Branstad presents revised education reform plan


January 6th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Governor Terry Branstad this (Friday) morning unveiled a $25 million plan to reform the state’s education system. Many of the proposals were first released in October. One of the more controversial pieces remaining in the package would require children to repeat third grade if they fail to pass a literacy test. “Promoting an illiterate child is far crueler than holding back a child to get them back on track,” Branstad said at a press conference held at a Des Moines elementary school. Teachers and some school administrators and parents have opposed the idea of holding back third grade students. State Representative Sharon Steckman, a Democrat from Mason City, is a retired educator.

“I think you’ve done irreparable damage to a child sometimes when you hold them back and haven’t given them the opportunity to improve,” Steckman said. Branstad’s other proposals would “make seniority a minor factor” in deciding which teachers should be laid off when a school district is forced to make cuts. Teachers would also be evaluated annually instead of every three years, which is the current requirement. Branstad said he will outline how the package would be financed next Tuesday when he delivers the annual Condition of the State Address to the legislature.

link to full legislative brief on education reform proposals:

(Pat Curtis/Radio Iowa)