The Iowa Department of Education would have to sign off on every textbook, article, video or other educational material used in a public school’s social studies class, with a public review process for each following it, under a new proposal from a group of Iowa House Republicans introduced today.
Ten GOP lawmakers introduced HF 2060 on Thursday, a bill that would alter how social studies is taught in the state, and create more bureaucracy for teachers and school districts.
This follows up on Republicans’ successful efforts last year to pass a law banning the non-existent threat of critical race theory being taught in public schools and other “divisive concepts.”
One proposal includes requiring any lesson plan material to be reviewed and approved by the Board of Education, then reviewed by parents, guardians, and teachers during a public comment period before it can be implemented, and posting a list of all approved education materials on the Iowa Department of Education’s website.
Lesson plan materials that would have to be approved for use include articles, books, textbooks, videos, and more. These materials would be available for review for at least 30 days and the list of approved materials would have to be updated annually by June 30.
Another proposal in it would include giving high school students a multiple-choice assessment of 20 questions developed by the Iowa State Board of Education and based on the latest American citizenship test developed by immigration services.
These results would be published on the Department of Education’s website and organized by school district and grade level. Results would include no identifiable information for individual students but would include the median score, the percentage of students who answered at least 60% of questions correctly, and any other information required by the department.
High school students are already required to take a half unit of US history; however, this would be increased to a full unit and “include a study of political philosophy and provide a comparative and objective analysis of ideologies throughout world history, including capitalism, republicanism, democracy, socialism, communism, totalitarianism, and fascism.”
Additionally, the Iowa and US history sections will also include “examples of political freedoms and economic development under these ideologies and include first-person accounts,” which could conflict with the new “currently controversial issues” section.
The bill’s definition of “currently controversial issues” is “any matter of or related to politics, history, or social affairs that is the subject of a current dispute or disagreement among one or more groups of reasonable persons.”
The bill says a school district shall not request a student or teacher to personally affirm, adopt, or adhere to any belief relating to currently controversial issues.
The bill’s sponsors are Reps. Dennis Bush, Dean Fisher, Thomas Gerhold, Garrett Gobble, Steve Holt, Tom Jeneary, Anne Osmundson, Henry Stone, Skyler Wheeler, and John Wills.
Were this bill to be implemented, it would go into effect July 1.
by Ty Rushing