Iowa Department of Education Director Brad Buck today announced a new state commission to help ensure Iowa’s academic standards for what students should know and be able to do from kindergarten through 12th grade are put into practice successfully in schools statewide.
“Clear, uniform standards raise the bar on what we expect from all students, and Iowa has a strong foundation in place with the Iowa Core standards,” Buck said. “However, it’s not enough to set rigorous standards and expect schools to figure out how to help students reach those standards. Schools need more support.”
The Iowa Core Commission is an advisory group of 21 Iowans, including teachers, school administrators, education associations, higher education leaders, business leaders, and Iowa Department of Education staff members. This group’s work will focus on strengthening a statewide implementation plan and improving communication from the state level to local schools.
“It’s clear there’s a fair amount of confusion around what implementing the Iowa Core means and looks like in schools,” Buck said. “While it’s important to continue to leave instructional decisions up to local schools and teachers, they are clearly telling us the state must step up to help them implement these standards successfully,” Buck said.
The Iowa Core standards establish what students are expected to learn in mathematics, English/language arts, science and social studies from kindergarten through 12th grade.
Iowa was the last state in the nation to adopt statewide standards in 2008. State legislators led this shift away from locally determined standards, which had caused inconsistent expectations in schools across the state.
The Iowa Core standards reflect real-world knowledge and skills that students need to graduate from high school prepared for success in post-secondary education and training.
Implementation of the standards is an ongoing process led locally by schools and school districts with assistance from the Iowa Department of Education and area education agencies. The process will continue well beyond the legislatively mandated deadlines for full implementation, which are the 2012-13 school year for high schools and 2014-15 for kindergarten through eighth grades.
The new commission’s work falls in line with Iowa’s role in a consortium of rural states to successfully put into practice statewide standards. The state consortium, which also includes Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota, is working with consulting firm Education Delivery Institute through a grant funded by the Council of Chief State School Officers, an association of state school chiefs.
The Iowa Core Commission will meet for the first time Wednesday, Jan. 15, from 9 a.m. to noon in Room B50 of the Grimes State Office Building. Meetings are open to the public.
Members of the Iowa Core Commission are as follows:
- Jenny Becker, Rockwell Collins, Cedar Rapids
- Brad Buck, Iowa Department of Education, Des Moines
- Mary Jane Cobb, Iowa State Education Association, Des Moines
- Joan Crowl, Glenwood Community School District, Glenwood
- Joe Crozier, Grant Wood Area Education Agency, Cedar Rapids
- Lea Davidson, Iowa Department of Education, Des Moines
- Nadene Davidson, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls
- Lynne Devaney, Dubuque Community School District, Dubuque
- Tom Downs, Iowa Association of School Boards, Des Moines
- Kirstey Ewald, Charles City Community School District, Charles City
- Lou Howell, Iowa ASCD, Urbandale
- Staci Hupp, Iowa Department of Education, Des Moines
- Roark Horn, Area Education Agency 267, Cedar Falls
- D.T. Magee, Iowa Board of Educational Examiners, Des Moines
- Rita Martens, Iowa Department of Education, Des Moines
- Jennifer Paulsen, Cedar Falls Community School District, Cedar Falls
- Sue Runyon, Keystone Area Education Agency, Elkader
- Gary Scholten, Principal Financial Group, Des Moines
- Dan Smith, School Administrators of Iowa, Des Moines
- Elliott Smith, Iowa Business Council, Des Moines
- David Tilly, Iowa Department of Education, Des Moines