Iowa’s Plan for Education Reform
Every student deserves a great teacher and access to excellent schools. We must pass common sense student-focused reforms that ensure a quality education for every Iowa child.
In Iowa, we can put student interests first through the following:
We should evaluate teachers in a fair and meaningful way so that we can reward excellence in the classroom and we can support teachers who need improvement.
We’re focusing on teacher quality because teachers are the most powerful way for schools to ensure a quality education for our kids. An effective teacher is the most important ingredient to a student's success. Because of this, fair and meaningful teacher evaluations are critical. We must be able to recognize and reward excellence in the classroom and identify and support teachers that need improvement.
Teacher evaluations should be clear and consistent and based on multiple criteria, with the most significant factor being measurements of student learning.
Education reform in Iowa needs to include meaningful teacher evaluation. This is a big step toward ensuring an excellent teacher in every classroom.
To recruit the best teachers into the profession, we need new alternative pathways to teacher certification.
Whether the candidate is a recent college graduate or a mid-career professional, we need to provide alternative quality certification programs to recruit as many great teachers as possible. What matters most is whether they are a great teacher, not how they got to the classroom.
We need to expand the pathways to Iowa State Teacher Certification so we can recruit talented Iowans into the classroom.
Every student deserves to attend a great school regardless of their zip code. We must expand the number of quality school options, including high performing public charter schools, so they can serve more students.
All parents, regardless of income, should have high-quality public schools from which to choose. Public charter schools – public schools that operate outside of the district – have greater autonomy and therefore greater flexibility to try out innovative programs to meet their students’ needs. These schools can also serve as models for innovation and can help drive needed change in traditional schools.
In addition parents should have good information about their school options to enable them to make an informed choice about which school is best for their child.
Education reform in Iowa must include the expansion of high performing public charter schools so that more Iowa students have quality public school options.
Teacher tenure should be used to reward excellent teachers, not to protect ineffective ones.
We need to focus our policies first and foremost around the interests of our kids. With due process laws in place, tenure is no longer necessary to protect teachers from arbitrary dismissal. Yet teacher tenure, in its current form, essentially gives teachers a job for life, regardless of their performance, and prevents districts from being able to dismiss teachers who are consistently ineffective and unable to improve. This is harmful to students. No student should be assigned to a classroom with an ineffective teacher, and job security for adults shouldn't come before the interests of students.
Teacher tenure should instead be reserved for teachers demonstrate effectiveness in the classroom.
Education reform in Iowa should include tenure reform so that it is reserved for excellent teachers.