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      Kreiman, Schmitz talk education

      Press release from the Offices of Senator Keith Kreiman and Senator Becky Schmitz

      State Senators Keith Kreiman of Bloomfield and Becky Schmitz of Fairfield believe education is a key investment in Iowa TMs economic future. Monday in Ottumwa, they met with Senate Education Budget Chair Brian Schoenjahn of Arlington to discuss ways to build on recent education successes.

      In these tough economic times, I fought to responsibly balance the budget and cut a quarter billion dollars in spending while protecting education dollars meant for the classroom," said Kreiman. Moving forward, we have to keep investing in world-class education to stay competitive in a global economy.

      "Senators Schmitz and Kreiman have fought to make sure every penny spent on education goes to the classroom and teaching our kids, not the bureaucracy, said Schoenjahn. They continues to work to lower class sizes, create higher standards and expand access to pre-K. I TMd especially like to thank Senator Schmitz for her tireless work as chair of the Education Committee."

      The investments we TMre making to prepare our students for 21st century jobs are investments in Iowa TMs people, the greatest resource we have, said Schmitz. By providing quality, affordable education opportunities from pre-K to college, we can have the best trained workforce in the country and grow new jobs."

      Schmitz and Kreiman have been at the forefront of efforts to strengthen Iowa community colleges and make sure their curriculum is in sync with what local businesses need. They expanded voluntary pre-school to 21,000 Iowa four year olds and is working to make tuition more affordable at Iowa's community colleges and universities. Advancing student skills in technology has also been a focus as demonstrated by the recent one-on-one programs in Cardinal and Pekin school districts where students have their own laptop to use in school and at home. Here is a summary of recent progress in education:

      Increasing Educational Opportunity: 4 Years of Progress

      60% of Iowa kids now have access to preschool, compared to 19% before Senators Schmitz and Kreiman helped create the Voluntary Statewide Preschool Program. By getting kids off to a great start early on, we prepare them to succeed throughout their lives. Business leaders also agree that quality, affordable childcare makes it easier to attract good employees and businesses to Iowa. As part of the new preschool initiative, 18 area school districts now offer at least 10 hours of free preschool each week: Mormon Trail, Moravia, Moulton-Udell, Ottumwa, Wayne, Centerville, Eddyville-Blakesburg, Davis County, WACO, Highland, Pekin, Fairfield, Cardinal, Eddyville-Blakesburg, Lone Tree, Mid-Prairie, Washington, and a consortium between Van Buren and Harmony districts.

      1. Iowa has one of the top five highest graduation rates in the country, and Iowa high school students have the #1 SAT and #2 ACT scores in the country, thanks to trail-blazing reforms focused on preparing students for college, including the new Senior Year Plus program to provide more opportunities for high school students to earn college credit and the new Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Program to improve the math and science skills of Iowa students and prepare more math and science teachers for our classrooms.
      2. Iowa teacher pay went from 42nd to 26th in the nation, keeping the best and brightest teachers in Iowa classrooms.
      3. Since 2007, 25,800 Iowans have enrolled in expanded job training programs that pair community colleges with local businesses to develop training tailored to local workforce needs. The Iowa Industrial New Jobs Training Program, Iowa Jobs Training Program and the Accelerated Career Education Program help businesses train new, current and prospective employees. Senators Schmitz and Kreiman also provided $4.8 million for Vocational Technical Tuition Grants and All Iowa Opportunity Scholarships so that community college tuition stays affordable for working families.
      4. 30,000 previously uninsured Iowa kids can now see a doctor when they get sick, thanks to the Legislature TMs three year initiative expanding Hawk-I. Research shows that when kids are healthy, their school performance improves by almost 70%. The non-partisan Commonwealth Fund now ranks Iowa #1 in the nation for children TMs healthcare.