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Capitol Highlights

Iowa Core and Common Core State Standards

March 21, 2014
By Rep. Tedd Gassman - Representing Iowa House District 7 , Estherville News

Last week the House passed a bill with unanimous bipartisan support to address some of the controversy surrounding the Iowa Core and Common Core State Standards.

The bill provides greater transparency and opportunities for public input on the state's education standards; prevents standards from being implemented without the legislature first seeing the proposed changes, reiterates local control of textbooks and curriculum, and provides greater protection of student data.

The Common Core, a set of education standards developed at the national level, had garnered significant interest across the country this year. Common Core is often a controversial topic, with concerns in the areas of; nationalization of education, the privacy of student data, the cost of related assessments, and the specific content inside the curriculum.

This new law would make sure that curriculum, lesson plans, instructional methods and textbooks are chosen at the local level and not chosen by the state or federal government nor prescribed by the Iowa Core standards. The bill provides additional protection for student data collected by districts and the state Department of Education. The Department of Education is directed to establish data collection, privacy and sharing policies.

I would like to see this bill become law. As it stands today it is ineligible for debate in the Senate as it did not pass out of committee before the second funnel. A call to your Senator or to Senator Gronstal might change that dilemma.

This bill will not take anything from our local schools. In fact it will give our local schools more autonomy, it will give the people local control of the school curriculum and student data.

Child care assistance

On Tuesday of last week the House passed Senate File 2251 and is now ready to go to the Governor's office.

In the past, someone could qualify for child care assistance from the state if they were employed or are participating at a satisfactory level in an approved training program or educational program for at least 28 hours a week if their income is 145 percent of poverty level or less.

This bill changed that particular setup in that you could qualify for child care assistance with a combination of at least 28 hours of work and school. For those who are on other state programs there should be an incentive to increase their education.

If someone is eligible for and uses a state program they can take care of themselves in the future if they have a better education. An education is the great equalizer. These are the kind of laws that I think the state needs to consider more often.

Thank you for the opportunity to represent your interests in the Iowa House of Representatives. Please call or e-mail with any questions or comments and I will do my best to find you an answer.



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