DES MOINES, Iowa – Iowa House Speaker Pat Grassley, R-New Hartford, on Wednesday, when announcing the appointment of committee chairs for the 90th General Assembly, announced the creation of a new Education Reform Committee he would personally chair.
Since the Iowa House also has an education committee that State Rep. Skyler Wheeler, R-Hull, will chair, why have a separate education reform committee?
The new committee will have five members, the smallest number of lawmakers allowed on a committee, and it will focus on bills containing significant reforms to the state’s educational system.
“Ensuring a quality education for Iowa students is a priority of Iowans and Iowa House Republicans. The House Republican caucus plans to consider a broad set of education reforms this session. This new committee will allow these important issues to be put in front of the entire caucus for the in-depth discussions they deserve,” Grassley told The Iowa Torch.
The committee could handle an education savings account bill and other reform bills tabled during the last session, as well as legislation focused on curriculum transparency and reforming the Board of Educational Examiners.
The Iowa House did not vote on SF 2369, a bill that created education savings accounts for K-12 students, that passed in the Iowa Senate. Instead, the bill was hung up in the education committee. As a result, State Rep. Dustin Hite, R-New Sharon, the former education committee chair, and other Republican incumbents who opposed the bill lost their primaries to challengers who support school choice.
A smaller committee would likely be easier to get bills through the committee process faster.