Iowa bill would require all books and classroom materials to be published

Published: Mar. 3, 2022 at 5:58 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - While many literary works continue to get added to the list of banned books for school curriculum, a new Iowa House study bill would allow parent to know what their kids are reading and how they can try to remove the materials.

House Study Bill 706 would require all books used in a classroom or housed in a school library to be listed online. If parents found one they didn’t approve of, the bill would require districts to share how parents could challenge such materials.

But schools we talked to said they already have such policies.

”When materials are being questioned we have a board regulation that has an Instructional Materials Reconsideration Committee that includes staff, parents, students that takes a look at why it’s being questioned and whether or not that material can be used or not,” said Noreen Bush, Cedar Rapids Community School District Superintendent.

Representative Tracy Ehlert, a Democrat from Cedar Rapids on the Education Committee, said she’s continuing to see bills like this that she says create solutions to problems that don’t exist.

”We have amazing teacher librarians. That, that’s what they went to school for. They went to school to learn how to evaluate materials. Find appropriate materials. Find materials that reflect the demographics and the schools that they serve,” said Ehlert.

The bill is moving forward to the house floor with broad Republican support.

”That’s going to be a lot of work for these teachers. You know, do you want them spending more time engaging your child in learning or do you want them spending their time worrying about do I have every material I want to use on the website,” said Ehlert.

But Ehlert said the bill needs work, which could come in the form of amendments.

”You can go in and see what your kids are doing. They’re not trying to hide anything. I just don’t think the everyday general public knows that so much of this information is already out there. This bill’s not really creating anything new other than the penalties and now micromanaging,” said Ehlert.

The Cedar Rapids Community School District said it already posts materials online through Canvas or Google Classroom....

”For us this would maybe be just a different way of posting all that work,” said Bush.

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