House Republicans set an ambitious agenda for education reform for the 90th General Assembly. After hearing the concerns of parents across the state, many of our legislative priorities centered around protecting children from inappropriate material and curriculum. The fact of the matter is that parents send their kids to school to learn reading, writing, math and science. Classroom time should be devoted to instruction on those core subjects, and discussions on social issues, including sexual orientation and gender identity, should be left to parents. At the end of the day, no school should provide children with inappropriate material and instruction, and this last week, the Iowa House passed two proposals to prohibit schools from doing such.
House File 597 addresses the concerns that legislators heard regarding the challenges presented in removing obscene material from K-12 school libraries. Parents have expressed that their right to protect their children from inappropriate material is currently bypassed through cumbersome and one-sided book reconsideration policies and committees which historically determined the material the parents have questioned is, in fact, age appropriate. Iowans began contacting their Representatives for solutions to address the problem of obscene material in Iowa’s schools. In response, the House passed legislation to tighten the age-appropriate definition to prohibit schools from providing sexually explicit images and passages to children. Claims made that House Republicans are banning books are far from true. Parents retain the right to provide their child with books and material they feel necessary, our proposal simply ensures that the material provided by schools is age appropriate.
House File 348 prohibits classroom instruction on gender identity and sexual orientation in K-6 grades. In these grades, these complex social topics are inarguably not age appropriate. False claims that this proposal was an attack on LGBTQ Iowans were addressed in amendments that made clear this legislation prohibits school instruction, curriculum or promotion of any sexual orientation and identity to children. Again, these social topics should be left to the parents, and schools need to prioritize teaching students reading, writing, math and science.
After listening to Iowans who have expressed concerns over the material and curriculum their children are exposed to at school, House Republicans have worked closely with parents, teachers, and administration to protect children from inappropriate content in Iowa schools. We remain dedicated to continuing to deliver on our promise to protect Iowa’s children.
This week, the House passed a historic government realignment bill, taking the number of state departments from 37 to 16 and restructuring state government for the first time in nearly 40 years to better serve Iowans. The 1,500 page bill, Senate File 514, was extensively reviewed by legislators and staff who also worked with state departments to ensure smooth transition and implementation of the consolidation. By aligning functions and services that provide the same services, taxpayers will have a more straightforward process to interact with the government and receive the essential services without unnecessarily going through several agencies in order to receive one service. This important proposal pools state resources, increases government efficiency, and saves taxpayer dollars.