IOWA EDUCATION: Two Bills Discussed

The Statehouse was busy Wednesday with Senators working on their version of the Education Reform Bill.

In a packed room, the Senate Education Committee met to discuss their version of Education Reform.

The Senate Bill includes some of the Governor’s proposals to create teacher leadership and mentorship programs. However, under the Senate version school district can choose between one of three models to use in their school.

“They try to provide additional opportunity for professional development, teachers to collaborate with one another to share their expertise and so forth but under somewhat different implantation and circumstances,” says Senator Herman Quirmbach, Chair of the Senate Education Committee.

The bill also adds several pilot programs, including one to improve opportunities for low-income students.

“That would allow local school district to provide additional assistance things like mentoring, after-school, summer school programs that would help close that achievement gap,” says Senator Quirmbach.

Meantime, a rally was also held pushing for another type of education policy.

“We`re working to remove the barriers that are often there for a parent to make a choice often times that is where they live, sometimes it`s economic issue or income issue,” says Executive Director with the Iowa Alliance for Choice Trish Wilger.

The Iowa Alliance for Choice doesn’t want income to prevent students from attending private schools.

The group believes students should be able to use state funding to offset tuition costs at a school outside the public school system.

“We believe in a strong tradition public and non-public schools in Iowa and one of the things that I think has been important is this has been a bi-partisan issue,” says Senator Jeff Danielson.

The Education Savings Account Bill will be considered in a Sub-Committee meeting Thursday.

The Senate’s Education Reform Bill will go before the Senate Education Committee Thursday and pending approval will then move directly to the floor for debate.