Washington Evening Journal
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Neighbors Growing Together | Apr 24, 2014

Clock ticks down on education reform

By Xiomara Levsen | Apr 29, 2013

It is the last week of the Iowa legislative session and the education reform bill has yet to pass. After being debated on the House and Senate floor last week the bill has gone back into subcommittee.
Despite the bill not moving forward, Washington Community School District (WCSD) Superintendent Dr. Mike Jorgensen is still optimistic that it will happen.
“Some version of education reform will come out,” Jorgensen said. “It will be somewhat of a compromise.”
This year’s education reform bill is different because a lot of the governor’s proposals, such as teacher accountability, and a five tiered salary schedule, are moving forward.
“There will be some kind of accountability piece in the bill,” he said. “I think part of that is because they’re trying to get a waiver from No Child Left Behind and that’s one of the things the federal government is looking for in order to grant that waiver.”
Under the governor’s proposal in House File 4 each teacher’s salary would be based upon students’ test scores and Iowa teaching standards.
WCSD doesn’t use teacher accountability when evaluating a teacher’s pay.
“Obviously we monitor the test scores but we don’t necessarily break them down by teacher,” Jorgensen said. “My biggest concern out of what I’m seeing right now is the idea of ranking buildings throughout the state of Iowa,” Jorgensen said. “I just don’t think that’s a good idea.”
The ranking would be based upon the students’ test scores, not on the size of the districts.
“Not that we wouldn’t be concerned on how our buildings are ranked,” Jorgensen said,” it’s like the No Child Left Behind, it’s not a level playing field.”

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