Things I wonder after reading Governor Terry Branstad’s recent comments on teacher leadership

Iowa state flag

Here are a few things I wonder after reading Governor Terry Branstad’s recent comments on the teacher leadership program here in Iowa… (I also left these as a comment to the article)

  1. I wonder how many Iowa educators would say that “it’s cool” and “it’s neat” to be a teacher leader as they watch over a thousand teaching positions statewide be eliminated or go unfilled due to inadequate funding because of the Governor’s recent veto.
  2. I wonder how many Iowa educators would say that they “feel respected and appreciated” right now.
  3. I wonder how many Iowa educators “see that [the Governor] is listening to them,” particularly when they contrast his July veto of school funding with his proposed rule change that would remove even more state revenue by granting additional corporate tax cuts.
  4. I wonder how many educators feel that the Governor is “rais[ing] the bar and attract[ing] people / top talent” to the profession right now.
  5. In our democratic society that’s supposed to represent the voice of the people – and given the Governor’s recent stance on school start dates (despite nearly unanimous opposition from school districts) and his funding veto – I wonder how many educators and families are grateful for his top down approach in order to (in his words) remedy the fact that “Iowa [is] stuck with our local control system.”
  6. I wonder why the Governor thought that a sit-and-get education summit would be enough to gain traction on teacher leadership.
  7. I wonder how many actual examples the Governor can provide of teacher leaders “revolutionizing what’s happening in classrooms across Iowa.”
  8. I wonder if the Governor realizes that helping “Iowa again [to] be a national leader, known for giving our students a globally competitive education” probably isn’t going to happen with reduced school district and AEA budgets, declining educator morale, and top-down leadership that fails to reflect both the voice and expertise of the front-line educators who are charged with returning Iowa to greatness.

As always, your thoughts and comments are welcome…

Image credit: Iowa flag, Chuck Thompson

One Response to “Things I wonder after reading Governor Terry Branstad’s recent comments on teacher leadership”

  1. Sounds like the gap between rhetoric and reality is growing in Iowa. We saw that where I live too, for a while, but eventually the voters recognize hubris when they see it, and then it is surprising how quickly things can change. In Alberta, the Conservatives had been in power for over 45 years, but this last election they were replaced by the New Democrats who were strongly supported by teachers and the medical workers. Federally, the Conservatives were tossed out after a decade and we now have a Liberal government. The funding cuts made by the provincial Conservatives have all been reversed, schools and universities no longer being strangled.
    I know American politics are much less flexible, having only two choices, and I know American teachers are not very prone to organize, but still…your Governor should be told that teachers will not vote for a government that starves education.
    You live in a democracy: if you don’t like the government’s policies, it’s up to you to organize to change governments. Or at least Governors.

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