Professors say Branstad proposal could keep teachers

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IOWA - St. Ambrose University professors responded positively Monday after Iowa Governor Terry Branstad introduced an education reform package.

As previously reported, Branstad wants to increase a teacher's first year minimum salary from $28,000 to $35,000 a year. The proposal adds more funding for education over a five-year time period. It spends $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. Professors at St. Ambrose deal with kids interested in going into the education field regularly.

"I know from personal experience the amount of work that teachers put into their daily routine," St. Ambrose professor Kat Anderson said. "They do not put in 40 hours a week. It's more like 60."

Professors believe that the increase in salary would attract teachers for a longer amount of time. Nationwide, 46% of all teachers quit before their fifth year.

"If the salaries are low, it becomes an unattractive business," St. Ambrose professor Tom Carpenter said. "In the math and sciences, there is such a need in this country to have qualified teachers."

Both professors say there is more to teaching than just what's in the textbooks. They each say that teachers have to help their students through a lot of emotional problems as well.

"There are so many more facets to teaching than just making sure that kids know their stuff and pass a test," Anderson said.

The plan would have to pass Iowa's state legislature, which was sworn in on Monday. If approved, Branstad's plan would not take effect until the 2013-2014 school year.