Reynolds seeks better policy dialogue

Her creation of Governor’s Teachers Cabinet is a good move

The quality or our state’s school systems is among the most important determinants of Iowa’s long-term prospects. In addition to making life richer through stimulating a love of lifelong learning, good schools have an enormous impact on economic development. When they produce graduates who have the skills and knowledge that employers need, they help make our state an ideal location for businesses to grow and an attractive venue for investment in new enterprises.

Gov. Kim Reynolds has made keeping Iowa’s schools topnotch is a key priority. She recognizes that state funding and policy decisions can either help further that goal or undermine it. To make certain that she has direct knowledge of how existing or contemplated state policies impact our schools she has created a Governor’s Teachers Cabinet. The 16 appointees are members of the teaching profession actively involved in educating young Iowans. They come from a wide array of disciplines and settings. Collectively, they have firsthand knowledge of just about every teaching environment that exists in Iowa.

According to information provided by the governor’s office, the Cabinet members will meet quarterly with Reynolds, Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg and Iowa Department of Education Director Ryan Wise to offer their advice on a broad range of educational matters. The first meeting will be Jan. 4, 2019, in Des Moines.

“Teachers are the most important influence inside schools and play a critical role in keeping our students, communities and state competitive,” Reynolds said, in a statement issued by her office. “I look forward to having in-depth conversations with teachers about how to increase student achievement and engagement. Future Ready Iowa sets the goal of 70 percent of our workforce with education or training beyond high school by 2025, but all of today’s high school graduates must be ready for college or career training. What else should we be doing to support Iowa children, teachers and school counselors?”

The governor’s goal is to strengthen the lines of communication between her and the state’s educators. Seeking this regular input from professionals on the front lines of the educational process is a wise move. Having a frequent dialogue with teachers will help guarantee that the ramifications of state policies are fully understood by the governor and her team. Additionally, this ongoing conversation with teachers will help ensure that opportunities for worthwhile state initiatives are not overlooked.

The Messenger applauds Reynolds for creating the Governor’s Teachers Cabinet. It is an innovative approach that has great potential. This forum can help the governor and other state officials craft education policy for Iowa that will make our state’s already good schools the envy of the nation.

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