1st Schools in the Nation
We must have a renewed commitment to provide the best education in the world. Providing Iowa’s children with a globally competitive education is key to their future – and the future of this state. Employers say they need a better-prepared, better-trained work force. That means higher expectations for schools. Sadly, where once Iowa’s educational system was the envy of the world, today it is in the middle of the pack. Our young people must be able to think critically, solve problems and communicate effectively. They need a strong background in math, science, English and social studies. The bar is continually being raised in a knowledge-based economy. It is time to put in place reforms that are hallmarks of high-performing school systems – starting with assuring there is a first-rate teacher in every classroom. The new year is an opportunity for Iowans to have a conversation about how to accomplish this. How can we attract more top students into the teaching profession? What do good, experienced teachers need to become more effective instructors? And how do we get rid of teachers whose students consistently do not learn enough – even after those teachers have received coaching to improve? I plan to convene an education summit with some of the top education leaders in our nation and state to benchmark Iowa’s status and lay out a plan for legislative consideration that will give our kids the best education in the world. But it is not just schools that must do more. Teaching children the value of a good education is the job of parents. Instilling the importance of lifelong learning not just by words but by example will help families and Iowa prosper. It is time for all of us to get involved.