EDUCATION REFORM: Lawmakers Talk Education

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Governor Branstad made education reform his top priority. But lawmakers have waited until the end to push through some kind of legislation.

The Senate version was assigned to a House conference committee Wednesday.

A capitol insider says there's a good chance representatives could soon start to debate these things like reading requirements for third graders and proficiency tests for high school juniors.

And though it affects them as much as anyone, you may be surprised that teachers aren't losing any sleep over it.

When lawmakers are arguing over when you will show up to work, how much you'll get paid, and to some extent, if you'll have a job at all... Who would sign up for such an uncertain future?

Rachel Tapps of Coon Rapids says, "I want to be a pre-school teacher.  That's been my goal since the beginning of high school."

Rachel says education is about passion, and her father couldn't be more proud of Rachel's decision to become a teacher.

Roger Tapps says "I fully support her.  She's gotta have a passion and I'm all about that."

Roger, a former school board president, brought Rachel to DMACC's first-ever "discover education day."  The college brought in teachers and administrators to tell these high schoolers how to reach their goals.  Phil Moss has been teaching for five years.

Phil says, "The education field, I was just talking to our group, is so wide open.  You can do so many different things."

Moss says the aging work force means there will be plenty of job openings when these students graduate from college.  And DMACC's education department has record enrollment of students who are willing to meet whatever expectations lawmakers may have in the future.

Patsy Steffen, chair of DMACC’s education program says, "You know, change is inevitable with most things, so we'll change and adapt."

Roger says, "but there again, if you have a passion and a desire, it's not always about the money."

In the House and Senate, it typically is about the money.  But current and future teachers both have faith that lawmakers will understand they're not just performing a job, they're performing their passion.