House Passes Bold Education Reform Plan

(DES MOINES) – On Wednesday morning, House Republicans  passed House File 215, a bill that brings bold, accountable and innovative reforms to Iowa’s education system.

In 1992, Iowa’s students ranked first in the country and by 2012 they had slipped to middle of the pack. House Republicans recognize that now is the time for real change to help Iowa students compete in a global economy.

The bill:

  • 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 taxpayers.
  • Creates career pathways for teachers, including a structure for initial, career, model, mentor, and lead teachers.  The plan will provide incentives for teachers in high-needs schools and creates 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.
  • Allows communities 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.
  • Rewards teachers that excel and helps teachers that need to improve, again bringing more accountability to taxpayers and ensuring more accountability from the teachers.
  • Allows flexibility 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.

House Republicans are investing in a strategy that brings the best practices of high-performing school districts to all of Iowa’s schools

Supporters of the bill include job creators such as:  3M, DuPont, John Deere, Wellmark, the National Federation of Independent Business, the Association of Business and Industry, Hy-Vee, and the Iowa Chamber Alliance.

The bill passed the House 52 to 44 and now heads to the Senate for their consideration.