Charter schools, Domestic, Education Quality, Elementary / Primary / Junior, High school / Secondary 2, Institutions, Landscape, Opinion, Policy, Public education, Required, School teachers, Students - Written by on Wednesday, October 19, 2011 7:00 - 0 Comments

Thinking Outside the Legislative Process: Iowa’s Education Reform Plan

By Mpls55408 via Flickr under CreativeCommons

We continue our look across the United States at how individual states are funding and implementing technology and online learning… because much of the K-12 education funding decisions take place at state and local levels. Iowa typically ranks among the top 5 states of K-12 education. That makes it an influential player in education directions (similar to its role in presidential primaries). At present, we see Iowa examining how online higher education is paving the way for primary and secondary education.

Iowa’s Gov. Terry Branstad recently introduced his own education reform plan, ahead of the legislative process. It will require legislation to enact, but Gov. Branstad is priming that effort with a series of forums to get feedback from parents and students.

The concise, 17-page plan aims to address key aspects of education such as improvements to hiring and compensation of teachers and raising the bar in ways that will enhance student performance and their learning experience. It proposes a new pay-scale for teachers based on criteria such as career development and mentorship. It also proposes higher standards for education that empower schools to provide significant remedial assistance to students who fail so they can improve their performance, a change from the punitive culture of the federal No-Child Left Behind legislation.  And yes, online education made the cut on which the Quad City Times wrote:

The plan specifically calls for expanding online education by creating a statewide clearinghouse of high quality online courses available to any student in Iowa. Online education is exploding for colleges and private training. Our elementary and high school students should enjoy those benefits as well.

It also enhances credit opportunities for students who demonstrate mastery of a subject without “traditional seat time” in class. It’s a great example of how this reform focuses on outcomes, not processes.

Via Iowa Gets Education Plan Worth Fighting For – An Editorial by the Quad City Times and Published in The Gazette

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