Branstad proposes Iowa education reform measures

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Iowa Governor Terry Branstad says schools and educators are stuck in a system in Iowa that needs to be updated.

The declaration was part of a statement Branstad made Monday, January 14, 2013 as part of his proposal to reform education in Iowa.

He wants to expand online learning, as well as opportunities, evaluation systems and compensation for teachers. 

The proposal starts with more funding – $14 million in the first year, $72 million in the second year and up to $187 million when his proposed reforms are fully implemented in five years.

The money would be spent first on establishing a new compensation and leadership system for teachers in Iowa.  That includes raising the minimum starting salary for teachers from $28,000 to $35,000.   It also has top teachers mentoring and coaching other teachers, and gives new teachers a reduced teaching load their first year so they can spend more time learning from veteran teachers.

The reform package also seeks to expand the existing Teach Iowa initiative, focused on hiring teachers for hard-to-hire subjects such as math and science.   Reforms would also include improved evaluations for teachers and administrators in Iowa.

One of the proposed reforms is to implement the use of diploma seals to identify graduating high school students who meet standards to demonstrate they are college-ready and career-ready.  Governor Branstad also wants to expand online learning, especially for students in small districts that don’t always offer some courses in their regular curriculum.