A Good First Step in Iowa

iowa_gov_terry_branstad

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad is one of several Republican governors who has attempted to alleviate concerns about the Common Core State Standards through executive order.  Yesterday he signed executive order 83 which reads:

WHEREAS, the Iowa Constitution encourages a strong educational foundation by providing that, “[t]he General Assembly shall encourage, by all suitable means, the promotion of intellectual, scientific, moral, and agricultural improvement” (Iowa Const. art. IX, 2d, § 3); and

WHEREAS,rigorous state standards detailing expected academic achievement are essential to provide a high-quality education, which is key to students’ futures and the future of this state; and

WHEREAS, the adoption of state standards should be done in an open, transparent way that I ncludes opportunities for Iowans to review and offer input; and

WHEREAS,it is the responsibility of local school districts to make decisions related to curricula, instruction, and learning materials consistent with state academic standards; and

WHEREAS,it is inappropriate for the federal government to require as a condition of application of federal grants the adoption of any federally developed standards; and

WHEREAS,the protection of student and family privacy is paramount and Iowa must protect its citizens against intrusive, unnecessary data collection and tracking.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Terry E. Branstad, Governor of the State of Iowa, declare the following:

The State of Iowa, not the federal government or any other organization, shall determine the content of Iowa’s state academic standards, which are known as the Iowa Core. The Iowa Department of Education shall develop a regular review cycle for the Iowa Core, including public comment, to determine the contents of and to continually improve state academic standards.

The State of Iowa, not the federal government or any other organization, shall choose the statewide assessments that will measure how well students have mastered the Iowa Core. School districts may also choose to use additional assessments to measure student academic progress.

The collection of student data by school districts and the Iowa Department of Education shall be done in a manner consistent with state and federal laws intended to protect student and family privacy. Only aggregate student data shall be provided to the federal government to comply with federal laws.

No Constitutional right of Iowa children and their families shall be violated through an overreach by the federal government into Iowa’s educational system.

IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I HAVE HEREUNTO SUBSCRIBED MY NAME AND CAUSED THE GREAT SEAL OF THE STATE OF IOWA TO BE AFFIXED.  DONE AT DES MOINES THIS 16TH DAY OF  OCTOBER IN THE YEAR OF OUR LORD TWO THOUSAND  THIRTEEN

TERRY E. BRANSTAD
GOVERNOR OF IOWA

The strongest part of this executive order is its statement on student data.  I’m finding today that there is some confusion about what the executive order does.  The primary thing to know that while this is a positive step in the right direction it does not repeal the Common Core State Standards in Iowa.  I wrote today at Caffeinated Thoughts about what the executive order does and doesn’t do.  I encourage you to check it out.

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore via Flickr (CC-By-SA 2.0)