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Bill would remove transfer limits in five Iowa school districts

DES MOINES — A bill in the Iowa House would allow all students to transfer out of five Iowa school districts where diversity plans currently limit open enrollment into other districts.

Under current law, administrators in the Des Moines, Davenport, Waterloo, Postville and West Liberty Public Schools may limit the number of transfers, to maintain a student body with diverse economic and racial backgrounds.

Iowa Association of School Boards lobbyist Emily Piper said there are good reasons to deny some requests to transfer to a neighboring district.

“There is solid research that shows that having a diverse group of people from socio-economic backgrounds in the same building, in the same classroom actually helps improve student achievement,” Piper said during a House subcommittee hearing on the bill.

Drew Klein, the state director for Americans for Prosperity, called opponents of the change “edu-crats” who are too focused on “systems and institutions” rather than on parents’ wishes.

“Families make different decisions for a multitude of different reasons,” Klein said.

And Governor Reynolds has said she wants the open enrollment limit in these five districts lifted. The proposal has cleared a subcommittee and is eligible for debate in the House Education Committee.

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