The Department of Education has assembled a taskforce on teacher leadership and pay to come up with recommendations on ways to improve schools in Iowa. Taskforce member Kent Mick, who teaches history in the Corwith-Wesley-LuVerne school district, says they need to look at how to get and retain better teachers.

“We recruit football players and basketball players but we don’t recruit the best teachers out of high school,” Mick says. Mick says the profession of teaching needs to be elevated.

Iowa Department of Education Director, Jason Glass, agrees. He says teachers should be treated more like doctors – from training to salary. “The medical profession has a lot of esteem, respect for it, so that’s where we are trying to move this conversation around the teaching profession in Iowa, how could we do that same thing for teachers?,” Glass explains.

But Jessica Gogerty of the Des Moines School District, says improving teacher performance is not just about a paycheck. “That we are still falling short isn’t because we didn’t pay them enough,” according to Gogerty. She says teachers are not holding back and saying “oh gosh I would do a better job if you just paid me an extra.”

Gogerty says that teachers need better support systems. The taskforce will continue to meet throughout the summer. They will take their recommendations to the legislature in the fall.