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Iowa governor decides to get out front on reform

March 15, 2012
Gary Andersen, Lee Smith , Fairmont Sentinel

Not too long ago, we suggested that Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad stop mulling much-needed school reforms and get out front to lead Iowa forward. We were pleased to see this week that Branstad has decided to do just that.

At a news conference this week, the governor said Iowa has been too complacent when it comes to K-12 education. The result has been poor test scores and a less-prepared workforce. Branstad believes more testing for kids and tougher evaluations for teachers are in order.

Branstad rightly talks about how other states are being aggressive with education reform. He said those states' efforts are improving accountability.

Speaking of accountability, Mary Jane Cobb, head of the Iowa teachers union, says teachers are suspicious about evaluations. We appreciate her honesty, even while we disagree with her conclusion. Suspicion is exactly the problem citizens have with a public education system that has ceased to be the envy of the nation.

We will say that Cobb is right about there being many good teachers in Iowa. And we believe that the most critical element in a child's academic success lies in the home. So, we also encourage Iowa lawmakers to do everything in their power to strengthen the family. That may be as simple as reducing tax and regulatory burdens so that Iowa thrives economically, giving moms and dads the security they need to successfully run a household.



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