DES MOINES, Iowa — As summer vacation rolls in for students across the state, school districts are facing the challenge of retaining and hiring teachers.
A new bill would wipe a couple teacher assessment requirements needed to get into teacher preparation programs or receive a teacher’s license.
The legislation that has been worked on for seven years made it through both chambers this last session. House File 2081 passed the House in February with a wave of bipartisan support, as it received unanimous “yes” votes. And at the end of the session in the Senate the bill saw the same support, with no State Senators voting against it.
More specifically, the bill would remove the requirement of a preprofessional skills test for students entering a teacher preparation program. It would also remove the requirement that a candidate for a teacher’s license would need to pass the PRAXIS test.
“Basically with the PRAXIS, what we are saying is you can pass this standardized test and we are using it as a measure of whether or not you are going to be a good teacher in the classroom,” said Emily Piper, a lobbyist with Iowa Association of School Boards. “We don’t think that is a good measure number one, and number two with the workforce shortages that we have this is an easy barrier to eliminate to get more of those folks in the classroom and help fill a lot of those shortage areas.”
Piper also added that these tests may hurt some of the minority teacher prep students; and districts want to diversify their staff to look more like their classrooms.
Governor Kim Reynolds has not signed the bill yet, and has 30 days to do so after the session ends. The Governor’s Office did not comment on whether or not she would consider signing the bill.