Future of Iowa Ed Reform [updated]

The big news today is that Jason Glass is looking for other work and is one of three finalists for superintendent at the Eagle County School District in Colorado.  The job would mean a pay raise, a return to a familiar community, and presumably much less travel.

@desmoinesdem, who blogs at Bleeding Heartland, tweeted that she wasn’t surprised as Iowa education reform is winding down.  While that may be true, although we still haven’t seen much progress on HF 215 in recent weeks, there is still much work to be done implementing education reform.

Competency-based education is still a work in progress.

Glass has been a proponent of the Smarter Balanced Assessments; there will be work to do to prepare for implementing the assessments if the Legislature approves them this year or more advocacy work to be done to convince the Legislature to approve them next session if they don’t.

The Senate version of the education reform bill grants the DE the power to approve alternative teacher career path, leadership, and compensation frameworks.

The House version of the education reform bill empowers the state board to adopt rules establishing a statewide system of teacher evaluation and performance review requirements and evaluation requirements for administrators.  The House version also empowers the Director of the DE to “develop core knowledge and skill criteria for the evaluation and advancement of teachers, and for teacher career development” and to “develop and implement a coaching and support system for teachers aligned with the Iowa teacher career paths, leadership, and compensation framework.”

There are important decisions yet to be made about how to measure student outcomes for purposes of evaluating teacher performance if HF 215 passes.

Legislators’ reactions reported in The Gazette, indicated that there is little concern that this news will affect education reform efforts.  However, a change in leadership could affect implementation or the direction of future efforts.  Consider efforts in other states to reject or delay the implementation of Common Core standards or to withdraw from the PARCC and SBAC testing consortia.

If Glass is offered the superintendent job, we’ll just have to wait and see if Branstad chooses a successor who will stay the course or one who will chart a new direction.

Update: from Radio Iowa:

Glass was asked if his departure would hurt the reform effort. “Well, the education reform agenda in Iowa was built to be independent of any one person. So it was an agenda that was built to be a right fit for the state. It is still a right fit for the state,” Glass said.