imageIowa Governor Terry Branstad announced his administration’s new education blueprint.  The blueprint was written by Jason Glass who is the Director of the Iowa Department of Educaiton, Linda Fandel who is Governor Branstad’s special assistant for education, and Byron Darnall who is Jason Glass’ policy assistant.  Some of the main points of the blueprint are these:

  • Attract and support talented educators with an increase in starting teacher pay, more selective teacher preparation programs and improved recruiting and hiring practices.
  • Create educator leadership roles in schools and develop a meaningful peer-based evaluation system that requires annual and multiple evaluations of all educators.
  • Develop a four-tier teacher compensation system with Apprentice, Career, Mentor and Master levels and substantial pay raises for teachers who move up. Add other options for increasing teacher pay, such as work in extended day or year programs.
  • Establish a definition of educator effectiveness and tie job protections to an evaluation system based on this definition.
  • Free up principals from some managerial tasks to lead and support great teaching.
  • Improve and expand the Iowa Core to put Iowa’s standards on par with the highest-performing systems in the world.
  • Develop an assessment framework that includes measuring whether children start kindergarten ready to learn and high-stakes End-of-Course assessments for core subjects in high school. Have all Iowa 11th graders take a state-funded college-entrance exam.
  • Provide value-added measures for all districts, schools, grades and educators that take into account student background characteristics and consider student growth.
  • Seek a waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind law and work with key education groups and leaders statewide to design a new accountability system.
  • Ensure children learn basic literacy by the end of third grade with high-quality reading programs, supports for schools and students, and an end to social promotion for third-graders who read poorly.
  • Nurture innovation with funding for transformative ideas, greater statutory waiver authority for the Iowa Department of Education and pathways to allow for high-quality charter schools in Iowa.
  • Create a state clearinghouse of high-quality online courses available to any student in Iowa, and back the courses with licensed teachers and the best online learning technology available.
  • Set goals for student outcomes, including a 95 percent high school graduation rate and top statewide performance on national standardized assessments.

Where’s the local control?  If hiring practices are determined, if new teacher/staff structures are dictated, and pay structures are determined by the state what is the purpose of the local school board?  I’m not saying all of the ideas are bad ones, but we need to be as concerned about the means as we are the end.  Not all pathways to reform are created equal.  It looks to me that any semblance of local control is on its last leg with the Branstad administration.  While school boards will still exist they will have essentially been stripped of their policy making ability.

That alienates parents as it is infinitely easier for a parent to bring concerns to their school board than it would be to bring them to an educrat in Des Moines.  The school board is directly accountable to their constituency, not so with staff within the Department of Education.

They want to address some of the right problems, and do have some creative ideas.  This blueprint represents the wrong approach.

You can read the blueprint below:

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad’s Education Blueprint
 

8 comments
  1. I thought the best part was ending 3rd grade social promotion….now if it was just extended to EVERY grade – as it should be, he might have something.

    Also, not enough on parental choice – totally ignored.

  2. No real surprise from “I luv the teacher union endorsements Terry” here Shane . . .  just think: If you hadn’t supported Rod Roberts for guv . . . this probably wouldn’t be happening right now . . .

    1. I’m humbled that you think my endorsement tumbled BVP.  Just think if BVP won the nomination it is entirely possible Culver would still be our Governor.  As much as I disagree with Jason Glass he is far, far better than the last Director of the Department of Education.  At least they’re not hostile.

      Also keep in mind that I didn’t endorse Branstad, so I didn’t vote for this.

      1. I don’t think your “endorsement” did a cotton pickin’ thing. What I do think is that there were enough turkeys like you that bled the paltry 15% or so away from Vander Plaats in the primary voting for Rod aka “the spoiler” Roberts that Bumstead “Poster Child of the ISEA” won.

        I am no great fan of BVP, even less so now than then, but one thing he isn’t is a big gubermint socialist that would strip the local control of our schools away from parents and school boards. And just for a return to reality, if I had run my three-legged, one-eyed, deaf Airedale against Culver. . . the dog would have won.

        I am so sick and tired of “oh this guy isn’t as big a socialist as the last guy” all it means is that we lose our freedoms just a wee bit slower. And it just gives “their” side credibility.

        No worrys though . . . the grassroots opposition to this cradle-to-grave socialist control over our children is growing – one can only hope that this nonsense will be butchered like a Christmas goose by the legislature. That is if we can find enough “Republicans” with a spine. Folks like me will be helping them to find one.

      2. Four things. 1. I was joking, but my endorsement did manage to tick you off so it did accomplish at least one cotton-picking thing. 2. I didn’t vote for Branstad in the primary, so sorry I’m not going to apologize for what is currently going on. 3. You are making an assumption that every person who voted for Roberts would have voted for BVP instead. 4. I’m convinced that BVP would have been a disaster as Governor, just witbh different problems.

      3. In all fairness to you, I am glad that you at least are resisting this takeover of the local schools by the educrats, albeit “timid” at best.

        Your “endorsement” of Roberts didn’t “tick me off” any more than it had any effect on anything else. My guess is that the only two people who noticed that you “endorsed” Roberts was you and . . . maybe . . .  Roberts. We seem to be having trouble getting beyond your inestimable belief in your own self-worth. If I am “ticked off,” it is because people LIKE YOU (got that? . . . NOT YOU – LIKE YOU), were stupid enough to vote for Roberts, and allow what was inevitable in this scenario . . . i.e. “30 tax increase Terry” (soon to be 31) getting yet another opportunity to pretend to be a “conservative” all the while he is helping along the leftist agenda in Iowa, as is witnessed by this attempt to steal our schools from us, further increase the control of the NEA/ISEA over us, raise the gas tax AGAIN, etc.
         
        You are wrong that I make the assumption that “every person who voted for Roberts would have voted for BVP instead.” In fact, your assertion makes no sense. Why would I recognize how stupid people are to vote for a 15% at best  vote getter, who clearly was running just to make sure that Bumstead won, and then be smart enough to actually recognize how misled they were and do something to end their stupidity? You may not have voted “for” Bumstead, but you definitely did vote “against” Vander Plaats.
         
        Remember: ignorance can be corrected . .  . stupidity lasts forever.

        I do believe that BVP would have had some issues as Governor . . . no doubt about it; he has some “issues” now (and did then); but now as then, you fail to articulate just exactly what you mean when you say he “would have been a disaster as Governor.”  Since you refuse to do so, all I can say is that if you don’t rate the theft of our local schools from parents and local school board control, and a “Republican” Governor placing yet more power (and money) in the hands of the ISEA/NEA as a “disaster” . . . . . then you have proven the truth of the sentiment above.

      4. If it didn’t bother you, why are you complaining on my blog?  You actions contradict what you say.  Not that it really matters, seriously I don’t really care – especially since you are hiding behind anonymity.  We are free to choose the candidates that we believe best line up with our ideals and principles.  For me that was neither BVP or Branstad.  Yes I did vote against BVP – I voted for Roberts.  You voted for BVP, and I don’t begrudge you of that decision.

        Secondly, nobody appreciates being called stupid.  I wasn’t being mislead.  I just couldn’t with a clear conscience vote for BVP or Branstad in the primary.  That was a decision I made after a lot of research and after much prayer.

        I also didn’t say what is happening with education wasn’t a disaster.  Do you think I’d be blogging about it and speaking out against it if I didn’t think it was?  My guess is that I’ve spent more time on this issue than you have both publicly and behind-the-scenes.  I did say BVP would be a disaster in other ways.

        Tell you what, we both believe this blueprint is a disaster in the making, let’s stop dwelling in the past and focus on making sure it isn’t implemented.  This comment thread is a waste of both of our time.

      5. Complaining on your blog? No . . . attempting to educate . . . and what you call “dwelling in the past” can also be called “learning from our mistakes.”

        Rest assured that if all you want for comments on your blog are the nicey-nice, flowery and fawning “Oh Shane, you are such a nice guy and we just love everything you do and say because it is you” clap-trap, then feel free to say so and I will be happy to leave you in ignorant bliss. If on the other hand, you are capable of greater things than just providing “bread and circuses” to entertain the faux “conservatives” in Iowa, then rise above, think “out of the box” . . . and debate/discuss.

        I stand by my original post, i.e. that we had a chance to be in a better place than we are now, and Robert’s supporters, including you, chose against it. If Rod Roberts had been in a solid number two position rather than BVP instead of a distant third, then I would have happily pulled the lever for Roberts because he was infinitely better than what we have – and even with all his foibles, Vander Plaats was too. Unless you are willing to make the long stretch that BVP would have been worse than Bumstead, then please “man-up” and take responsibility for your choices that helped bring us to where we are. If you struggle with that being called “stupid,” then how about “it wasn’t very bright?”

        I will concede that up to this point, you have spent more time on this issue than I have, “both publicly and behind-the-scenes” . . . but I am just getting warmed up. And I have spent infinitely more time (trust me: I am older than you) than you trying to thwart many other attempts to grow the nanny state in Iowa.

        “I did say BVP would be a disaster in other ways.” – really? Refresh me . . . in a sentence or two – or just link the article(s). I would still like to know what you think BVP would have done that would even come close to this Marxist idiocy, since you rate them both as “disastrous.”

        As far as “hiding behind anonymity,” I’m in good company as many of the founders who debated in the American Constitutional debates did exactly the same thing: i.e. they took their public persona out of the debate. So if you think there is something inherently “evil” about posting under a pseudonym, you would find the likes of Noah Webster (“A Citizen of America”), Patrick Henry (“Senex”), Roger Sherman (“A Countryman”), Benjamin Rush (“Harrington”), and Richard Henry Lee (likely “Federal Farmer”) . . . to be “evil men.”

        If they are evil in your eyes, then so be it . . . I am too.

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