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Starting wages for teachers to get big boost under reforms proposed by Branstad today

State capitol of Iowa
State capitol of Iowa

(DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds today released an education reform package that will bring Iowa closer to its goal of providing a world-class education to all children, no matter where they live.

The package presented for the 2013 legislative session focuses on providing great teaching in every classroom to raise student achievement and to prepare Iowa’s children to compete for jobs in a competitive global economy.

“We have many good schools with committed educators, but they are stuck in a system designed for the 20th century, not the 21st century,” Branstad said. “I am ready to invest significant resources into these educational reforms, which truly have the power to dramatically raise achievement.”

Branstad added: “I do not believe we should spend even one minute discussing additional resources to prop up our current educational structure until we have first agreed on the reforms our children need.”

The investment proposed by Branstad and Reynolds scales up over five years, starting with $14 million in the first year, $72 million in the second year, and $187 million at full implementation in five years.

Other states and nations have made dramatic, whole-system changes that have pushed their education systems past Iowa’s. Iowa, meanwhile, has slipped from being a top performer to middle of the pack on national tests.

“Iowa’s children deserve the best education we can provide so they leave our schools with the knowledge and skills necessary for successful and rewarding lives,” said Iowa Education Director Jason Glass. “We stand at a pivotal moment in Iowa’s storied education history, in which we have the opportunity and will as a community to make the transition from being ‘good’ to being ‘great.’”

World-class schools are one of four top priorities set by Branstad and Reynolds, along with 200,000 new jobs, a 25 percent increase in family incomes and to reduce the cost of government by 15 percent.

The centerpiece of their 2013 education reform package is establishing a new teacher leadership and compensation system. This proposal is based on recommendations from the Task Force on Teacher Leadership and Compensation, which thanks to the Legislature’s action, was established as a diverse group of Iowans who spent seven months studying this issue.

The teacher leadership and compensation system raises the status of the teaching profession and attracts and retains talented educators through these approaches:

  • Raise Iowa’s minimum starting salary from $28,000 to $35,000 to make teaching more attractive.
  • Keep top teachers in front of children, but pay these teacher leaders more to take on more instructional leadership responsibility alongside school administrators, which will strengthen the teaching throughout the building.  Teachers who are selected for model, mentor and lead roles will be paid more for sharing their expertise and for working additional days to coach, co-teach and to foster collaboration among all educators.
  • Give brand-new teachers a reduced teaching load in their first year so they can spend more time learning from outstanding veteran teachers.

The teacher leadership and compensation system, which will be phased in over several years, gives school districts the flexibility to customize leadership roles to meet their local needs. It builds on landmark, bipartisan legislation in 2001 that created, but never funded, a teacher career ladder.

“This is about strengthening the teaching profession for the benefit of both students and teachers,” Reynolds said. “Teachers are the single most important influence on a child’s success inside school, and educators are being asked to do much more to prepare students for our knowledge-driven economy. We must make sure new teachers are ready to rise to that challenge, while also providing more support for teachers already in the classroom.”

The education reform package introduced today by Branstad and Reynolds also includes four other components:

  • Teach Iowa Initiative: Expands an existing program to provide both relief and incentive through tuition reimbursement to top students who commit to teach in Iowa schools for five years, with a focus on hard-to-hire subjects such as math and science. Teach Iowa scholars will receive an extra $4,000 for each year of service, for a total of $20,000. This initiative also includes a new pilot program to strengthen clinical experience with a full year of student teaching in the senior year of college, rather than the typical one semester.
  • College- and Career-Ready Seals: Use diploma seals to identify and recognize graduating high school students who demonstrate that they are college- and career-ready. A blue-ribbon commission of business and education leaders would set high standards for the seals to better define what it means to be college or career-ready. The seals are in addition to a high school diploma. The purpose is to help students better prepare for the future and to align education with workforce development in a thoughtful way.
  • Improving educator evaluations: Iowa needs to update existing teacher and administrator evaluations to provide more valuable feedback. This will include deciding how student achievement growth should count. This work should help the state win a waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind law.

·         Expand the Iowa Learning Online program: This proposal expands an existing program at the Iowa Department of Education to allow more high school students the opportunity to take high-quality online courses taught by Iowa teachers. Small districts that often struggle to find applicants for hard-to-hire subjects also will find this helpful. This will require an initial state investment, but would be self-sustaining in three years.

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Anyone who doesn’t get the education they need and want only have their parents and themselves to blame. A teacher can lead you to the book but what you choose to do with it (read it or use it for a pillow) is up to the individual. Spend a day with 15-20 kids being defiant, who’s parents are in the bar all night, don’t feed them, are on crack, don’t provide proper care for them etc..And the kids are following parents bad footsteps. Let’s see if you turn out little Einsteins. There is so much info on the Internet and schools do way more for ease of education than they did years ago that there is no excuse for kids to fail tests. There’s a thing called “personal responsibility”.
Most people who complain about teachers don’t like school and never did. Teacher bashing is just another way they prove that. I ignore them. They are counterproductive and bring nothing to the table to better the situation. They just teach their kids to work against the teacher.

That isn’t entirely true. My grand niece brought home a note from her teacher that was barely literate. Her mom sent it to the school board with a complaint that the teacher’s writing skills were unacceptable for teaching 4th Grade. Of course, nothing happened. This was not some inner city school, but an upper middle class community. When a 4th Grade teacher cannot spell or write a complete sentence, it is a sad commentary on our education system. There needs to be proficiency tests given to the teachers at the schools where they are being interviewed, and not at some big center where they can hire stand-ins to take the tests for them. There are way too many reports of cheating.

The United States ranks 17th in the world for education. As someone who pays a huge amount of taxes into an education system I do not use, I would expect a much higher return on investment.

Teachers are extremely overpaid for the job they do. I challenge you to find a private sector job where you get a fourth of the year off that pays as highly and has as good of benefits as a teacher. As our education system drops further and further down the list, our solution is to throw more money at the clearly under performing teachers? No wonder this country is going broke.

Remember, those who cannot do, teach.

Calvin, How “huge of an amount of taxes” do you pay? Do you have any idea or is that something you made up? And what do you mean when you say the US ranks 17th for education? How? In what areas? According to what study? Or is this information something that you made up? And, to what extent are parents and students responsible for this slippage? Another thing – teachers do not work 3/4 of the year and get the rest off. If so, then they would be able to receive unemployment benefits for their time off. As far as I know, they cannot draw unemployment.
I have several friends who are teachers. Each of them is a dedicated, caring, intelligent person who wants the best for the children in their care. They aren’t in it for the money. I don’t know of a teacher who is in it for the money. Why? Because the money isn’t that good nor is that what teaching is about. The chances for advancement are non-existent. You only need to look back in the past month to see how some teachers value the children they teach – look at Newtown, Connecticut or Bakersfield, California. Teachers willing to give their lives for their students.

@bodacious-I believe that the 17th ranking was on CBS Evening news last week and was tied to some type of international ranking. How they came up with the ranking is unknown as CBS didn’t say how they received the information. That ranking was repeated on every liberals favorite Fox News Network. Again, as is usual they didn’t say how the ranking was attained. Teachers DO only work 3/4 of the year but are on a contract for the year and that is why they can’t get unemployment. Some teachers like coaches are there all year. You really should discuss this with your teacher friends. The big stink in Chicago right now is they wanted teachers to work one extra day in the “school year” and they don’t want to do it. You need to stop the “give me proof” game. It is getting old.

@LVS – you may believe it is getting old to provide proof for allegations where you try to put down someone else but I have always been taught that ‘seeing is believing’. Now, teachers do not work 3/4 of the year. Their contracts call for anywhere from 200-215 days of work per year. I am sure you will say ok but most people work 250 or so days a year. But most people work their 7 hour day and go home. Teachers work their day and take their work home. They also work on weekends without overtime pay. I don’t really care what Chicago teachers want because we live in North Iowa. Plumbers in Chicago get more money than plumbers in North Iowa. Is that fair? Not in your world. You seem to believe that teachers do little work and get paid too much for it. What did/do you do to help make this a better world? How much did you get paid? Did you work every day? Don’t be such a dick.

Or if you are particularly lazy and stupid-

Also, teachers, on average, are paid 52% more than their private sector counterparts. (

As far as how much money I personally pay for a system which is broken and I don’t deal with I can help you with that number as well-

Why are we paying such a ridiculous amount of money for failure? Where is the accountability? You mention holding the students and parents accountable – I think even you can comprehend how impossible that is. I work in IT support, do I get to use the idiocy of my users as an excuse for poor job performance? No, I have to adapt and innovate solutions to work through the problem, not sit back and shrug my shoulders.

Though I could decide to take the easy route and go back to school for less than a year to get my teaching degree… I would enjoy the vacation time!

@bodacious-you never learn do you? Do not put words in my mouth as I never said a word about how much our teachers make or how much they work. I merely stated that they are on a yearly contract and they are. Now if that is to complicated for you to understand it is easy to understand why. You can’t tell the difference between a blog and a news cast. Maybe you have been listening to the loud train whistle so long it has addled your brains. I was trying to be civil with you but that sure is a waste of time. By the way, a dick is the best part of a man. Something you know nothing about.

@Calvin-very good answer. He probably won’t even acknowledge your post as he would have to get someone to read it to him and then someone else to explain it to him. He has the typical union mentality. That means he has none. All he knows how to do is ask questions and make up lies when he doesn’t know the answers.

Geez Calvin Let’s see about the Heritage group – “a think tank—whose mission is to formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense.” These guys aren’t biased, are they?
“How about Good teachers exercise a profound influence: having a better one is statistically linked not only to higher income later in life but to a range of social results including lower chances of teenage pregnancy and a greater tendency to save for their own retirement. The problem is that there is no agreed list of traits to define or identify an excellent teacher, let alone a universal recipe for obtaining them. That said, successful school systems have a number of things in common: they find culturally effective ways to attract the best people to the profession; they provide relevant, ongoing training; they give teachers a status similar to that of other respected professions; and the system sets clear goals and expectations but also lets teachers get on with meeting these. Higher salaries, on the other hand, accomplish little by themselves.” from the Pearson Institute?
I do note that they say higher salaries don’t accomplish much BY THEMSELVES, but they do say they give teachers a status similar to other respected professions which YOU evidently do not. They also say a district must provide relevant, ongoing training. Where will that come from if you don’t pay for it?
Your link to Policy Basics tells me little or nothing about what you personally pay for education. It is a page that says on average 26% of state’s budgets go to k-12 education. So, how much do you pay? If you think it is such a bad investment, then do something to improve it rather than complain. As an IT tech, did you self-teach yourself? I am also wondering what school you could go to for less than a year to get a teaching certificate. Most of my teacher friends went to 4 years+ of college and are continually taking courses (which they pay for) to improve their knowledge and which the state requires. And I know they adapt daily to the “idiocy” that you say describes your clientele which they wouldn’t use to describe theirs.
All that said, it seems you are an intelligent person who does his homework. If, as you say, our system is horrible, how do we improve it? By reducing teacher’s salaries? By putting 40 kids into a classroom? President Bush tried to do it with his No Child Left Behind program that was modeled after a school district in Houston, Texas that, it was later discovered, altered its data to appease the angry folk who were paying their salaries. Were those people the teachers? No, they were the administrators who were more concerned about money than education. I do admit there are many, many problems in our schools today. If you talk with any of my teacher friends, they would agree. If you talk to any teacher, they would more than likely agree. All you do by denigrating them is to alienate them. Improving education has to be a concerted effort by everyone to make it better.

@LVS, you don’t really know me yet you think you do. As far as the union mentality, I grew up in a home where the union wasn’t a popular subject because, in my father’s business, the workers were union workers. He, however, didn’t despise them, he respected them for their skills. He often talked of the unfairness of the union’s policies in regards to the more experienced, skilled workers who were paid the same as the less experienced workers. He did say that inequity was usually handled when layoffs came because of a business downturn. The less experienced, less skilled workers were the first to go. That seemed fair to him, and it seemed fair to me. I don’t think unions are always right. I don’t like protecting workers who don’t do the job they are paid for doing. I do see the necessity, however, for insuring that management can’t arbitrarily get rid of people they deem undesirable. Many times that dismissal is for reasons beyond the job. Maybe it is their sexual preference, maybe it is their desire for equitable wages. Maybe it is simply because the boss man doesn’t like that particular person because of their political beliefs or because he believes a person’s attractiveness could cause him problems at home. A union helps prevent that type of discrimination.
I admired my father, He worked hard his entire life and he was a good man. He said the union was at times a pain in the butt, but they provided him with quality workers. And he did recognize that and appreciate it which makes him, in my mind, a reasonable man.
And if you think the dick makes the man, you are wrong, It is his ability to reason intelligently.

@bodacious-As long as we are being reasonable let me tell you something about me. Contrary to popular belief I am not anti union. My family was mostly union and so was I. At one time I was a union steward and actually got fired at one company for trying to organize the company. What I am is anti stupidity and stupid is what I think some of the things the union does. I spent most of my life in management so I look at both sides. To use senority as the primary factor when going into a curtailment is stupid. It used to hurt me real bad when I had to lay off a good employee and keep a marginal employee just because of senority. I have said this for years, unions spend 97% of their time defending 3% of the people who never should have been hired in the first place. I also disagree with your statement about union employees being any better or better trained than other people. In my experience the training comes from the workplace not from the union. My hope always was to have the union take care of all manpower problems while management took care of the running the company. It never happened because I couldn’t get them out of the union mentality. Their officials were afraid to do it because they though they would lose control. They need to change with the times or they will become obsolete and the working men need to stick together or management WILL take advantage. But do it intelligently. The union membership needs to do something about their union bosses and the money they make and the politics they do.

@LVS I guess we can both be reasonable when we back off a little. I don’t think I said that union workers were better trained however. My father said the union provided him with quality workers. I also said I didn’t think it was right that unions protect workers who aren’t doing their job. That would include those whose skills weren’t up to the job regardless of age or seniority. It just so happened that the men in my father’s line of work who had been there for 20 years were the more experienced, better skilled employees. That said, most of the union talk we agree on. I do agree that unions need to change. But, so does management. And that my friend, is probably why they won’t ever agree.

Average teacher pay $500 per day =500×146 day contract -That includes their retirement and health insurance – NO BULL !

Where did these figures come from?

Where the hell do they work 146 days??? I need to re-certify and move there!!! @ $2500 k/week why don’t you go after that job? Oh yeah, you couldn’t do it. I taught 38 yrs and never came close to those figures.

Same here. It is outrageous statements like this where I do think the origin of the ‘facts’ need to be disclosed so they can be proven right or wrong. The problem is that some will see something like this and believe it, repeat it and that is what is wrong with our society today.

Yes, it would be easy just to give a raise based on a test score, now wouldn’t it. Let’s see….. one teacher gets a majority of a class who likes school and puts forth effort while another teacher gets a class where 3/4 of the kids don’t know where their next meal is coming from when they get home to their 1 parent family and that 1 parent is either gone working, at the bar, and/or couldn’t care less about what is going on in school. Let’s compare test scores with kids in an inner city area compared to kids at a private school whose parents make huge bucks. Merit pay is ridiculous. You aren’t at a factory job where your production can be counted by how many tools you are able to put together in an hour. This isn’t that simple….teachers are dealing with human beings. Wake up.

It is one heck of a part time job

I really do not have a problem with increasing the starting wage for teachers, providing they are good teachers. I have a problem with blanket raises for all teachers regardless of the job they are doing. Teachers spend at least four years in college to get a degree and come out with a lot of debt. Now that being said, I do not like giving teachers raises just because they have been teaching for a long time. Their increase should be based on merit. Of course the unions will disagree with this as they spend 97% of their time defending 3% of the people who never should have been hired in the first place.

Nowhere in the article does it say there will be blanket raises for all teachers. Raises will be based on merit. How that ‘merit’ will be determined is questionable, at best. And, @sad but true, it’s a full-time job. You might want to look at the teachers in Newtown, Connecticut and in California a couple of days ago who stood up to a gunman in their schools. Tragically, there were lives lost in both places. Pretty decent of part-timers isn’t it?

@bodacious-I never said there was anything about blanket raises in the article. I said I had a problem with blanket raises and that raises should be based on merit. That means I do not agree with the unions when they go after a 5% raise for everyone. Their raises should be based on their performance and test results. Now the unions don’t like that but it is certainly fair to the good teachers. The only ones that would have to worry would be the ones that are after a free ride.

OK, but how will you determine merit?

@bodacious-someone other then me would have to figure that out. I am sure there are benchmarks that can be established other than how long they have been teaching. Now don’t misunderstand, senority should be part of the goals but not the main one. They could base it on the teachers education and test scores as well as class achievements. Now that get tricky depending on where and who they are teaching. I would be willing to bet if they were to sit down with some of the top teachers they could come up with a way to do it.

Well they put him in office so its time to pay the piper ?

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