Iowa education reforms unveiled (AUDIO)

The governor’s education czar, Linda Fandel, and Jason Glass, his Dept. of Education director, started a briefing at 8 a.m. this Monday morning. Fandel began, calling it a “blueprint on how we can transform Iowa schools.”

AUDIO of 56 minute briefing

Glass took over, saying the “framework” of the blue print was built looking at high performing schools in other states and around the world. Access and equity for students have been addressed before in Iowa, according to Glass, and he pointed to previous efforts to improve the competency and quality of the teaching profession.

He said all these are positives to build on, but they also represent areas to improve upon.

“Having great teachers and principals in every building, he said.  Providing scholarships to high-performing students, raising GPA for getting into teaching and administration programs at the college level and raising starting pay are among the proposals.  They want a mentor and master teacher system in every school in the state.  A single website to post all education jobs in Iowa is another proposal.  “We’d like to stitch that system more closely together,” Glass said.

Glass said Branstad also wants to “expand alternate pathways” into teaching and administration. “We’ve been systematically excluding talent from our workforce,” Glass said.

[Read more…]

The politics of the state universities

The top two leaders of the Board of Regents — the nine-member board which governs the University of Iowa, Iowa State University & the University of Northern Iowa — have submitted their resignations. Republican Governor Terry Branstad had asked Regents president David Miles to resign so he could appoint his own person to lead the board.  Miles resisted, but has now resigned.

Read the resignation letter from Miles below:

July 11, 2011

Fellow Regents:

As you are aware, in May Governor Branstad called me to ask that I resign as president of the

Iowa Board of Regents rather than serve out my statutory term to April 30, 2012. A couple of days later he made the same request of president pro tem Jack Evans.

Jack and I visited, and because the president and president pro tem are elected to two year terms by the Board and do not serve at the pleasure of the Governor, we respectfully declined to act on the Governor’s unprecedented request. We believe this to be an important principle.

[Read more…]