Governor Tom Vilsack says he’ll form a new education council to try and boost the number of Iowa workers who get at least a two-year college degree. The governor says while there are various boards that oversee various segments of the education system, there’s no single council that brings them all to the table at the same time. Vilsack says he’ll serve as chairman of what he calls the P-16 Council, focusing on preschool through college. He plans to include teachers from each of those stages of the education system. Governor Vilsack says a better-educated workforce is critical to economic development, and his goal is having nine out of ten Iowa workers complete at least two years of college. The governor also today renewed his call for a special legislative endowment for early-childhood education programs. The governor announced his plan to push for the endowment at an appearance in Ames at a conference on preschool programs. He says when the state’s reserve accounts are refilled, they can then put money into the endowment.Governor Vilsack says the endowment’s principal would not be touched, but the income it generates would go for kids’ programs like healthcare insurance for the poor, abuse prevention and parent education. He says if you don’t do it right from zero to five, you’re never gonna get it done completely right from K to 12. Governor Vilsack proposed the endowment idea last year, but the republican-controlled legislature vetoed it. Though the GOP remains in control this year, the democratic governor says he thinks they’re getting the reason behind his proposal.
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