Concerns About Education Plan at Branstad Stops in Cedar Falls, Marion; Governor Says It's Not Final
Iowa Governor Terry Branstad spoke on his education blueprint for reform and took questions from audiences in the two towns.
Teachers and parents expressed concern about Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad's education plan during stops in Cedar Falls and Marion on Tuesday.
After a forum at Cedar Falls High School, Jim Young, a fourth- grade teacher at Hansen Elementary, said he was afraid teacher input wouldn’t make it into Branstad's education reform plan.
“People who were farthest from the classroom are making these decisions,” he said.
The Iowa governor and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds reminded a group of more than 100 residents, teachers, school administrators and a few classes at Linn-Mar Learning and Resource Center in Marion, that the blueprint is -- as its name suggests -- not final.
"It is just that — it is a blueprint. Gov. Branstad and I have been going to Iowa seeking comments on the blueprint. Revisions will be made," Reynolds said.
After a stop in Marion in the early afternoon, Branstad traveled up the road to Cedar Falls where he addressed nearly 200 teachers, parents, concerned community members and a handful of students in the Cedar Falls High School’s auditorium.
The most pervasive concerns from the audience centered on how teacher pay would be determined and how the blueprint would support students.
While some thanked the governor for bringing attention to education reform, most in a long line that stepped up to the microphone asked pointed questions about details of the plan. The overall tone was skeptical, with many questions critical of the blueprint receiving rounds of applause. The crowd often murmured loudly at the governor’s responses.
After a question about how developing a culture of collaboration would work if teachers, working on collaborative teams, were supposed to be competing for pay raises, the governor said, “Competition makes us all stronger.”
“No, No!” many people in the crowd shouted.
“We’re competing against other teams,” the governor replied.
“No, we’re not!” crowd members yelled back.
“In sports, in business…” Branstad started, before being cut off by a shout of, “Education isn’t business!”
Not all the feedback from the audience was negative on Tuesday. Special assistant for education Linda Fandel, a member of the governor’s team, was cheered when she said the blueprint would not focus just on test scores, but on teacher support, curriculum development and other things with the primary goal of student support.
A final recommendation with a price tag will be sent to the Iowa legislature in January, Branstad and Reynolds said. Details of the plan can be found here.
What do you think is most important for the future of Iowa's educational system?