On July 2, the U.S. Department of Education issued Iowa a one-year waiver of what Iowa Education Director Jason Glass called “the unrealistic accountability measures of [the federal] No Child Left Behind” law.
“The one-year waiver from USDE confirms that the Legislature’s careful, systematic, and bipartisan approach in the education reform bill we passed this spring is the best way to boost student achievement and educator quality in Iowa,” said Senator Herman Quirmbach (D-Ames), chairman of the Iowa Senate Education Committee. “In passing Senate File 2284, we set up expert task forces and study groups in several key reform areas, including teacher and administrator evaluations, instructional time and school year design, and online learning. Rather than rush to judgment with half-baked notions, the Legislature chose to seek wise counsel from education professionals, scholars, and other key stakeholders.”
“We look forward to using this time and our experts’ advice to formulate new policies that will do more than merely satisfy Washington’s bureaucratic requirements. We want to focus on permanent education improvement for all Iowa students,” Quirmbach concluded.
“I urge once again that all parties set aside election-year finger pointing and resume the constructive discussions that began with the governor’s education summit last summer and continued into this year’s legislative session,” Quirmbach added. “We need to buckle down and get to work with the task forces we set up in SF 2284, now that Governor Branstad has signed the law, so that appropriate legislation will be ready for early consideration in next January’s legislative session.”
Director Glass said on July2, “[T]he Iowa Department of Education continues to seek permanent relief” from the NCLB requirements. Quirmbach agreed, “Let us all now use the time provided by the one-year waiver to work together toward that goal.”
Senator Quirmbach added another top priority. “The other key goal must now be to find the money to fund the early-grade reading support programs established in SF 2284. We in the Senate agree with the governor on the priority of making sure students don’t fall behind in reading. We put good policies in place in SF 2284. My biggest disappointment with the bill is that we couldn’t agree to fund them this year.”