IACS has published its latest newsletter featuring “Education Celebration” information, IACS priorities for this year, an update on the start date debate, and more. You can read download the PDF by clicking here. Make sure you are on our email list if you want them delivered to your inbox!
There is no question Iowa’s financial institutions and college lending services are seeing a tangible problem with student debt and lower levels of financial literacy. There is no shortage of stories about skyrocketing student debt, maxed out credit cards, and and consumers struggling to know their options.
For a number of years, the Iowa Association of Christian Schools (IACS) has been involved in discussions at the Capitol about how best to improve financial literacy education in Iowa. Since the passage of the Iowa Core Curriculum, Iowa’s schools have been required (mandated) to teach financial literacy and address the standards as part of the Iowa Core’s “21st Century Skills” framework. The real challenges for schools have been finding quality resources and a lack of emphasis on the area as schools adjust to an ever-changing demographic and regulatory environment.
IACS has always believed there is a win-win solution that avoids additional onerous and duplicative mandates while providing the resources needed for schools to implement quality financial literacy programming. We are proud to have been a part of a conversation last year with members of the business community, legislators, and the Iowa Department of Education on a way forward and we have had representation on the Financial Literacy Work Team that came out of those discussions.
Our goal was to figure out the best way to provide resources and training to schools, how best to clarify the standards to make them easier to implement, and gather information on how schools are meeting the requirement. We also are interested in collecting examples of what is working well and share these with the rest of the education community across the State. As an organization that is concerned about financial literacy and always opposed to unfunded mandates, we believe the work team recommendations accomplish all of these goals in a way that will work best for Iowa’s students and stakeholders in the private sector.
We stand ready to help improve communication and raise the visibility of this important issue across the state. We thank Director Brad Buck and his staff, Governor Branstad and his staff, and the members of the Work Team for their passion for the issue and their willingness to work on solutions that respect the role of local schools and provide meaningful help implementing financial literacy standards.
You can read the Department’s press release and the Work Group’s recommendations here:
The Iowa Association of Christian Schools was proud to have representation at the this year’s signing of the School Choice Week Proclamation. Proclamations are a way for Governors to honor and/or celebrate issues or events and distribute important information and concepts to Iowans.
The last couple of years have seen School Choice Week and Catholic Schools Week fall on the same week. This signing ceremony saw the signing of both proclamations. We had students and staff from Des Moines Christian School and Iowa Christian Academy as well as representation from the Iowa Alliance for Choice in Education and its sister organization, Iowa Advocates for Choice in Education.
Thank you, Governor Branstad, for recognizing the importance of school choice in Iowa and helping us celebrate the accomplishments to this point in giving parents and students more options in education. We firmly believe that a child’s education should never be limited by their income or zip code of residence. We are looking forward to working with Governor Branstad and leaders from both parties on advancing school choice in Iowa.
You can read Iowa School Choice Week ’14.
Many have asked about the school start date issue and the rule that has been working its way through the Dept. of Ed and State Board of Education. Here is a brief update:
First, IACS has always opposed every effort to restrict local control of start dates. IACS believes that educators, elected school boards, and private schools should be able to make these types of determinations based on what’s best for students, schedules, and unique local issues. No industry group or event should be able to make education policy decisions based on attendance goals or desired profit-margins.
On August 1, the State Board of Education made the wise decision to vote down a proposed rule that the Department wrote to try to bridge the gap between how some interpret the law and educators. This rule unfairly discriminated against private schools by excluding them from the waiver process and went too far in restricting local control on this issue. You can click here for the story on the Board’s decision. We thank them for their vote!
Where do we go from here? Governor Branstad weighed in on the issue on August 5 and we agree with him that stakeholders need to be involved. IACS will not, however, support any rule or legislation that puts the wants of industry ahead of the needs of our kids or continues the disturbing trend toward erasing local control or the will of the people as exercised through the decisions of elected local school boards or the administration at their private school.
Please feel free to comment with your thoughts!