State Senator Brad Zaun (R-Urbandale) filed SF 16 last week. SF 16 scraps “Iowa core curriculum” language (which is what Iowa’s standards were originally called). It instead calls for assessment standards that are identical to the ones approved in 2006 for No Child Left Behind.
So if passed this bill would roll Iowa’s standards back to what they were pre-Common Core, eliminate Iowa’s standards for social studies, 21st century skills and (I’ll have to check my timeline) eliminate the K-8 standards. The original Iowa Core was math, English and science standards for 9-12th grade. It may even be the same language as last year’s bill, SF 2123, but I don’t have that in front of me to compare.
I know there will be some Common Core-related bills that are filed in the Iowa House, but it hasn’t happened yet two weeks into the session. From what I have heard thus far they will be similar as last year’s bills, but I will update when we know more.
Right now because of the make-up of the Iowa Legislature (Democrat-led Senate, Republican-led House) it is difficult to get anything passed. On the House side we have leaders who either like Common Core or they are apathetic toward it. On the Senate side any Republican-sponsored bill goes to subcommittee to die.
I do want to see some bills filed, but I believe our best chance for success this legislative session is to stop Smarter Balanced Assessments from being implemented. So far there no one has filed a bill to approve Smarter Balanced. I believe the Iowa State Board of Education is still deciding (we recently had our assessment task force recommend Smarter Balanced). Ultimately it is up to the Legislature to approve it. So activists in Iowa need to watch for it, and I wouldn’t put it past those who favor the assessment to try to get that language amended into another bill. So it is vital that we keep our eyes open.