Education Reform Reaction

EDUCATION VO 5

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MASON CITY, IA-The long awaited education reform bill is part of the many items lawmakers compromised on in Des Moines.
It includes many different provisions that are meant to help keep the state in the lead when it comes to education.
But it’s also meant to provide an incentive to those hoping to step into the education field.

It’s a positive day for schools in Iowa, like here at Nora Springs.

“We were very excited that it finally passed, because there’s been a lot of debate and lots of waiting and wondering what the final package is going to look like,” said Central Springs Middle School Principal Lynn Baldus.

Lawmakers have compromised on a new education reform bill, and what educators are the most excited about, is that it provides districts with more state aid than in the past couple of years.

“I was glad to hear that our state legislators came together and worked together on both sides and came up with a plan that’s going to work and it will be nice for schools to be able to plan in advance,” said P.E. Teacher Laura Montag.

Districts will also start measuring their school year in hours.
That will help with scheduling when snow days hit.

And those students who excel in college, and want to land a teaching job will also benefit by getting a five year, 20-thousand dollar tuition reimbursement grant.

“It will allow us to keep our best teachers, our new, best teachers in the state, it will help them with funding and we want to keep the best and brightest here teaching our kids,” said Baldus.

The bill also includes starting salaries for starting teachers and a new testing program for students in grades 3-11. That’s suppose to be implemented by 2016.

“The new assessment project they’ve got going are really going to give us a better indication of our kids meeting the Iowa core are we making sure they are learning everything they need to be successful in the future?” said Baldus.

But there are some items schools have questions about, mainly the ones revolving around money.

“Obviously every district is trying to figure out what will be the exact impact and how do we make this work,” said Baldus.

But they all agree this is a step in the right direction when it comes to the education of the next generation.

“I think anytime you have answers of what the funding is going to be that is going to directly impact kids positively with funding available to do what the schools need to do,” said Montag.

The bill also includes less restrictions for home-schooling parents.

They would be able to teach drivers-ed and they wouldn’t have to report certain assessments and forms to the local school district and state.

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