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AEA Toolkit

Protect Iowa's AEAs
What are area education agencies (AEAs) and why do we need to take action? Iowa has nine AEAs that serve as regional educational service centers for both public and private schools. They provide a range of curriculum resources, instructional materials, and expert guidance to support effective teaching and learning for the whole child. A new proposal in the legislature would greatly impact the services AEAs are able to provide for students and staff and the ability for communities to have local control of the community.

How to use this toolkit

  • Get talking points
  • Contact your legislators and the governor's office 
  • Advocate publicly by sharing our social media graphics

TAKE ACTION: Contact your elected officials and ask them to protect our AEAs!

MARCH 1 UPDATE

HF 2612, an amended version of the AEA proposal, passed the Iowa House on Feb. 29. While ISEA remains in opposition to all proposals to change AEA services, the House’s version of this bill does the least harm to our AEA system. Please continue to put pressure on the Senate and governor to protect our AEAs and assemble a task force to study the essential services provided by the AEAs and ensure each stakeholder has a voice in the conversation, including educators and parents.  

TAKE ACTION: Contact your elected officials and ask them to protect our AEAs!

CONTACT

FOLLOW THESE STEPS/TIPS WHEN CONTACTING ELECTED OFFICIALS

  • Introduce yourself, explain where you live, and that you are their constituent.
  • Share a personal story: How have AEA services helped you or your family?
  • Add a talking point listed below - find one that connects to your story.
  • Keep your email brief and respectful.
  • Use a personal email address and write your letter in your personal time.
  • Make sure to not share student information, private data, or locations.

AEA TALKING POINTS

AEA TALKING POINTS: Iowa's AEAs deliver ...

  • Equity and access: AEAs ensure all students, regardless of location or background, have access to high-quality educational opportunities and resources. They bridge the gap between rural and urban schools and support underserved communities. AEAs offer ALL of Iowa’s schools the ability to access specialists, equipment, and resources, ensuring equity among large and small schools in urban and rural areas.
  • Services for all schools: All school districts have access to many high-quality services and opportunities from AEAs. No school district lacks vital services because they cannot afford them or those services are unavailable in their area. AEAs supply them. Changing this service means unequal access for schools across the state. Every child is entitled to equal access to robust learning experiences regardless of their ZIP code.
  • Economy of scale: By providing services regionally, AEAs can leverage economies of scale and deliver programs more efficiently than individual school districts could alone. This helps save taxpayer dollars while still providing high-quality services. They help ensure equity among all our schools so everyone can access the needed services.
  • Specialized services: AEAs offer specialized services not typically available within individual school districts, such as early childhood education, special education, career and technical education, and professional development for specific subject areas.
  • Large vs. small schools: Large school districts may be able to share more resources or purchase, rent, or contract equipment and agencies among the buildings. Small school districts, which make up most of the schools in Iowa, may not have these options. AEAs help level the playing field for all our schools and students.
  • Professional development: AEAs offer a wide range of professional development programs for teachers and administrators, helping them stay current on best practices and improve their skills. This ultimately benefits students who reap the rewards of better-equipped educators.
  • Data and research: AEAs collect and analyze data on student performance and educational trends, which helps inform policy decisions and improve academic outcomes. They provide valuable insights that can be used to target resources and support struggling students.
  • Leadership and Guidance: AEAs provide leadership and guidance to school districts on various educational issues, from curriculum and assessment to technology integration and school improvement planning.
  • Compliance and accountability: AEAs assist school districts with meeting state and federal regulations, ensuring educational quality and accountability.
  • Who fills in if AEAs are changed: Classroom teachers, Education Support Professionals, and Administrators must fill in for the services removed from those provided by our AEAs – specifically in rural areas where contracting out is not an option. That means school employee workloads increase exponentially.
  • No bloat in the current system: AEAs follow the IA Code, which does not allow them to spend more than 5% of their total expenditures on administrative compensation. The percentage of administrative total spending in all of Iowa’s nine AEAs for all administrators is lower than the 5% limit.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

SSB 3073 and HSB 542: The governor’s proposed legislation on AEAs.

HF 2612: The House's version of the AEA legislation

SF 2386: The Senate's version of the AEA legislation

Check out the AEAs Advocacy Web Page for additional resources.

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The Iowa State Education Association works to promote, advance, and protect public education, the education profession, and the rights and interests of our members. When you join the ISEA, you’re joining forces with the power and influence of 3.2 million members nationwide.