School Choice Score: 76%
Families whose income does not exceed 300 percent of federal poverty guidelines are eligible for a tax credit scholarship. The statewide cap of $8.75 million was recently expanded to $12 million, potentially providing even more scholarships than the roughly it currently provides for. Today, only 103 students participate in the program. The state permits parents some choices among traditional public schools but it restricts such choice to within their district, limiting their options.
Charter Schools Score: 0%
Charters are not separate, independent public schools, but operate more like alternative district schools.
Online Learning Score: 0%
However, other state policies in Iowa create favorable conditions for access to high-quality online content and high-quality online instruction. The Iowa Legislature Codified the Department of Education’s virtual school program, Iowa Learning Online, providing $4,500,000 over three years in expansion funds. The state’s two full-time virtual academies are in the second year of a three-year pilot, and Iowa’s “one to one” schools/districts continued to increase in 2013.
- Source: Digital Learning Now!
Teacher Quality Score: 65%
Objective evidence of student learning isn’t a main criterion of evaluations. Neither ineffective classroom performance nor multiple unsatisfactory evaluations are grounds for dismissal. Performance can be a factor, but evaluations are too weak for it really to be considered in layoff decisions. There is a state minimum salary and raises could be based on performance reviews and years of experience, but with such weak evaluations, that is nearly impossible.