Republicans in the Iowa Senate have voted to repeal the requirement that Iowa K-12 schools employ a teacher librarian. Schools could instead hire someone who has worked in a public library. The bill would also let schools offer two rather than four units of a world language and offer two rather than three fine arts options, like music and art, but not theater.

Senator Tim Kraayenbrink, a Republican from Fort Dodge, said rural schools, in particular, are unable to hire teachers for some courses. “This bill gives more local control to school districts and school boards in their requirements by allowing them more flexibility within courses and offerings,” he said.

Democrats in the Senate voted against the bill. “Flexibility — what it really translates to is permission to cut,” Senator Herman Quirmbach of Ames said. “…We’re going to reduce programs, we’re going to limit opportunities, we’re going to shortchange our kids.”

The bill would remove a requirement that sex ed classes include information about AIDS, but that section of the bill was not debated by the Senate. The bill also says schools would no longer be required to teach technology literacy to all students.

Radio Iowa