A new school year is getting under way. I know local educators will provide great opportunities for our students with the resources they have.
The struggle to provide sufficient, timely funding has put local schools in a bind in recent years. We took a small step in the right direction this year by increasing state support for schools by 2.25 percent. That will give our K-12 schools an additional $145 per student, on average (SF 174).
It’s not nearly enough to make up for the lean years, but I hope it’ll reverse the trend that has dropped Iowa below the national average when it comes to how much we invest in each student.
We’re also focusing special attention on ensuring kids get the strong reading skills they need to succeed in school and life with:
In addition, Iowa is among the first states to implement a new initiative that has our most effective educators working with new teachers and mentoring those looking to improve.
The Teacher Leadership & Compensation System and other targeted investments in STEM, Career Technical Education, reading skills and online learning are great tools. But they need a strong base to build upon, which means adequately funding the day-to-day operations of our schools.
Iowa students have shown they’re eager for the learning opportunities available to them. They lead the nation in high school graduation rates, according to the Iowa Department of Education. More than 90 percent of Iowa’s Class of 2015 graduated on time, making them the first class in the nation to do so.
I am committed to making Iowa schools No. 1 again, and will continue fighting for the kind of investment our students deserve—one that puts them at a competitive advantage when it comes to education and job opportunities.