Category Archives: SF423

HF 215 Signed

Governor Branstad signed HF 215 today.  From the press release:

“The 2013 education reform bill promises to provide all Iowa schools with the support they need to significantly raise student achievement,” said Branstad. “Change is never easy. But it was particularly painful that we had to acknowledge that Iowa slipped over the past two decades from a national leader in education to the middle of the pack.”

Radio Iowa has coverage of the signing, including audio of the signing ceremony.

The Gazette has coverage of the event here, and the DE here.

And just for fun, a post from Iowa .Gif-t Shop, and one from Scott McLeod: what were they thinking at the signing ceremony?


HF 215 Conference Committee Report [updated]

Update: see note on supplemental state aid under Division II.

The conference committee report on HF 215 on education reform was filed today.  The House concurred with the conference committee report [voice vote] and then passed HF 215 as amended passed [95-0].  The Senate adopted the conference committee report by voice vote and passed HF 215 as amended [40-10].

The short summary: schools are getting 2% allowable growth plus a one time 2% payment for FY14 and 4% allowable growth for FY15.  The Certificate of Distinction program is out.  Smarter Balanced Assessments are out for now (see Division V for details).  Teacher career paths, leadership and compensation system changes are in, as are school grading/performance rankings.  Student outcome measures are in but defined specifically and broadly to include more than standardized test scores.  Changes to home school reporting requirements, allowing home school parents to teach driver education courses and authorizing independent private school accreditation are in.

Division I: School District Funding.  Allowable growth is set at 2% for FY14 and 4% for FY15.  Adds a new section 257.16B School district property tax replacement payments which has the state funding 100% of allowable growth from FY14 on.  Adds a 2% school district funding supplement for FY14.

Division II: School District Funding Terminology.  Replacing allowable growth with supplemental state aid.  Updated to add: Unlike allowable growth, supplemental state aid will be 100% funded by the state.

Division III: Iowa Learning Online Initiative–Fees and Appropriations.  Mandates that the DE establish fees payable by school districts and accredited nonpublic schools, such fees to be used to administer this section with administration including professional development for teachers to participate in the initiative.  Appropriating one million five hundred thousand dollars in each of FY15 and FY16 for not more than three FTE positions.

Division IV: Training and Employment of Teachers.  Directs the DE to provide for the operation of an online state job posting system that shall be used by school districts, charter schools, area education agencies and the DE, and may be used by accredited nonpublic schools.  Establishes a teach Iowa student teaching pilot project that shall provide teacher candidates with a one-year student teaching experience.  Establishes a teach Iowa scholar program open to both Iowa residents (get priority) and nonresidents.  Applicants must be in the top twenty-five percent of their graduating class and must be preparing to teach in STEM, ESL, special education, or hard-to-staff subjects as identified by the DE.  Teach Iowa scholar grants shall not exceed $4000 per year or a total of $20,000 over a five-year period.

Division V: Assessments.  Moving from required assessments for grades four, eight, and eleven to end of year assessments for grades three through eleven is postponed from the 2014-15 school year to the 2016-17 school year and language requiring the assessment be developed by a consortium in which Iowa is a participant have been removed from the bill [Smarter Balanced Assessments are not being adopted at this time].  The director shall establish an assessment task force to review and make recommendations for a statewide assessment of student progress and the task force shall consider the costs to school districts and the state in providing and administering the assessment and the technical support necessary to implement the assessments.  Task force recommendations are due January 1, 2015 and the task force shall include teachers, school administrators, business leaders, representatives of state agencies, and members of the general public.

Division VI: Council on Educator Development.  Establishes a council on educator development to conduct a study and make recommendations regarding a statewide teacher evaluation system and performance review requirements and a statewide administrator evaluation system.  In developing recommendations for any evaluation system the council shall consider, in addition to other items, the fair and balanced use of student outcome measures comprised of multiple, reliable indicators of student growth and learning that are appropriate to the curriculum and the students being taught.  The measures may include gauges of higher order skills such as student research papers, science investigations, technology products, and art projects; teacher-defined objectives for individual student growth; student learning objectives; district, school, or teacher-created assessments; and high-quality standardized tests.  The council shall provide for wide distribution of a preliminary draft of recommendations to teachers, administrators, and school boards by October 1, 2015 and provide a mechanism and opportunity for the submission of feedback that shall be reviewed by the council prior to making final recommendations, which are due by November 15, 2016.

Division VII: Iowa Teacher Career and Compensation Matters.  Establishes a teacher leadership supplement beginning in FY15.  The teacher leadership funds shall be used to increase payment for a teacher assigned a leadership role pursuant to a framework or an approved comparable system; to increase the percentage of teachers assigned leadership roles; to increase the minimum teacher starting salary to $33,500; to cover the costs for time mentor and lead teachers are not providing classroom instruction; to cover the costs of initial or career teachers observing or co-teaching with teaches assigned leadership roles; for professional development associated with career pathways leadership; and for other approved costs associated with a framework or approved comparable system.  Establishes state supplemental assistance for high-need schools.  Appropriates fifty million dollars each year for FY15, FY16, and FY17 for teacher leadership supplemental aid payments.  Appropriates ten million dollars for FY15 and each subsequent fiscal year for supplemental assistance for high-need schools.  Establishes a framework for Iowa teacher career paths, leadership roles, and compensation with option to seek approval for a comparable system of career paths and compensation for teachers that contains differentiated, multiple leadership roles.  AEA-employed teachers can be part of the framework or the approved comparable system.

  • Initial teacher.  At least $33,500 salary and shall complete a teacher residency during first year of employment that includes intensive supervision or mentoring by a mentor or lead teacher; collaboration time to observe and learn from model, mentor, and lead teachers; five additional contract days beyond career teachers to be used to strengthen instructional leadership.
  • Career teacher.  Successful completion of initial teacher mentoring and induction program and has demonstrated competencies of a career teacher.
  • Model teacher.  Meets requirements of career teacher, demonstrates competencies of a model teacher, has participated in a rigorous review process, and has been recommended for a one-year model teacher assignment by a site-based review council.  Five additional contract days beyond career teachers and an annual salary supplement of at least $2000.  Districts shall designate at least ten percent of its teachers as model teachers.
  • Mentor teacher.  Demonstrates competencies and superior teaching skills of a mentor teacher and has been recommended for a one-year mentor teacher assignment by a site-based review council.  A teaching load of not more than 75% student instruction.  Ten additional contract days beyond career teachers and an annual salary supplement of at least $5000.  Districts shall designate at least ten percent of its teachers as mentor teachers.
  • Lead teacher.  Recommended for a one-year lead teacher assignment by a site-based review council based on an assertion that the teacher possesses superior teaching skills and the ability to lead adult learners.  Lead teacher roles may include the planning and delivery of professional development to improve instructional strategies; facilitation of instructional leadership teams within the building, district, or other districts; mentoring other teachers; and participation in the evaluation of student teachers.  A teaching load of not more than 50% student instruction.  Fifteen additional contract days and an annual salary supplement of at least $10,000.  Districts shall designate at least five percent of its teachers as lead teachers.

National board certified teachers who meet the requirements of section 256.44 shall continue to receive the specified award in addition to compensation set out in this section. Establishes a commission on educator leadership and compensation.  Comparable system means either an instructional coach model or a system of career paths and compensation that contains differentiated, multiple leadership roles approved by the DE.

The instructional coach and curriculum and professional development model includes at a minimum: beginning teacher level, career teacher level, instructional coach level (ten additional contract days beyond career teacher and $5000 to $7000 annual stipend), curriculum and professional development leader level (fifteen additional contract days beyond model teacher and $10,000 to $12,000 annual stipend), and model teacher level (five additional contract days beyond career teacher and an annual salary supplement of at least $2000).  Goal to assign at least one instructional coach per attendance center or per every five hundred students enrolled in an attendance center and assignment of at least ten percent of its teachers as model teachers.

Directs the DE to develop criteria and a process for school districts to use to establish specific performance goals and to evaluate the performance of each attendance center operated by the district to arrive at an overall school performance grade and report card for each attendance center which shall be posted on the DE’s internet site.  Criteria shall include student academic growth, parent involvement, student attendance, employee turnover, and community activities and involvement.  The DE shall develop an achievement score that calculates aggregate growth as well as aggregate proficiency which when combined with other academic indicators results in an overall school performance grade for each attendance center.  The performance grade may also be used as one measure to rank and classify schools into six performance categories.  Other academic indicators shall include graduation rates, attendance rates, and college-readiness rates and may include post-graduation data, suspension and expulsion rates, levels of student engagement, parent satisfaction, parent engagement, and staff working conditions.  DE findings and recommendations due July 1, 2014.

Division VIII: Competency-based Instruction Task Force.  Establishes a competency-based education grant program to award grants to not more than ten school districts annually for developing, implementing, and evaluating competency-based education pilot and demonstration projects.  Final report including any recommendations due by January 15, 2019.

Division IX: Instructional Hours.  School calendars shall include not less than 180 days or 1080 hours of instruction.

Division X: Private Instruction Exemption.  Reporting requirements made optional for persons providing private instruction under section 299A.3 Private instruction by nonlicensed person.

Division XI: Independent Accreditation of Nonpublic Schools.  Permitting nonpublic schools to be accredited by approved independent accrediting agencies instead of the state board.

Division XII: Independent Private Instruction.  Establishes independent private instruction defined as not accredited, enrolling not more than four unrelated students, not charging tuition or fees, providing private or religious-based instruction, providing instruction in mathematics, reading and language arts, science, and social studies.

Division XIII: Driver Education By Teaching Parent.  Allows home school parents to provide driver education instruction to their home schooled children if they meet certain requirements but without being required to meet physical classroom requirements and extra vehicle safety equipment requirements.

Division XIV: Miscellaneous Provisions.  Directs the director to develop and implement a coaching and support system for teachers aligned with the framework and approved comparable systems and a coaching and support system for administrators.  Establishing approved uses of preschool foundation aid funding.  Iowa Early Intervention Block Grant Program repeal date extended five years to July 1, 2018.  Making preschool and kindergarten assessment changes.

Establishing a school district reporting requirement task force to review a list of reports school districts are required to submit to the DE and to produce written justification for continuing, modifying, or eliminating the requirement.  Report due by December 2, 2013.  State board to review the written justifications and submit findings and recommendations by February 3, 2014.

Directing the DE to develop a proposed model for an extended learning time pilot project, due December 16, 2013.

Legislative Update 4/4 [updated]

The Iowa Legislature is working through the procedural hurdles to get the education reforms to conference committee today.  After several votes this morning (the House refusing to concur with Senate amendments to HF 215 and the Senate insisting), the Senate has appointed the Senate Conference Committee:

  • Quirmbach (D-Story), Chair
  • Bowman (D-Jackson)
  • Wilhelm (D-Howard)
  • Ernst (R-Montgomery)
  • Sinclair (R-Wayne)

Update: The House has appointed members to the conference committee:

  • Jorgensen (R-Woodbury)
  • Dolecheck (R-Ringgold)
  • Stanerson (R-Linn)
  • Steckman (D-Cerro Gordo)
  • Wood (D-Scott)

The Iowa Legislature has added links to archived videos of the education reform bill debates.   Search by bill number (HF 215 and SF 423) and you’ll see the links on the left side of the page.

Note that the second funnel week deadline is Friday.  The Gazette has coverage here.  Apparently the anti-bullying bill is not expected to survive the second funnel deadline.

Legislative Update 4/3

Education reform was back in front of the Iowa Senate today.  HF 215 as amended passed on a vote of 26-24.  As I understand it, all of this was done to get the House and Senate versions of education reform to conference committee, which may happen as early as tomorrow.

Amendments Adopted

S-3106 as amended [voice vote] by Quirmbach (D-Story) on striking all of HF 215 and replacing it with text identical to SF 423 as passed in the Senate.  Amendment to the amendment S-3118 by Bowman (D-Jackson) on whole grade sharing agreements adopted [voice vote].

Amendments Lost

S-3116 [not germane] by Zaun (R-Polk) on accountability for the Department of Education. Would establish a five-year assessment  requiring the DE to determine annual progress toward the following goals: ninety percent of grade four students proficient in reading, mathematics, and science; eighty-five percent of grade eight students proficient in reading, mathematics, and science; eighty percent of grade eleven students proficient in reading and mathematics; eighty-five percent of grade eleven students proficient in science; and, Iowa placing in the top five states in the nation for performance on grade four, eight, and eleven NAEP reading, mathematics, and science assessments.  In addition, the DE would be required to determine annual progress toward increasing the number of Iowa students majoring in physical and biological sciences, mathematics, and engineering; negotiating for the adoption of alternative teacher certification programs; and, developing an action pan to fill critical need teaching positions.  If the DE fails to meet those goals by November 2018, a DE elimination commission is established to review all programs, policies, duties, and other functions and responsibilities of the DE.

SF 423 Debate [updated]

The Senate debated SF 423 today.  After several hours of debate, SF 423 as amended passed on a vote of 26-23.

Amendments Adopted

S-3072 [30-18] by Quirmbach (D-Story) on allowing instruction time to be counted in days or hours.

S-3066 as amended [voice vote] by Quirmbach (D-Story) on striking and replacing the career path, teacher leadership roles, and compensation sections.  Amendments to the amendment S-3069 by Quirmbach (D-Story) making some technical changes adopted [voice vote].  Amendments to the amendment S-3081 by Boettger (R-Shelby) on striking the section on minimum salaries and striking the Iowa teacher career path model [out of order] and S-3079 by Feenstra (R-Sioux) on striking and replacing the composition of the commission on educator leadership and compensation lost [22-26].

S-3071 [voice vote] by Ernst (R-Montgomery) on establishing a parent liaison counselor pilot program.

Amendments Lost

S-3068 [withdrawn] by Zaun (R-Polk) on repeal of the department of education and the state board of education and to establish an education savings grant program.

S-3084 [22-26] by Ernst (R-Montgomery) on striking and replacing the bill with a different education reform proposal.

S-3083 [not germane] by Chelgren (R-Wapello) on requiring the auditor to conduct a biennial review of the Iowa early intervention block grant program.

S-3073 [not germane] by Sorenson (R-Warren) on requiring school districts to develop and implement an emergency management plan that would include a requirement that school employees with a valid permit to carry weapons shall be authorized to carry a weapon on school grounds.

S-3077 [not germane] by Feenstra (R-Sioux) on tax credits and appropriations for nonpublic school textbooks and transportation costs.

S-3074 [not germane] by Chapman (R-Dallas) on not including procedures for staff reductions within the scope of negotiations, not considering seniority and academic degrees in setting compensation or making other staffing decisions, excluding standards of performance from mandatory negotiations, basing salaries and staffing decisions on the results of annual performance reviews, and on removing seniority as a basis for reduction in force decision-making.

S-3075 [not germane] by Boettger (R-Shelby) on amending the charter school law.

S-3076 [not germane] by Behn (R-Boone) on establishing an education savings grant program.

S-3078 [not germane] by Sinclair (R-Wayne) on prohibiting the use of resident tuition for student aid purposes and reducing resident tuition by the amount previously set aside from resident tuition for student aid purposes.

S-3080 [22-26] by Anderson (R-Woodbury) on removing the requirement that curriculum received by telecommunication be supervised by a licensed teacher if the curriculum is taught by an appropriately licensed teacher at the location at which the telecommunications originates.

S-3082 [22-26] by Sinclair (R-Wayne) on establishing a value-added assessment system to provide for multivariate longitudinal analysis of annual student test scores.

S-3088 [not germane] by Guth (R-Hancock) on exempting some home school families from Competent Private Instruction reporting requirements.

Update: Apparently I missed an interesting exchange between Senators Quirmbach and Sinclair regarding Sinclair’s amendment S-3082.  Radio Iowa reports that “Quirmbach sparked outrage from Republicans for the way he questioned Senator Amy Sinclair earlier in the evening during debate of proposed amendments to the senate bill.”  Radio Iowa reports Quirmbach’s response as:

“I asked her about language that she proposed in her amendment,” Quirmbach told reporters after debate on the bill had concluded. “I wanted to know if she knew what the words meant. She apparently didn’t.”

From dmJuice: “[Sinclair’s] Republican colleagues rose to her defense, saying few laws would be passed in Iowa if legislators were required to fully comprehend every detail behind legislation.”

Current Prospects for an NCLB Waiver

Search terms indicate that there is interest in whether Iowa is likely to receive an NCLB waiver this year.  The short answer is that it is too soon to tell.  If the Senate passes SF 423 rather than HF 215, we won’t know until the bill comes out of conference committee whether the Iowa Legislature will approve the changes required to obtain the waiver.

Education Week reported last summer that Iowa’s waiver application was “denied after the federal Education Department decided that the state’s education agency did not have the authority to enforce the requirement that teachers and principals be evaluated in part on student outcomes, a key component of the department’s conditional waivers.”

Section 62 of HF 215 would amend Iowa Code Section 284.3(2)(b) teacher evaluations to contain “a balanced use of student outcome measures, comprised of objective, reliable measures of student growth, classroom observation, and student surveys.”  SF 423 does not include this language, nor does it include the performance index/school classification ranking system that is a key component of Iowa’s ESEA Flexibility Request.

Legislative Update 3/12

The Senate Education Committee education reform bill (SSB 1228) has been renumbered as SF 423.

The Iowa House Republicans have a list of bills in the House that survived the first funnel deadline.  The list shows sixteen education bills survived, including, of course HF 215, but also:

HF 352–Instructional Days to Hours.  This bill would change the 180 day requirement to 1080 hours and would exclude parent-teacher conferences from the definition of instructional time.

HF 454–Department of Education Code Clean-up.  Among other changes, the bill changes the required subjects for high school equivalency diplomas by striking arts and writing and adding literacy.  Amendment H-1068 has been filed to add financial literacy as a required subject too.

HSB 196–Anti-Bullying Bill.

HF 309–Instate Tuition for Returning Iowans.  Amending the qualifications to obtain in-state resident tuition to include people who graduated from accredited Iowa high schools or who previously attended an Iowa community college or state university with a resident classification.

HF 341–Declaration of Independence in High School Curriculum.  Would add the Declaration of Independence as a required topic in high school government courses.

HF 401–Peace Officers as Driver’s Education Instructors.  Would allow peace officers and retired peace officers to qualify to become classroom driver education instructors.  Currently, only persons holding a valid teaching license with a driver’s education endorsement may qualify.