2023-24 Legislative Priorities
At the August 7, 2023 board meeting, Dr. Theron Schutte and the board explored the legislative priorities selected for the upcoming Iowa Legislative session. The selected priorities is sent to the Iowa Association of School Boards (IASB) and are used as a framework when speaking to area legislators. The following priorities were approved by the MCSD School Board:
Iowa students benefit from rigorous content standards and benchmarks that reflect the real-world knowledge and skills students need to graduate from high school prepared for college, trade school, military service, or to enter the workforce. We support state policies to:
- Provide technical assistance for school districts to fully implement the Iowa Content Standards which define what students should know and be able to do in math, science, literacy, social studies, and 21st century skills.
- Ensure research-based professional development that provides educators with training, support and time to work together.
- Support intensive, high-quality tutoring to improve student literacy and math proficiency.
- Continue evidenced-based literacy materials to help improve student achievement.
- Expand programming for career and technical education and apprenticeships.
- Ensure assessments are aligned to high expectations, improve and align instruction, and quality professional development.
- Support curriculum decisions that are made by locally elected school boards.
- Allow a consideration process that engages stakeholders, the Department of Education, and the state board of education in new graduation requirements.
- Provide full access to technology and online learning through Infrastructure investments, including:
- Provide incentives to expand service with a priority on those areas with access to the slowest speeds.
- Guarantee minimum download and upload speeds as a condition to receive grant funding or other financial incentives.
Supplemental State Aid
The school aid formula is the biggest driver in providing resources for a high-quality education that translates to a successful future for our students and economic growth in our state. A school’s general fund supports a high-quality teacher workforce, critical for student achievement. We support state policies on supplemental state aid rate that:
- Sufficiently supports the ability of local districts to meet parent and community expectations and provide a world-class education for all students.
- Provide the resources to recruit and retain a high-quality teacher and staff workforce.
- Incorporate inflation and cost-of-living increases to minimize the negative impact on a district’s general fund from these increased costs.
Teacher Recruitment and Licensure
A highly skilled teacher workforce is essential to student achievement and can be supported by state policies that:
- • Ensure high-quality teacher preparation programs, including alternative licensure programs for individuals with non-traditional or international education backgrounds.
- Provide research-based pedagogy training in addition to content knowledge in a curricular area.
- Encourage initiatives and programs that diversify Iowa’s teaching profession to better match our student demographic makeup.
- Expand programs such as Teach Iowa Scholar, Teacher Intern Program, and others as approved by the Board of Educational Examiners.
- Create programs for student teaching grants and stipends and expand teacher apprenticeship programs to make education careers a more attractive and affordable option.
- Use the management fund to offer recruitment incentives to attract high-quality teachers.
- Create reciprocity agreements with other states that have high-quality teacher preparation programs to increase diversity among certified teachers and administrators.
Student mental health issues are increasing and impacting student achievement. To address these concerns, we support state policies that would establish comprehensive school and community mental health systems to offer preventative and treatment services to:
- • Increase access to in-school and telehealth services.
- Increase access to mental health professionals via in-person or telehealth visits.
- Improve awareness and understanding of child emotional and mental health needs through ongoing teacher, administrator, and support staff training.
- Integrate suicide prevention and coping skills into existing curriculum.
- Support the mental health needs of educators and staff.
- Provide a comprehensive mental health resources clearinghouse for schools and community providers.
- Expand training that includes a referral plan for continuing action provided by mental health professionals outside of the school district.
- Designate a categorical funding stream for mental health professionals serving students and ongoing teacher, administrator, and support staff mental health training.
- Support development of a mental health workforce to provide services to children.