Education reform approved; but is it actually reform?

Fairfield St. Rep. Curt Hanson talks to KTVO about the final education reform bill passed by the Iowa House.

Lawmakers in Iowa have finally reached a compromise concerning education reform.

Governor Terry Branstad made reforming Iowaâ??s education system one of the top priorities of the session this year.

One of the biggest problems concerning the reforms, they are not paid for. Moreover, that means that rural school districts in southeast Iowa, who are already hurting for funding, could have to spend more.

One of the biggest items not addressed in the bill was the cost of transportation, which concerns Fairfield State Representative Curt Hanson.

â??I think there is nothing in here that addressed the transportation in our communities that we have across the state, particularly in our area of the state where we have maybe a $1000 per student cost, just to get the student to class; and other places have a $2.50 as their cost to get the student to class. So that is not addressed in this bill at all and I am very sorry that it wasnâ??t,â?? said Hanson.

One area that was addressed that could help smaller districts enhance their studentsâ?? education, on-line learning.

â??I see some potential for that because I think rural school districts are going to have more trouble offering programs with limited enrollment or perhaps some of the advanced math classes or chemistry classes. If we can get the community colleges involved in teaching those online, and maybe have a lab in the schools once or twice a week, those are some solutions that I think can help our rural school that have smaller enrollment and do not have the resources that the bigger schools have,â?? said Hanson.

One of the main reasons the Hawkeye State has to reform its education system, is because the state has opted out of the â??No Child Left Behindâ?? law; meaning it presented a waiver to the federal government showing what policies and procedures the state would follow to improve education for Iowaâ??s students.

Original story from the Associated Press

The House has approved an education reform bill, sending it to the governor.

Both chambers previously approved different versions, but this bill was the product of a joint House-Senate committee that released it Tuesday afternoon.

The Senate passed it earlier in the day.

Gov. Terry Branstad and House Republicans favor increased teacher evaluations and a plan to hold back third graders who do
not meet reading benchmarks.

The compromise version allows for teacher peer reviews and gives parents the choice of whether a third-grader should be held back.

Little money has been provided to fund programs the bill establishes.

The bill passed 31-15 in the Senate and passed the House 87-8.

Branstad has been pushing for an overhaul of Iowa's schools for almost a year.