2012 Legislative Priorities

2012 Iowa General Assembly Legislative Priorities

Des Moines Public Schools is a member of the Urban Education Network, an organization comprised of Iowa’s largest school districts serving more than 40% of the state’s K-12 students. The Des Moines School Board supports the following issues outlined by UEN members in the consideration of state-wide education reform:

Improve the Assessment of Student Learning
Promote the development of a process to assess student learning that accurately and adequately measures 21st Century learning needs. It is time for Iowa to abandon the use of norm-referenced standardized tests as the sole measure of student learning.

Review the Current Funding Formula
Develop a consistent definition of “at risk” students and conduct a study of resources needed to address the issue of underachieving students. The study should include an analysis of the current Iowa funding formula to determine the degree to which the current system does or does not adequately support underachieving students.

Improve the Evaluation of Instructional Staff
In collaboration with instructional staff, develop a process for the inclusion of student learning as one factor in the evaluation of educators, remembering that the primary purpose of evaluation is to inform educators what supports and additional learning are needed to consistently improve practice.

In addition, the Des Moines School Board asks members of the Iowa General Assembly and Governor to give consideration to the following changes in state law: 

  • Dillon’s Rule: Modify or revoke Iowa’s Dillon’s Rule to provide public school districts with greater flexibility, autonomy and local decision-making ability.
  • Local Bids: Change current law as it pertains to approving the lowest responsible bid in order to provide greater consideration of and opportunities for local businesses.
  • Senior Year Plus: Amend Senior Year Plus program to allow students to enroll in dual credit courses for either high school or college credit; do not restrict which world languages may be offered for credit; and allow districts to enroll whomever they choose in their dual credit courses.
  • International Baccalaureate: Amend existing laws so that incentives to and recognition of the IB Diploma is equal to Advanced Placement.
  • Teacher Licensure: Amend the teacher licensure process to simplify and/or reduce the number of secondary teacher endorsements.