TASK FORCE: Three Final Reports In

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After months of work, three of the state’s education task force committees have released their final reports.

The reports come from the instructional time, administrator evaluation, and teaching standards task forces. The other three task forces created by Senate file 2284 are expected to come out in the next few months.

Department of Education Director Jason Glass says he is proud of the work the committees have accomplished. “It can be difficult to come together as a state on important issues that impact Iowa’s education system,” he said. “That’s why I’m so encouraged by all of the hard work that these consensus-minded task force members have accomplished in a short period of time.”

The Instructional Time Task Force was created to study issues like the school start date, the length of the school day and school year, and after-school programming.  Some of their recommendations include:

  • Local school districts should continue to set the length of the school day for their students. However, Iowa should encourage extended time opportunities through after-school programs and support school districts that commit to innovative efforts.
  • State lawmakers should require Iowa schools to meet a minimum of 1,080 hours of instructional time for each school year beginning with the 2014-15 academic year to allow for more effective use of instructional time.
  • Current law regarding the school-year start date needs clarity, definition, or change. State lawmakers and the Governor must make a decision on the issue that best benefits Iowa’s students.

The Administrator Evaluation Task Force studied evaluation practices for Iowa school administrators and developed recommendations for a statewide system including:

  • Create, implement, and sustain a research-based rubric administrator effectiveness system that incorporates ongoing and formative tools and processes to promote continuous improvement of the administrator, the school, and the school system. 
  • Enhance and maintain professional supports for administrators performing at different levels of experience, and build the human and social capital within the system that will support their growth over time. 
  • Develop, execute, and maintain a research and development component tied to the administrator effectiveness system with the purpose of evaluating, making system improvements, and informing stakeholders.

The Teaching Standards and Teacher Evaluation Task Force recommended ways to improve the Iowa teaching standards and evaluations of the state’s teachers:

  • Revise the current Iowa Teaching Standards to align pre-service with PK-12 teaching, to be based on best practice and nationally accepted standards, and to address knowledge, skill, performance, and dispositions.
  • Develop an improved teacher evaluation system to replace the existing evaluation system for teachers. Include a researched-based rubric that differentiates each level of teaching performance and ensures a consistent implementation statewide. Make training and professional development an integral component of the system.
  • The Iowa Legislature will require a work group to identify standards and create an improved teacher evaluation system to be implemented with fidelity statewide in an effort to create effective teachers as part of a system of development.
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