The Proposed Expansive Education Bill

Digging deeper into the proposed expansive education bill in Iowa

The Proposed Expansive Education Bill

Ava Bruxvoort, Maryn Reimers, and Sidney Tranel

Lawmakers are sitting in sessions discussing what is best for classrooms when the last time they set foot in a classroom was when they were a student. The Iowa Senate is discussing bills involving controversial books, private school scholarships, and school funding. This new bill is called the expansive education bill (SSB 3080). Governor Kim Reynolds’  priorities in the Iowa education system focus on detailing parents’ rights in schools. 

When English teacher Mr. Cooper was asked about his thoughts on the expansive education bill he said, “Generally the reason these bills don’t pass is that they realize that there’s redundancy.” If the parents really care about what their kids are learning, then they can just ask. Parents don’t realize that they already have these privileges and it doesn´t need to be up for debate.

Part of Reynolds’ proposed bill, the expansive education bill, states it includes the solution to school book controversies. Under this part of the bill, all public schools would be required to provide all information about the classes they teach and the materials they use.  This would require a summary of each class and it would have to be posted in a place online for the parents to access. This summary includes the titles of all books, videos, articles, and other materials used by teachers. A middle school teacher at NWJH, Mrs. Bruxvoort, said, ¨Parents think there is this transparency issue, but in reality there really isn’t.¨ Both teachers have stated that they feel that it is necessary for bills concerning this issue to be proposed since they find no problem to begin with. Considering going as far as putting cameras in classrooms and recording lessons aren´t needed.


Another thing proposed in the bill is state-funded scholarship accounts that could be used to pay for private schools. This states that families could apply for a voucher-style scholarship and the money received would be used for enrollment in a private school. The amount of money the bill offers would be worth around $5,300 per year and this money could also be utilized on tutoring and online school. ¨There is no way that taking money out of the public school system would benefit the school as a whole. Individuals can now afford better education, but public schools rely on that money.” Bruxvoort said. She is referring to when you don´t use the money allotted to you in a school system it is used elsewhere. So if you take all of the money to better your education it simply hurts public schools.

A new requirement for high school students to pass a civics test in order to graduate is also suggested in the expansion education bill.​​ This wouldn’t imply that to get your diploma you would have to get a certain score on a civics test. Fifteen states in the U.S. have to. So since your district cannot prevent any student from graduating or denying a student diploma who does not correctly answer 30 civics test questions it would almost be pointless to add this work and stress for the school systems to do. The issue that there is at hand is believing that a civics test is a sufficient response to disengagement of municipal topics in teens. The time and energy put into this Civics test would be more help elsewhere.

The new generation lies in teachers’ hands. They have control of our future and we are restricting their freedom to enhance our learning. A recent law in Iowa, the 10 Divisive Concepts, restricts teachers from teaching topics deemed controversial or inappropriate. This stops them from educating the students on racial or ethnic topics that aren´t in the curriculum. So what’s wrong? The political beliefs of the teacher or the curriculum that the legislature already wrote, or the requirements of the state that were already written by a legislature of the same political beliefs.

“And so in that respect, maybe it would be good and transparency wouldn’t be just about the teacher. It’d be about the whole school environment.”  Cooper said. We need to focus more on unifying the schools as a community rather than putting time, attention, and money into causes that will only hurt us. The expansive education bill is redundant, restrictive, and won´t benefit the Iowa school system.