The republicans in the Iowa Senate want to force new teachers to pass a test before they can work in the classroom. Senate Co-Leader Stewart Iverson, a republican from Dows, says the teacher testing proposal is meant to ensure there’s a qualified teacher in every classroom. “We want the best education that we can get for the students of Iowa,” Iverson says. “It takes a strong set of teachers.” Senate Co-President Jeff Lamberti, a republican from Ankeny, says they also want to let schools pay bonuses to certain teachers. Lamberti says schools should be able to offer “incentives” to teachers in shortage areas like math and science. Paul McKinley, a republican from Chariton who is co-chair of the Senate Education Committee, says he and his fellow republican senators want to give schools more money to boost teacher pay, but they want the pay hikes to correspond to performance. “What we want to do is to start emphasizing the achievement per child instead of the amount of dollars per child,” McKinley says. Mike Connolly, a democrat from Dubuque, is the other co-chair of the Senate Education Committee, and he is not wild about a test for new teachers. “I think it creates a whole ‘nother level of government bureaucracy that’s really unnecessary,” Connolly says. “Iowa teachers are sought after nationwide.” Connolly, though, isn’t ready to reject all the republican ideas. “Everything’s on the table,” Connolly says. “I suppose there’ll be some deal-making.” The republican senators also propose raising the tax credit to 25-hundred dollars for parents who pay private school tuition or pay for preschool. Parents of public school students may also use the credit to cover school fees for things like books or class trips.
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