Education reform advocate Michelle Rhee called Gov. Terry Branstad’s school improvement plan for Iowa “a step in the right direction” during a Monday meeting with Des Moines Register reporters and editors.
“The challenge right now is making sure it doesn’t get too scaled back, too watered down,” said Rhee, who served as chancellor of the District of Columbia’s public school system from 2007 to 2010. “You don’t want to get to where it’s reform in name only.”
An amended version of the governor’s legislative package for education is scheduled to be discussed for the first time today on the House floor. Several measures in the bill — including required annual teacher evaluations, an end to seniority-based job protections, and fewer restrictions on the creation of charter schools — are aligned with the goals of StudentsFirst, a nonprofit political advocacy organization Rhee founded in 2010.