Iowa Governor Branstad Presents Education Reform Package

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad spoke about education reform at an event at Ankeny High School, which was the governor's fourth community forum since he unveiled his education blueprint last week. The blueprint will form the basis of a legislative package for education reform in Iowa that the governor plans to send to the General Assembly when it reconvenes in January, writes Max Wiser at the Quad-City Times.

Branstad's 18-page education reform bill titled "One Unshakable Vision: World-Class Schools for Iowa" calls for:

"changing the way teachers are paid and evaluated, institutes a third-grade reading test students must pass to reach the fourth and a calls for a series of the end-of-course exams high school seniors must pass to graduate."

Education has been a hallmark issue in Iowa for more than a century, but the fact remains that the state has fallen behind many other states in the past few years who have significantly improved their education systems, writes David Bartholomew at the Iowa State Daily.

Under this new education bill, students in K-12 public school will be subjected to a more intense Iowa core curriculum, third graders will be required to take a reading test in order to move on to the fourth grade, ninth graders will be asked to take a standardized test that would compare them to other students on an international basis, and 11th graders will be required to take a college entrance exam, writes Bartholomew.

"Bill Dickey, who described himself as "just a citizen", who attended the Ankeny School event, asked the governor how he would pay for the plan and criticized the governor for pushing zero allowable growth in the state's education funding formula during the past legislative session."

Dickey said it would lead to the forced consolidation of schools. Branstad responded that in no way is the plan recommending the reorganization of schools, writes Wiser.

Branstad, however, didn't directly respond to how much he expects the reform package to cost the state. Previously, the governor has avoided the question by saying that those details are being worked out.

10 17, 2011
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