Branstad Gears Up for Education Reform

Marion Herbert's picture
Monday, August 6, 2012

The Monday after the 84th General Assembly adjourned, Gov. Terry Branstad stood behind his speaker’s podium and assessed the success of his 2012 education reform package.

Hardly any of his major initiatives — online learning, teacher evaluation, third-grade retention for poor readers — went through unscathed. Some were thrown overboard outright by both Republicans and Democrats.

The governor said it was a “watered-down” version of what he hoped for but called it a “step in the right direction.”

Now, Branstad is gearing up for his next reform package one that focuses on teacher pay and professionalism.

He and Iowa Department of Education Director Jason Glass have held up the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching’s system called the Teacher Advancement Program, or TAP, as a model worth exploring.

A TAP-like proposal originally was part of the 2012 plan, setting up four classes of teachers with four sets of responsibilities and pay scales. Branstad pulled that component off the table before it got to the Legislature.


The system would radically change the way teachers are paid and promoted in public school districts throughout the state because compensation typically is decided on the local level through labor contracts.

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