What happened to just talking to your teacher? | News, Sports, Jobs
Funnel week at the Iowa Capitol has been a week with long days turning into nights, numerous subcommittee and committee meetings, and the passage of bills that will be considered for the remainder of the legislative session.
The less good news: Public education continues to be a punching bag for House Republicans. Bills passed the House Education Committee at 8 p.m. Thursday to funnel. There were three non-confrontational bills and five bills that had a lot of discussion and amendments to try to improve them.
Bills passed included school transparency bills so parents can see what their children are learning. This bill will require school districts to publish a list of all textbooks, business books, videos, articles, worksheets and websites for each grade and for each class by the start of the fall school year. 2022.
You also need a list of all the books in the school library. There are significant penalties if this is not done or if teachers do not follow the information posted. If a parent is unhappy with the results, they can appeal to the State Board of Education. What happened to a parent who spoke with their students’ teacher if they had a concern?
Another bill would remove a regional education agency (AEA) from the process of identifying the best services for a home-schooled student following an individual education plan. This bill also removes the requirement to have a master’s degree to be a K-12 teacher librarian. At a time when teacher librarians are under attack for providing pornography and sinister agendas that include incest and pedophilia, we are removing the training requirement for this group of dedicated teachers.
Another bill requires students to pass a civics test in order to graduate from high school and have an increased number of social studies courses in their high school curriculum.
A bill to provide a temporary initial teaching license for those with a degree and experience in a content area will allow those individuals to enter the classroom with no teaching experience and with limited teacher training.
All these bills concern me as a dismantling for the public school system. The House has yet to have a bill on student bonds or savings accounts, but the session is still young.
On Wednesday, the House debated the Republican-proposed four percent flat tax bill. I support certain parts of this bill, such as eliminating the tax on retirement income. Other parts of the bill do not reach the people who need tax relief the most.
The majority party has put the bill in play for the next four years. They start by giving the first profits to those who earn the highest incomes. Democrats have proposed starting with those in the lowest tax brackets to provide immediate relief to those who need it most. This amendment was refused.
The flat tax also allows for deductions and exclusions that will ultimately reduce the tax liabilities of wealthier Iowans. Not enough has been done to ensure that the working class and the middle class can benefit from this tax reduction. It has not gone far enough to reach those who need it most.
The good news: The veterans affairs committee has passed some great bipartisan bills to benefit those who have served our country.
A bill has been passed by the House VA committee allowing reduced rates for motor vehicle registration fees for people who have been identified with a percentage disability. The disabled veteran would receive a percentage discount on a vehicle registration game corresponding to his disability percentage. For example, if a veteran has a 30% disability, their reduction would be 30%. This bill recognizes every disabled veteran during their period of service.
Another bill would expand the Veterans Fund into a more aggressive investment strategy through the Treasury Department and an investment manager. This will allow more funds to be distributed to veterans.
HSB661 is proposing a job protection bill for state employees who are veterans. This will ensure that veterans receive appropriate accommodations in the workplace.
I will continue to work for equity and justice for all. Contact me if you have any questions.
Sue Cahill, a Marshalltown Democrat, represents Marshalltown as well as the Northeast and North Central
Marshall County in the Iowa House of Representatives.