Governor Tom Vilsack and a bipartisan commission are asking legislators to boost teacher pay significantly, but House Speaker Christopher Rants, a Republican from Sioux City, says that’s not the G-O-P’s only goal when it comes to education. “Yes, we know that we’re going to have to pay more to get math and science teachers. Republicans have talked about that. Yes, we know that we may have look at starting teacher salaries. We’ve talked about that as well,” Rants says. “But the education debate should not be centered solely around money.”
Republicans propose a variety of things, like requiring kids to spend more time in the classroom. If Vilsack insists legislators approve his 30-million dollar teacher pay package for the coming academic year, Rants says the governor will be disappointed. “I think it’s a little early for him to start drawing lines in the sand,” Rants says.
Republican Representative Jodi Tymeson of Winterset, chairwoman of the House Education Committee, suggests a bigger paycheck isn’t the only concern of Iowa’s teachers. “We talked to a lot of teachers and they talked to us about a lot of things besides pay,” Tymeson says. She says teachers are frustrated by all the paperwork they must fill out, and the interruptions in the school day that take kids out of the classroom. Tymeson says teachers also want professional development that’s more relevant to their subject areas