What Happened to My Summer?

Despite Governor Branstad’s best efforts (on behalf of the State Fair), the first days of school are just a few short weeks away and I can’t help wondering what happened to my summer.

Maybe summer would have seemed longer if the legislative session hadn’t dragged into June. Or if Governor Branstad hadn’t waited until just before the July 4th holiday weekend to veto one-time education funding.

In any case, the filing deadline for running for school board is just two days away (and then campaigning should begin in earnest) and the State Board of Education will be holding it’s August meeting next week (at which, I expect, they will have a notice of intended action on rules that would adopt the Smarter Balanced Assessments as the statewide assessment).

And, as watch the tweets out of ISEA’s Summer Leadership Conference [#IASLC2015], I find myself wondering if it is too early to feel discouraged about the upcoming school year.

Even as legislators have still not pulled together enough votes for a special session to try to override Governor Branstad’s education funding veto, the Summer Leadership Conference is providing a platform for the teacher leadership system (which is where the supplemental state aid funding went) and the Smarter Balanced Assessments (which, if adopted, will divert time, money, and technology resources from instruction).

As an aside, I find this slide a bit depressing:

Setting aside the use of quotation marks and the implication that other teachers aren’t content experts, I find it disheartening that instructional coaches are described as “promoting district mandates”, rather than, for example, supporting classroom teachers.

The conference also provided a platform for new DE Director Ryan Wise. Speaking of disheartening, here are Director Wise’s priorities:

Conspicuously missing in those bullet points? Adequate supplemental state aid to pay for regular classroom instruction programs, summer reading programs and other interventions, and the new statewide assessments.

[Incidentally, I’ve added a link in the sidebar under Iowa Government to the Attendance Center Rankings site.]

Advocating for adequate funding didn’t make the “Role of the Department” shortlist:

And adequate education funding didn’t make the “Other Key Issues” shortlist either:


Readers, please help me out today. If you’re excited about the upcoming school year, please leave a comment sharing what you’re excited about.