2014 Presents Opportunities for Meaningful School Reform in Iowa

Dr. Jon Sheldahl, Chief Administrator

Teacher and students in kindergarten classDuring 2014, Iowa educators will begin working with two key pieces of education reform policy for the first time.  Districts representing roughly one-third of Iowa’s public school students will begin developing new teacher leadership roles and re-examining teacher development models as they begin to implement the Teacher Leadership and Compensation (TLC) program.  Those districts will be receiving the Teacher Leadership Supplement (TLS) which was authorized during the last legislative session by HF215.  At the same time, all Iowa districts will begin planning to meet the new demands for literacy instruction found in chapter 62.  These require local districts to screen all students for potential reading problems beginning in kindergarten and to provide research based interventions and progress monitoring for all students experiencing difficulty in the area of reading.  Districts will be required to provide extended learning programs and consider retention for all students not proficient in reading by the end of 3rd grade.   Both of these new developments have the potential to substantially improve student learning outcomes in Iowa.  Unfortunately, they also have the potential to do for student learning what so many reform efforts have done before, which is little to nothing.  How can we assure that these reforms will result in real change and improved student learning?  Here are a few thoughts.

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