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State Senator Steve Sodders-Boosting education and job training for a stronger Iowa future

August 27, 2012
Northern-Sun Print
One of the most rewarding things about being your State Senator is the conversations I have with young people who are getting involved in our democracy for the first time. Each year, I give students and teachers a firsthand look at how our laws are made when they visit the Statehouse. I also visit them in their local classrooms to see what they’re working on. Iowa has a tradition of educational excellence, something that we build on each and every year in the Legislature. This year, we focused on improving education in ways that will help Iowans build a prosperous future for our state. They include: • Providing more intensive science, technology, engineering and math education through a $4.7 million investment in STEM. • Keeping tuition affordable at our community colleges, state universities and private colleges so all Iowa families can take advantage of the educational opportunities that lead to great jobs. • Reducing Iowa’s skilled worker shortage with a $15 million investment in worker training that will help Iowans qualify for skilled job openings at local businesses. We also voted to: • Ensure Iowa kids are good readers by keeping class sizes small in kindergarten through third-grade so that young students get the one-on-one time they need with their teachers. Plus, a new statewide Iowa reading research center will spread the best practices for teaching reading. • Invest in education, research and training facilities at our community colleges and universities so that they can continue preparing a highly skilled workforce. • Continue our commitment to strong local schools by raising academic standards, increasing teacher and administrator effectiveness, and supporting innovative teaching. This is a good first step on education reform, our multi-year effort to enhance educational opportunities for all Iowa students.  I also voted for important investments in student achievement that were not taken up by the House, including a 4 percent increase in basic state support for local schools for the 2013-2014 school year. These funds would have helped pay for textbooks, heating bills, technology and other necessities for students and teachers to be successful. While I’d hoped to do more, I’m proud of what we did achieved by working together on this year’s education initiatives. We made investments that will pay off long into the future. As we look at ways to continue improving Iowa education, we must build on the good things that are happening and fix real problems. If you have ideas or suggestions, I’d like to hear them. Additional information This is a legislative update from Senator Steve Sodders, representing Hardin & Marshall counties. For newsletters, photos and further information, go to To contact Senator Sodders during the week, call the Senate Switchboard at 515-281-3371. Otherwise he can be reached at home at 641-483-2383. E-mail him at  Senator Sodders is an Assistant Majority Leader and chair of the Economic Growth Committee. He also serves on the Education, Judiciary, State Government, and Veterans Affairs committees, as well as the Government Oversight Committee.  


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