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Survey Results Show Broad Consensus on Reform Goals Put forward by Branstad, Reynolds

Press Release

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Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds today released the results of a survey of the Iowa Education Summit participants. Survey participants generally agree that the governor and lt. governor's blueprint for education transformation, released in October, is a good starting point.

"Most Iowa education stakeholders understand that student achievement results have been stagnant or have fallen statewide in the past decade," said Branstad. "There is a consensus that Iowa's school system should be elevated to among the best in the world."

"The message that we must transform our schools into a world-class education system is not just coming from the top down," Reynolds said. "Iowans who are proud of the state's tradition of educational excellence know we must dramatically change in order for our young people to succeed in this global economy."

Survey questions touched on concepts in the Iowa Education Blueprint, which focuses on great teachers and great principals, high standards and fair measures for student learning, and innovation. The blueprint was a starting point for discussion. Work continues on final recommendations, which Gov. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Reynolds will make to Iowa legislators in January.

Among the survey findings:

* 50% of survey participants said student achievement results in Iowa public schools have stayed the same in the past 10 years, while 30.4% said results have gotten worse.

* 95% percent of those surveyed agreed that Iowa should be an international leader in education.

* 85% of respondents generally agreed that Iowa should become more selective in admission to teacher preparation programs (36.5% marked "strongly agree," and 48.2% marked "somewhat agree").

* About 73% of survey participants agreed that student academic growth should factor into educator evaluations, although responses varied when it comes to how much.

* Most respondents indicated that when it comes to decisions about teacher layoffs, seniority should be considered either last (36.1%) or not at all (30.1%).

* More than two-thirds of survey participants said teacher compensation should be based on a combination of student achievement in the classroom and on state standardized tests, as well as years of service and level of training.

* 55% of respondents generally agreed that charter schools could be a great option for some Iowa students as long as the state holds them accountable for high standards and student progress.

* 58% of respondents generally agreed that all 11th graders should take a state-funded college entrance exam to gauge college readiness.

* Participants were divided over proposals for four tiers of teacher leadership roles value-added analysis.

* A majority of respondents (55.9 %) indicated that ending social promotion for 3rd graders who can't read should be decided on a case-by-case basis.

The survey was distributed by e-mail in November to about 1,600 people -- most of them educators -- who attended a summit convened by Branstad and Reynolds in July to learn how Iowa could create world-class schools.

The survey drew 598 responses from people who identified themselves as school administrators (40 percent), teachers (34.3 percent), parents (28.3 percent), and school board members, Area Education Agency officials, legislative officials, Iowa Department of Education employees, students or "other."

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