Education

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 […]

Iowa college accused of unfairly firing soccer coach and his wife

BY: - August 26, 2021

The wife of a fired soccer coach is taking the Iowa Civil Rights Commission to court, claiming it unjustly dismissed her complaint that she was fired by Hawkeye Community College after voicing support for her husband. Lawyers for Maren Carroll, the wife of Robert Carroll, are seeking judicial review of the commission’s actions. In the […]

Iowa mom sues Reynolds over law banning mask mandates in schools

BY: - August 26, 2021

A Council Bluffs mother is suing Gov. Kim Reynolds and the state of Iowa over the law prohibiting schools from mandating face masks as a protective measure against COVID-19. Frances Mierzwa Parr is asking the court to order the state to issue a universal mask mandate for all students and school personnel, at least until […]

Polk County sees COVID-19 surge as school year begins

BY: - August 25, 2021

COVID-19 cases in Polk County were surging Wednesday as Des Moines Public School students returned to the classroom, multiple metrics show. The Polk County Health Department announced this week that COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths are on the rise in Des Moines. The most recent data available shows there were 109 COVID patients in Polk […]

COMMENTARY

Iowa’s Amish have some lessons for us about today’s COVID controversies

BY: - August 21, 2021

The man who answered the door at a farm house west of Bloomfield one afternoon in the early 1970s was an imposing figure, even without that thick beard on his chin. Gideon Yutzy was a member of the Old Order Amish religion. He was the patriarch of a family that moved into the countryside west […]