By Sheena Dooley | Iowa Watchdog
DES MOINES – Gov. Terry Branstad will again try to push his agenda for comprehensive education reform.
Earlier this year, Branstad tried and failed to get lawmakers to agree to a package of proposals.
Branstand and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, both Republicans, announced they will hold 14 town hall meetings across the state in the next month to solicit input from Iowans on overhauling education in the state.
The meetings are similar to those held a year ago, when the governor first introduced his blueprint for comprehensive reform, which included overhauling teacher preparation programs, educator evaluations, higher standards with stronger student assessments and supporting innovation in schools.
A Democrat-controlled Senate failed to pass the plan. The lack of change prompted the U.S. Department of Education to deny the state’s waiver request to free it from the requirements of No Child Left Behind and create its own accountability system.
The federal government has granted Iowa a temporary waiver, giving leaders additional time to meet the requirements of the permanent waiver.
The reforms, which Branstad has made his top priority, may have a better chance this time around if Republicans gain control of the Senate and retain their hold on the House. Task forces are studying individual parts of the reforms and will provide reports to lawmakers when they reconvene in January.