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State Senator Steve Sodders

April 6, 2012
Northern-Sun Print
Act now to keep Iowa’s economy growing with investment in education reform The recent report of rising state revenues is another sign that Iowa’s response to the national recession is working. Our economy is improving, and now’s the time to strengthen the foundations of a lasting recovery. When the deep national recession hit, we reduced the annual state budget by hundreds of millions of dollars by reforming and downsizing state government and putting the focus on job creation and long-term growth. We’ve made a good start, one that has put Iowa ahead of other states. Now is the time to invest in education, job creation and other opportunities to build a strong Iowa economy for the future. I share Governor Branstad’s education goals of raising academic standards, improving the effectiveness of educators and using innovation to enhance learning. As we choose the best ways to reach these goals, my colleagues and I are listening to parents, teachers, students and concerned Iowans. Their suggestions are the basis of the education reforms contained in Senate File 2284. This legislation is still a work in progress but key elements include: •Focusing on early reading and small class sizes in the younger grades so that teachers can help struggling students catch up. • Helping students learn at their own pace to master the basics and advance more quickly in the subjects they love most. •Expanding the core curriculum to include arts, music and technology.  •Expanding teacher-to-teacher collaboration and coaching. • Using online learning to enhance and extend offerings in our local schools. •Pilot projects to extend the school year and school day to measure the impact on student achievement. •Parent liaisons for schools with struggling students.   I am passionately interested in creating world-class schools here in Iowa. I believe that by working together, we can take several steps forward this year to provide Iowa students with the best educational opportunities. Please continue sharing your ideas as we build on what our schools do right and improve in areas where we can do better.   


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