Iowa Gov pushes education reform

Governor Branstad and Lt. Governor Reynolds of Iowa have hit the road in a dual effort to promote education reform and Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education in the state. Education reform is a cornerstone of the Branstad administration, which made efforts toward a performance based education model last year but was held back by legislative opposition. Initiatives promoting STEM education have been running in tandem and have seen more success, but Lt. Governor Reynolds is asking for more.

Governor Branstad is revisiting the reforms he proposed last year which include a significant focus on performance based teacher pay and quizzing teachers on their subjects. The measures do have some support among education officials, provided the state offers a clearer picture of how it intends to shoulder the costs that will come with adding more layers of teacher evaluations.

For her part, Lt. Governor Reynolds is traveling to 14 cities in Iowa hosting what she calls, “community conversations,” about STEM education. Reynolds and University of Northern Iowa President Ben Allen lead the statewide STEM Advisory Council, and as CivSource has reported, the council is building out statewide STEM education hubs – six so far with the potential for more in the future.

“We now rank in the middle of the pack, that’s because our students have stayed relatively stagnant,” says Branstad.