EDUCATION GOALS: Branstad Talks Reform Plan

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Gov. Terry Branstad laid out goals for students and teachers for the rest of the decade Monday.

He says in the past 10 years Iowa students have fallen from among the best in reading and math scores to the middle of the pack. The governor says he wants students’ scores for fourth grade reading and eighth grade math to be in the top 10 by 2019.

A Des Moines principal says the key to achieving better performance is collaboration with teachers and administrators, and everyone needs to realize how difficult a job educators have.

“Make no mistake about it, being a teacher is difficult. It is the most tasking job that there is out there and being a teacher leader is that much more difficult because you’re responsible for leading the rest of the department, the rest of your staff in a direction that’s going to be best for kids,” says Matthew Smith, Principal at Des Moines North High School.

Critics question whether taking a top teacher out of the classroom to train others leaves a lesser educator in charge of that teacher’s students.

But Smith argues that top performing teacher will now help educate four or five times as many students by training other teachers.