This week the Legislature’s main focus was on House File 215, addressing education reform and education funding.
House Republicans spent a great deal of time over the past year listening to Iowans and hearing their concerns on the state of Iowa’s education system. Iowans recognize that the current method of investing in education is producing the same results year after year, while we continue to be passed by other states and globally. In 1992, Iowa’s students ranked first in the country and by 2012 they had slipped to 25th.
Last summer, House Republicans committed to Iowa voters that they would focus on education reform by developing bold ideas that bring accountability and innovation to Iowa’s education system. House File 215 is the proposal House Republicans are putting forth to fulfill their commitment to Iowans.
–This is a record investment in Iowa schools and teachers – at full implementation it would be an investment of $157 million.
— Supplemental State Aid (formerly known as Allowable Growth) would provide an additional $69 million in Fiscal Year 2014 and $43 million in Fiscal Year 2015. With that, the bill promises the state will pick up the resulting property tax increase of around $8 million in each of the next two years, protecting property tax payers.
–Creates career pathways for teachers, including a structure for initial, career, model, mentor, lead, and emeritus teachers. The plan will provide incentives for teachers in high-needs fields and create a system where the best teachers are being used throughout the building, providing continual professional development, raising the performance of other teachers, and spreading excellent practice throughout each and every school building.
–Through the new changes implemented, we are heading towards systems where teacher and administrator evaluations will mean something and be based on a number of factors. Communities will be able to see quantitatively how their local schools are performing. Student assessments will test students beyond a bubble sheet for today’s learning standards, giving teachers and administrators the feedback and tools they need.
–The reform bill rewards teachers that excel and helps teachers that need to improve, again bringing more accountability to taxpayers and ensuring more accountability from the teachers.
–We know that every school district across the state has different needs and faces different challenges. In this plan, there is flexibility built in which allows local districts to implement innovative systems that best fit their own district.
–The proposal implements home rule authority to empower locally-elected school boards. This again empowers local districts and gives parents more input in the process.
This plan focuses state education spending on achievement-driven reforms that align our investments with practices and programs that have demonstrated improving student performance.
We are investing in a strategy that brings the best practices of high-performing school districts to all of our schools.
The bill passed the House, 52 to 44 and was sent to the Senate for their consideration.
If you have any questions on this bill or any others, please feel free to contact me at my office at (515) 281-3521 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org