Skip to Content

About the Iowa Department of Education

On this page...

The Iowa Department of Education (DE) works with the Iowa State Board of Education (State Board) to provide support, supervision, and oversight for the state education system that includes public elementary and secondary schools, nonpublic schools that receive state accreditation, area education agencies (AEAs), community colleges, and teacher preparation programs.

 

Organization & Structure

The DE employs approximately 235 people in four major divisions: Division of Community Colleges, Division of School Finance and Support Services, Division of Communication and Information Services, and Division of Learning and Results. Although the state libraries, vocational rehabilitation, and public television remain affiliated with the Department of Education, their operations have expanded and developed into independent entities with independent boards.

 

History

The Department was created by the 35th General Assembly in 1913 and was originally called the Department of Public Instruction. The current name was adopted in 1986.

In its early years, the Department was charged with working with the many small, isolated school buildings to build a formal system of public education that included organized districts with defined duties and boundaries, as well as specific qualifications for teachers. While the state department was established to provide oversight, local schools maintained the authority to set many of the rules and requirements for their own students. This system of "local responsibility" - based on the belief that local residents have the greatest interest in assuring their children's success - continues today. As Iowa progressed over the decades with greater diversity in business, industry, and population, the public education system evolved to reflect and encompass those changes. In the mid 1960s, a system of 15 public, two-year community colleges was established to provide more students the opportunity for continued education and training beyond high school. In the mid-1970s, the system of AEAs was developed to provide regional support for local schools and their teachers. Originally, the community colleges and the AEAs shared the same service area boundaries. In recent years, several AEAs have merged to provide greater efficiency in regions with declining populations.

 

Printed from the Iowa Department of Education website on April 19, 2014 at 5:39pm.