More Iowa education task forces weigh in
October 17th, 2012 by Ric Hanson
The members of four of six state task forces studying how to improve education have released their final reports. The task force looking at the school calendar is recommending that local school districts should set the length of the school day while encouraging after school programs for students. They also said state law should be changed to require one-thousand-80 hours instead of 180 days, and said the current law on the start of the school year needs clarifying. The task forces looking at teacher and administration evaluation both recommend new systems to conduct those evaluations. A task force that looked at how much teachers should be paid released its recommendation last week. Education Department director, Jason Glass, said at that time that the recommendations of all six task forces will play a role in improving the quality of education.
“We need to hold people accountable, we need to be defining what an effective teacher is, determining what that looks like, and if it is not happening, we need to have systems and plans in place to ensure that, because were are talking about our children here, and they deserve the best educator that our system can put in place,” Glass says. The director was asked at the time about the link between the evaluation and the increase in compensation for teachers.
“I don’t think at least any member of the task force that released this report today, nor my administration at the Department of Education believes that we are going to use evaluation by itself as a way to dramatically improve the teaching profession,” he says, “or dramatically improve the performance of our system. We really need the right balance of pressure and support.” Two other state task forces are continuing to work on their recommendations. A final report from the task force on Early Childhood Assessment is due November 15th, while the Competency-Based Instruction Task Force’s preliminary report is due January 15th.