The Institute for Tomorrow’s Workforce today (Thursday) issued its final report to the Iowa Legislature on improving Iowa’s education system. The bipartisan group makes three recommendations: instituting statewide curriculum standards; raising the base pay of teachers and implementing a career ladder; holding each district in the state to education “delivery standards.”
Des Moines businessman Marvin Pomerantz is one of the co-chairs of the group. Pomerantz says if the report is implemented as it is prepared, “Iowa education would very quickly move to the top.” Pomerantz says they’re glad to see that governor-elect Culver is calling for an increase in teacher salaries. Pomerantz says they support raising salaries, but that is not enough, as he says there has to be a program in place that ensures education quality.
Former U-N-I president, Robert Koob, is the other co-chair and says the education delivery standards are designed to ensure that education quality. Koob says standards need to be created to identify each and every administrative and business process for schools to hold them to effective use of the money provided. Koob says there has to be “clear and open information sharing” among district to measure the standards put in place, measure the career ladders, so they can know what makes effective districts.
Koob says creating the delivery standards takes the emotion out of deciding which districts should remain operating. Koob says they’re not asking districts to adhere to “some political ideology, only to what is reasonably accomplishable in the state of Iowa in reasonable conditions.” Koob says full and open sharing between districts on the information on the cost of doing business will allow the state to create the kind of efficiencies needed and “sidestep the political barriers that come from our current emotional conversations.”
Koob says since the report was just released today, they haven’t had time yet to get reaction from lawmakers. Koob says they’ve had some informal discussions on the principles outlined in the report he says they found “favorable reception on all sides.” Koob says:”We’re finding that the principles that we’ve established are uh, I think, broadly supported. There will be of course by many concerns and much debate about the implementation of those principles.”
Pomerantz says lawmakers should know that the group is committed to seeing the education changes passed. Pomerantz says in Michigan the federal court system came in and mandated change because of the disparity in the quality of education at the state level. Pomerantz says he hopes it doesn’t have to come to that in Iowa, but Pomerantz says he wants lawmakers to know that “we’re not above the court system coming into this to make sure that our kids get fair play.”
Related web sites:
Institute for Tomorrow’s Workforce education report