Education: Is Iowa Out of Sync?

This week U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan outlined his four pronged reform agenda.

Iowa, however, misses the mark on two of his four priorities:

  1. raising state standards
  2. and rewarding the best teachers.

Iowa is still the only state in the nation without state standards. And, just six weeks ago Governor Culver signed a bill that makes rewarding good teachers virtually impossible.

In 2008 Iowa House Republicans lead a bi-partisian effort to enact rigorous state standards. Governor Culver and his Democrats stopped that effort and took Iowa down the watered-down path of “model core curriculum.” They made matters worse by saying that the weaker, untested model core isn’t required for another five years.

When Governor Culver signed SF 445 on April 8, 2009, Phase I funding was eliminated. His signature on that bill also requires new collective bargaining of “a single salary system.” This all but eliminates any chance of a school district rewarding the good teachers with any kind of incentive pay. Gone too is any mention of performance-based pay in Iowa’s Teacher Quality/Teacher Compensation law.

  • Jeff Berger, Iowa Department of Education

    Please do your homework, because this type of reporting is not helpful. Iowa has legislatively-mandated content standards and has legislatively mandated a comprehensive core curriculum. This is all within the last three years. Your statement about Iowa being the only state in the nation without state standards is simply false.

  • JasonC

    Under Iowa law the core curriculum is NOT mandatory. On July 1, 2012 it will be for grades 8 – 12. On July 1, 2014 it will be mandatory for grades K-8. See Iowa Code section 280.3.

    The model core curriculum was first put in Iowa law in 2005. That means it will take 7 years for it to become “mandatory” for high school students and 9 years to become mandatory for elementary and middle school kids.