On this page...
- Organization & Structure
- Vision, Mission, Goals, Guiding Principles, & Strategic Plan
- Policy & Issue Information
The Iowa Department of Education (the Department) works with the Iowa State Board of Education (State Board) to provide oversight, supervision, and support 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.
The Department is organized and structured to meet the needs of its constituents and its charge as a state agency. More Information
The Department and the State Board review progress toward the goals in their strategic plan each year at an annual retreat. For more information, contact Gail Sullivan, Chief of Staff, 515-281-5296.
Iowa students will become productive citizens in a democratic society, and successful participants in a global community.
Champion excellence for all Iowa students through leadership and service.
- All children will enter school ready to learn.
- All PK-12 students will achieve at a high level.
- Individuals will pursue postsecondary education in order to drive economic success.
- All students can learn at a high level.
- Students respond best to challenging expectations.
- Safety and respect are essential to student learning.
- Educators need ongoing support and professional development to improve student achievement.
- Improving student performance requires a broad constituency of support.
- A quality education system is essential to a successful democracy, lifelong learning, and a vibrant economy.
The Department and the State Board have developed clear and detailed priorities to guide their work. More Information
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 the state 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 Area Education Agencies (AEAs) was developed to provide regional support for local schools and their teachers. Originally, the community colleges and the AEAs shared the same service are boundaries. In recent years, several AEAs have merged to provide greater efficiency in regions with declining population