Culver makes education promise; Branstad staff calls it hollow

Governor Chet Culver spoke this afternoon to the School Administrators of Iowa.  Listen to his speech here.  His staff released this news release:

Governor Culver Outlines Education Goals

Past successes set stage for further progress

DES MOINES – Governor Chet Culver today addressed the School Administrators of Iowa Annual Conference in Des Moines. Culver used the occasion to outline the accomplishments of his administration regarding education, and his goals for the future.

“I have a very deep and abiding love for learning and the encouragement of our students in the classroom,” said Culver, a former teacher at Roosevelt and Hoover High Schools in Des Moines. “Just because I serve in elected office does not mean I have lost any of the focus, drive or passion for education that made me want to be in a classroom every day in the first place.”

Accomplishments cited by Culver during his first term in office include raising teacher salaries to the national average, using federal stimulus dollars to save 3,500 teacher jobs, and creating the Statewide Voluntary Preschool Program – the first of its kind in Iowa.

Culver said he intends to build upon past success with progressive goals for the future, including:
• School funding commitment should be set at 4 percent of allowable growth.
• Encouraging Iowa high school students to prepare for college by having the state pay for Advanced Placement test fees.
• A voluntary statewide preschool initiative in every district, so that all 4-year-olds have access to the program.
• Raising the overall graduation rate, and closing the graduation rate gap among minority students and those in poverty.
• Closing the achievement gap for minority students and those in poverty.
• Measurable improvement on test scores each year.
• Making financial literacy a part of Iowa Core Standards.

Culver said his utmost goal is to see Iowa at the top of every list of states that are doing things right in education.

Culver’s Republican opponent is Terry Branstad, the former governor.  Branstad’s campaign issued the following response:

Culver offers more hollow promises during speech to school administrators

(URBANDALE) – Governor Branstad 2010 campaign manager Jeff Boeyink offered the following response to Gov. Culver’s election-year address today to school administrators in Des Moines:

“Gov. Branstad’s goal is to again make Iowa’s education system the best in the country.  In the coming weeks, we will be unveiling Terry Branstad’s education agenda and how his administration will achieve this ambitious goal.

“Governor Culver has failed to keep his many educational promises to teachers, students, and parents, and today again offered more of the same.  He has failed teachers with his slashing of school budgets and the significant teacher layoffs that has caused across the state.  He has failed school boards with a Race to the Top effort that didn’t bring a single dollar of additional resources for our schools but still shackles local districts with more regulations.  And, Governor Culver has failed parents by signing legislation that means parents will be receiving less information about the performance of their children and their children’s school[1].

“Gov. Culver has broken too many of his educational promises to be trusted to get it right the next four years.” 

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.