Iowa teachers will get an average pay raise of about $5,000 over the next two years. Governor Chet Culver signed a teacher pay bill into law during a statehouse ceremony late this afternoon. "This is just one way that we can say thank you to 36,000 outstanding educators across our state," Culver says.
Those who crafted the bill claim the extra money dedicated to raise teacher pay will raise the average teacher salary in Iowa to 25th in nation. "This bill will have a great impact on all of Iowa’s teachers, on Iowa students and for our entire state," Culver says. "It sends a loud and clear message across the country and certainly to our teachers and to our children that we value the work that teachers do every day."
Vicki Goldsmith of Des Moines, the Iowa Teacher of the Year in 2005, called the move historic. "I believe that the bill will make a significant difference in keeping superb teachers in education and in Iowa," Goldsmith says.
According to Goldsmith, nearly half of all college grads who enter the teaching profession wind up leaving within five years. "Now more than ever we must draw the best minds and hearts into teaching and make education competitive with other professions," Goldsmith says.
Lieutenant Governor Patty Judge opened the statehouse "bill signing" ceremony with a tribute to Iowa’s teachers. "You have waited far too long for this raise," Judge said. "I am very proud that we are going to be able to make it happen and show our appreciation for a job well done."
The bill the governor signed into law provides $70 million more state tax dollars for teacher salaries for the academic year that starts this fall, and another $75 million for the year after that.