From Rep. Sharon Steckman –
After weeks of work by the subcommittee on Education reform, a debate that lasted until midnight on Tuesday evening and a vote taken first thing Wednesday morning, we passed the bill in the House. I was particularly struck by Representative Art Staed’s remarks when he compared the bill to building a school bus with used parts from other states; then allowing it to roll downhill with no students aboard. The bill contains little that will improve learning or help school districts fulfill their responsibilities to our children. Too many dollars are focused on growing the Department of Education in Des Moines, on grading schools, creating more standardized testing for kids, and removing accreditation requirements.
I feel the issues that must be addressed in order for our children to succeed are: the higher number of children born into poverty often resulting in a readiness gap; development of core education requirements to meet the demands of a changing workforce; and fully funding the reform proposals.
The version voted out last night lowered teachers’ beginning salaries from the Governor’s original bill and made the proposed teacher career pathways optional
The bill will now go to the Senate and, no doubt, end up in conference committee where differences will need to be ironed out. I look forward to working with members of the Senate Education committee and with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to improve the bill.