Educators have their say on Blueprint for Education - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Educators have their say on Blueprint for Education

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IOWA CITY (KWWL) -

Educators and state leaders are discussing how to improve Iowa schools. The Blueprint for Education is a hot topic among teachers and legislators.

The governor announced the plan October 3rd in Des Moines. He said he would create a system where instructors would be classified from apprentice teachers to master teachers. Students would also have to pass literacy tests to advance beyond third grade, and would have to demonstrate competency before graduating from high school.

In Iowa City Sunday, at the latest in a series of town hall meetings, educators did not hold back when it came to expressing their opinion of Branstad's plan.

"It's my profession they're talking about changing," said Jeanine Redlinger, a government teacher at City High School in Iowa City.

Redlinger recently gave her government class an assignment, and brought it along for Iowa Director of Education Jason Glass, and Branstad's Special Assistant for Education Linda Fandel.

"This week, I gave my students a chance to look over the plan, and they had some suggestions that I brought," she told Glass and Fandel, while unrolling a lengthy scroll of paper.

Redlinger also brought some of her students to offer their ideas in person.

"We're not all cookie cutter people. We need separate teaching methods, and we don't really look forward to a whole bunch of testing," said 10th grade student Veniesa Dillon.

The dramatic presentation hit home with Glass. It also set the tone for the rest of the afternoon.

The debate over how to improve Iowa's classrooms boiled over when Glass and Fandel tried to wrap up on time. The remaining audience members with questions refused to leave without at least having their message heard. The next man up to the microphone began yelling his remarks, until Glass finally said -- okay, let's talk.

Glass and Fandel then listened to another hour of passionate feedback from educators.

"It's about listening. Which we did today. We heard a lot of ideas, new ideas, that we want to take back and consider how we roll them into version 1.2 of the Blueprint," Glass said.

One thing is clear -- the discussion over the future of education is turning very political. But Redlinger, for one, hopes educators and politicians can leave the left and right out of it when coming to a final plan.

"I think, bottom line, it's about helping kids learn. And doing what you need to do to get that done. Whether it's republican or democrat," she said.

One main thing left out of the current blue print for education -- a price tag. Branstad said he wants to leave price out of the equation while they work on a plan. The cost will be determined before the final "blueprint" is sent to legislators.

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