Democrats in the Iowa Senate are offering Iowa schools a “multiple choice” option for education reform.
Senator Herman Quirmbach, a Democrat from Ames, says schools could adopt the teacher mentoring proposals Governor Branstad unveiled early this year — or choose a different system for teacher improvement.
“In the course of listening to many people here in the capital and throughout the state, from folks back home who would have to implement that, it became very clear that one size would not fit all, that we would need to implement flexibility,” Quirmbach says. “That was the key word that I heard over and over and over again.”
In February, Republicans in the Iowa House passed the major components of Governor Branstad’s plan to provide bonuses for teachers who mentor colleagues, but voted to let schools opt out and do nothing. The education reform bill being debated in the Senate today requires schools to implement some sort of teacher improvement plan.
“If one of the three models that we allow them to choose from, if none of the three fit their needs exactly, then they can develop their own,” Quirmbach says.
AUDIO of Quirmbach’s open remarks on SF423 (mp3 runs 17 minutes)
Under the plan developed by Senate Democrats, each school will receive $400 per pupil to implement a teacher improvement plan. In addition, Senate Democrats are embracing the governor’s call to raise the beginning teacher salary in Iowa to $35,000. House Republians voted to set $32,000 as the minimum teacher salary.