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Iowa Gov. Branstad's education reforms pass in House, move to Senate

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February 23, 2013

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad

By Greg Janetka

DES MOINES, Iowa: Gov. Terry Branstad's (R) education reform package advanced this week, passing in the House along a party-line vote after two days of debate in the Republican-controlled chamber.

Branstad stated, “This morning, the Iowa House passed an education reform plan that will set us on a path to again have the nation’s best schools. This plan will give our teachers a new, 21st century system designed to reward their efforts and ensure great teaching in every classroom. Most importantly, this reform means our students will have the skills they need to compete with their peers across the globe.”[1]

The $157 million plan, known as House File 215, retained most the of governor's proposals, but with some changes. In its current form, the legislation would raise minimum teacher salaries from $28,000 to $32,000, less than Branstad's proposed $35,000.[2]

Other key components of the legislation:[3]

  • A new system for evaluating teachers and administrators to be created by The Iowa Department of Education
  • Home-school instructors can teach their child and up to four unrelated children, and can instruct their child in driver education classes.
  • School districts are required to develop performance goals and to be evaluated by the Iowa Department of Education

The bill now goes to the Senate, where its fate is uncertain. Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal said Democrats are working on their own bill. “We’ll take a look at their bill. We’ll see what’s in it and we’ll proceed in a diligent way to go through the governor’s recommendations and we’ll probably add some ideas of our own as well,” he stated.[4]

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