Education

COMMENTARY

How bans on mask mandates affect students with disabilities – 4 questions answered

BY: - September 19, 2021

As if back-to-school season weren’t stressful enough already amid a U.S. surge in the delta variant, bitter wrangling over school mask mandates has added to the fear and confusion for many students and parents. Nine states – Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah – have passed laws or issued executive […]

Regents vote to ask lawmakers for $15M increase for state universities

BY: - September 16, 2021

The Iowa Board of Regents on Thursday approved a request to increase state aid by $15 million for the three state universities. The proposal would provide a $7 million increase for general education to Iowa State University and $4 million each to University of Iowa and the University of Northern Iowa. The proposal would take […]

Enrollment down at Iowa’s public universities, but freshman classes grow

BY: - September 14, 2021

Enrollment fell at Iowa’s three public colleges this fall, continuing a years-long decline complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The University of Iowa, Iowa State University and the University of Northern all reported smaller 2021 enrollment as classes began last month. The University of Iowa reported 31,206 students enrolled this fall, down 394 from last year. […]

Federal judge temporarily blocks Iowa ban on school mask mandates

BY: - September 13, 2021

A federal judge has temporarily blocked an Iowa law that prohibited schools from instating mask mandates on students. Under a Monday ruling by District Judge Robert Pratt, Iowa school districts may impose mask mandates on their students, staff and teachers. The decision comes after a disability rights group and several Iowa families sued the state, […]

Universal pre-K, free community college included in sweeping reconciliation bill

BY: - September 13, 2021

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House Education & Labor Committee has finished a marathon markup of legislation that would provide universal pre-K education, expand federal Pell Grants for college students and institute two years of free community college. The $761 billion measure, approved Friday on a party-line 28-22 vote, will be combined with other pieces of […]

Federal judge hears arguments on Iowa’s school mask mandate ban

BY: - September 10, 2021

An Iowa disability group and families of students with disabilities asked a federal district judge on Friday to issue an injunction against Iowa law to allow school districts to require masks. The ACLU of Iowa filed the lawsuit last week on behalf of the Arc of Iowa and the 11 families with medically fragile children. […]

Sioux City schools may offer in-school rapid tests for sick students

BY: - September 7, 2021

The Sioux City Community School District is poised to offer rapid COVID-19 testing in schools for sick students, a new mitigation strategy as Iowa students return to the classroom amid the surging delta variant. “It helps to alleviate some of the busyness and craziness that occurs in our health care offices,” said Leslie Heying, communications […]

Lawsuit: Iowa’s school mask mandate ban violates disability rights

BY: - September 3, 2021

Eleven families have partnered with a disability rights group to sue the state of Iowa over a law that prevents school districts from requiring face coverings.  “Getting HF 847 blocked is urgent for the state of Iowa, because this law puts vulnerable kids in a dangerous situation,” said Rita Bettis Austen, legal director for the […]

Iowa public health director: School districts can decide what COVID-19 data to report

BY: - September 2, 2021

It’s up to school districts to decide how to track and report COVID-19 outbreaks in schools, Iowa Department of Public Health Director Kelly Garcia said Thursday. “School districts are reporting that information, and some school districts have made the decision not to provide that information,” Garcia said. “But I believe the vast majority are.” Garcia […]

Biden administration launches civil rights investigations of Iowa and other states banning school mask requirements

BY: - August 30, 2021

WASHINGTON — Federal education officials have launched civil rights investigations in Iowa and four other Republican-led states that have prohibited school districts from mandating mask-wearing, saying those policies could amount to illegal discrimination against students with disabilities. The Biden administration notified the education chiefs in Iowa, Tennessee, South Carolina, Utah and Oklahoma of the investigations through formal letters Monday. The new investigations […]

Feds expand Pell Grant program for prisoners working on college degrees

BY: - August 28, 2021

WASHINGTON — Prison inmates around the U.S. are getting the chance to do something that was almost unheard of a generation ago: pursue a college degree while behind bars and with financial support from the federal government. Inmates in 42 states, including Iowa, and Washington, D.C., can now get federal grants to work with colleges […]

COMMENTARY

More secrecy unwise in state universities’ hiring decisions

BY: - August 28, 2021

Iowa’s three state universities made a U-turn this summer, and they now are headed down the road toward secrecy with some hiring decisions. The about-face should trouble taxpayers of this state. It also should bother members of the Legislature, who have expressed concern in recent years that the universities are out of touch with the […]