendation: amend and do pass. Related to SF 2229.
  • HF 2194 (successor to HSB 607) relating to making changes to required dates to establish state percent growth in education funding. Recommendation: do pass. Passed the House [54-43], messaged to Senate.
  • HF 2224 (successor to HSB 615) requiring reporting on certain educational credits awarded to veterans. Recommendation: do pass.
  • HF 2252 (successor to HSB 553) relating to standards for educational and instructional models, programs, and supplementary weighting for students identified as limited English proficient. Recommendation: do pass. Related to SSB 3030.
  • HF 2269 (successor to HSB 560) relating to the administrator quality program and to a coaching and support system for school district administrators. Recommendation: amend and do pass. Related to SSB 3029.
  • HF 2271 (successor to HF 2103) relating to supplementary weighting for shared operational functions of school districts. Recommendation: amend and do pass.
  • HF 2272 (successor to HSB 558) relating to incentives for whole grade sharing and reorganization or dissolution by school districts. Recommendation: amend and do pass. Related to SSB 3046.
  • HF 2311 (successor to HSB 619) relating to the duties and authority of the college student aid commission. Recommendation: do pass. Related to SF 2124.
  • HF 2334 (successor to HSB 555) relating to professional development services for elementary teachers to improve students’ literacy skills. Recommendation: amend and do pass. Related to SSB 3031.
  • HF 2360 (successor to HF 559) establishing a transportation cost supplement program. Recommendation: amend and do pass.
  • HSB 525 Governor Branstad’s Bully Free Iowa Act of 2014. Recommendation: amend and do pass.
  • HSB 592 relating to core content standards, assessments, curricula relating to student academic progress, and to the collection of and access to student data. Recommendation: amend and do pass.
  • HSB 611 permitting schools to stock, administer, and provide epinephrine. Recommendation: amend and do pass.
  • HSB 654 relating to continuity of learning for children receiving foster care services. Recommendation: do pass.
  • HSB 569 relating to misconduct under the code of professional conduct and ethics of the BOEE. Recommendation: do pass.
  • SF 220 (successor to SF 66) relating to funding for retirement incentive programs offered by school districts. Recommendation: amend and do pass. Two amendments filed: H-8002 and H-8013.
  • SF 339 (successor to SSB 1205) relating to inspections of school buses and certain other vehicles used to transport children. Recommendation: amend and pass. One amendment filed: H-8003.

Bills reported out of the Iowa Senate education committee:

  • SF 2018 concerning school instructional days. Recommendation: do pass. Placed on the Senate Unfinished Business Calendar and attached HF 2170.
  • SF 2056 relating to whole grade sharing incentives for school districts. Recommendation: do pass.
  • SF 2077 (successor to SSB 3106) establishing 6% categorical growth for 2015-16 school year. Approved committee bill. Passed the Senate [26-23], messaged to House.
  • SF 2078 (successor to SSB 3107) relating to school district property tax replacement. Approved committee bill. Passed the Senate [49-0], messaged to House.
  • SF 2079 (successor to SSB 3105) establishing 6% state growth for 2015-16 school year. Approved committee bill. Passed the Senate [26-23], messaged to House.
  • SF 2129 (successor to SF 2006) authorizing the establishment of a philanthropy account within an agency fund established by a school corporation. Approved committee bill.
  • SF 2226 (successor to SSB 3160) establishing a low-income program supplement for school districts to provide programs serving low-income pupils. Approved committee bill.
  • SF 2229 (successor bill to SSB 3021) providing for the establishment of an Iowa middle school extended learning time pilot project grant program. Approved committee bill. Related to HF 2193.
  • SF 2230 (successor to SSB 3019) DE technical corrections bill. Approved committee bill.
  • SF 2257 (successor to SSB 3045) relating to programs and accounts administered by the college student aid commission. Approved committee bill. Related to HSB 557.
  • SF 2258 (successor to SF 2219) providing for a voluntary program to recognize schools and school districts that participate in programs that promote financial literacy for high school students. Approved committee bill.

The Gazette reported six other funnel survivors that I could not yet find in the House or Senate Journals:

  • SF 2070 relating to dyslexia screening.
  • SF 2173 and related bill HF 2245 establishing an Iowa center for suicide prevention in the department of education.
  • SSB 3048 adding a fine and applied arts to the core curriculum.
  • SSB 3149 proposed Senate Committee on Education bill relating to antibullying and antiharassment policies.
  • SSB 3155 relating to the state preschool program for four-year-old children by establishing a preschool expansion incentive and authorizing state aid for the incentive.

Radio Iowa reported that bills requiring radon testing and mitigation in public schools passed out of committees in both the House and Senate. I could not yet find these bills in the House or Senate Journals, but assume they are HF 2152 and SF 2127.