© 2023 Iowa Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Speaker Grassley will lead new education committee focused on reform

Rep. Pat Grassley sits in the Speaker's chair in the Iowa House.
John Pemble
IPR file
House Speaker Pat Grassley, R-New Hartford, will chair a five-person committee that will take up any bills that would make “significant reforms” to the state’s education system.

Any bills proposing significant changes to the state’s education system in the upcoming session will go through the five-person Education Reform Committee.

The Iowa House is creating a new legislative committee specifically meant to take up any bills that would make major changes to the state’s education system.

Gov. Kim Reynolds has proposed state-funded, voucher-style scholarship programs in each of the past two years but neither one made it through the House.

The House also never passed proposals that would have forced schools to post curriculum and library card catalogs online, and that would have required schools to honor a parent’s request to block their child from accessing books at school that they consider obscene or offensive.

Now the House will have a five-person Education Reform Committee made up of three Republicans and two Democrats. That’s in addition to the existing Education Committee which will have a new chair in Rep. Skyler Wheeler, R-Hull.

House Speaker Pat Grassley, R-New Hartford, will chair the new reform panel himself. In a statement, Grassley said House Republicans will take up a broad set of education reforms.

“Ensuring a quality education for Iowa students is a priority of Iowans and Iowa House Republicans,” Grassley said. “This new committee will allow these important issues to be put in front of the entire caucus for the in-depth discussions they deserve.”

Gov. Kim Reynolds made school choice one of the core issues of her reelection campaign and has said she plans to revive a proposal that would use state funding to help certain students pay to go to private schools.

Republicans will be working with an even larger majority in the Iowa House in the upcoming session. Also, some of the members who previously opposed Reynolds’ plans have been replaced by candidates she endorsed who support school choice.

Grant Gerlock is a reporter covering Des Moines and central Iowa