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EDUCATION REFORM: First Day Not Just Ceremony

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Iowa legislators often spend the first day of a new legislative session shaking hands, posing for pictures and promising to work together. However, by the time they gaveled in for the start of the 85th General Assembly on Monday, they already had a challenge from Governor Terry Branstad. He wants them to pass his education reform. 

The start of the Iowa legislative session is often something of a combination of past time and class time. It is like baseball's opening day with the national anthem and the patriotism that fills spirits with it. It is also like the first day of school with freshmen trying to figure out where everything is.

Lawmakers now have to figure out what to do with Governor Branstad's $187 million education plan. He said, "Let's pass transformational educational reform that's going to make a difference in improving educational opportunities for our students."

The governor laid out his ideas:

  • Raise starting teacher pay $7,000 to $35,000 a year.
  • Give experienced teachers more to mentor beginning educators.
  • Reduce the teaching class load on new teachers.

Education Director Jason Glass said, "The center piece of the governor's proposal is a re-imagining of the teaching profession."

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