The House Education Committee on Wednesday braved the cold weather to meet with the director of the Iowa Department of Education as well as the division heads to discuss how some of Iowa’s education initiatives are doing.
The early literacy initiative was created in 2012 with the goal of increasing the number of children who can read by the end of third grade. The Department of Education outlines third grade as being the time when students need to go beyond learning to read, and begin reading to learn.
The state annually appropriates $7.8 million for the implementation of this initiative, and $ 1.3 million dollars is allocated to a partnership with the University of Iowa to create Blueprints of Best Practices. Since 2015 the state of Iowa has seen a 7 percent increase in the number of children who are proficient in reading by third grade.
In 2013, the Department of Education created the Teacher Leadership and Compensation System. This program rewards effective teachers with leadership opportunities and increased pay. The 2017-2018 results have shown a 4 percent gain in teacher attraction and retention. This program has been very effective in the state of Iowa, and is being used as a model all across the nation, as well as at the federal level.
Another program, Future Ready Iowa, was rolled out this past year by the Governor. The goal for Future Ready Iowa is for 70 percent of Iowans to reach some form of post-high school education. This program is designed to train students for a career requiring advanced knowledge or a technical degree. To achieve these goals, the Department of Education is focusing on expanding high quality work-based learning experiences and strengthening partnerships between students and employers. At this time, Future Ready Iowa is on track to meet its goal by 2025.
If you have interest in any particular bill or would like to know where it is in the process please contact me and I will do my best to try and keep you up to date. You can also follow bills on the legislative website, once you know the bill number, at www.legis.iowa.gov.
Norlin Mommsen, R-DeWitt, represents District 97 in the Iowa House of Representatives.