Thursday, August 30, 2007

NCLB Title 1 Draft Released; Your Comments Needed

This week, the House Committee on Education and Labor released a “discussion draft” of language for reauthorization of Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act/No Child Left Behind. NEA is studying the language to prepare written comments that we will submit to the Committee.

Your Help Is Needed!

We urge you to review the 435-page document as well and share your feedback with us so that we can include your voice in our comments to the Committee. Please send comments to as soon as possible.

You’ll find a copy of the discussion draft on the Committee’s web site at

NEA has asked its state affiliates to review draft language as well.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Welcome Back Team LCEA

Welcome Back to a Great Year for Team LCEA

We would like to thank all of you for helping us take care of our membership campaign so quickly. Like last year, our membership has increased. Your investement in yourself and in the profession are greatly appreciated. It is our membership that gives us voice when advocating for public education and children. So, thank you for contributing to the advancement of our profession.

We hope that your first days of school have been good ones. Please know that your fellow LCEA teammates are here for you. Please help us make our local professional Association successful by getting involved in our plans to celebrate our successes locally.

Team LCEA would like to welcome all of our new colleagues:

High School: Chris Bryant, Tamra Nally, Joe Vinchattle, Ron Siske, Linda Huber, Kay Phillips, Roxanne Wiles, Mary Jane Agan

Middle School: Susis Catlett, Breanne Hedrick, Kelly Cox, Barb Jones

Titan Hill: Sarah Dundson, Stephanie Greve, Jennifer Kerber, Nicole Friedrichsen

Kreft: Lori Lynn Ahrends, Michelle Schaeffer, Betty Schmoldt

A big thank you for everything you've done over the summer, in your classrooms and in your building to make Lewis Central ready for great learning.

If you're new to the profession or you'd like to review a few pointers, please take a chance to skim the following guide developed for you by the ISEA Southwest Iowa Uniserv Directors:

Southwest Uniserv Unit's Guide for New Teachers

Friday, August 24, 2007

Opening Day Meeting a Profitable Experience

Kathy Dorsey Wins $50.00 Cold Cash for Attending a LCEA Meeting
Leades Energize Membes with TQC, PAC Goals & Local Agenda

Veteran Lewis Central teacher Kathy Dorsey walked away from the LCEA opening meeting with a crisp, new $50.00 bill for attending the LCEA Opening Day Meeting.

Members of the LCEA Executive Board were introduced to all of the district's teachers. Highlights of the "Opening Day Kick-Off" included LCEA President Sharon Crawley's short and energetic address to teachers sharing her goals to include communication in the Association and a goal to get even more people involved in LCEA Activities.

TQC Chair Barb Motes addressed the teachers with news about the historic Teacher Quality Law. Ms. Motes, a familiar LCEA activitst, chairs the LCEA side of the TQC team and shared much of what she learned at her many valuable ISEA trainings and meetings with the committee.

Finally, Secretary and Membership Chair Kim Muta gave a passionate speech about the need for our members to contribute to the NEA Fund for Children and Public Education. LCEA's contribution went from 23% to 91% this year.

Kudos to all our leaders and our hard-working Executive Board for making this happen without a hitch.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


NEA believes three key changes to NCLB will help the law meet its worthy goal of improving student achievement. Find out what they are. More

Promote the Association and Profession with Your FREE Business Cards from ISEA & Staples

Staples Copy and Print Center has a new technology that enables professional quality business cards in as little as ten minutes, in very small runs and at a great price.

Here is a chance for ISEA members to have their own business cards featuring the ISEA logo.

A downloadable ISEA logo is posted on our Web site at All you have to do is download the file onto a CD or flash drive and take it to a Staples
Copy and Print Center. Staples staff will help you design your own personalized business card. Go to the links below to get all the information you need. Hurry, though, offer is only good through now and September 2nd!

From now through September 2nd, you can get 100 cards free with any purchase of 100 or more cards. Please visit any Staples Copy and Print Center for
more details.

To find a Staples near you, go to

Click here for a copy of the Staples business card flyer.pdf

LCEA FYI BLURB: Who Is Affected by Achievement Gaps?

Achievement gaps exist when students with relatively equal ability but different backgrounds -- ethnic, racial, gender, disability, and income -- do not achieve in school at the same levels. Learn who is affected by the gaps and get guides and tools to help you help all students achieve. More

Membership on the Rise...AGAIN!



The Lewis Central Auditorium lobby was buzzing with excitement, laughter and strong teamwork on our opening day.

Membership Chair Kim Muta and the LCEA Executive Board were busy helping current members with their continuing memberships and doing a fantastic job in signing up new members.
Executive Board members had the commons decorated with several different customized, full color signs welcoming our teammates to a FANTASTIC START TO 2007.

All teachers were met at the door with handshakes, full-color fliers, tickets for the cash door prizes, and other Association literature as Lewis Central kicked off its district wide meeting on Monday August 20, 2007.

Membership Chair Kim Muta' s organization of membership materials allowed members to find their buildings quickly. Those working the tables were experts at helping members update their membership records. Perhaps most impressive, though, was the focus on PAC contributions to ISEA. The entire LCEA Executive Board is excited about our team's focus on helping ISEA & NEA elect pro-public education advocates.

Executive Board members wore fake $50.00 bills to promote the cash prize given away at the end of the LCEA meeting. Teachers took their tickets with some excitement. Several administrators asked if they were eligible.

Past-President Maggie Bennett made arrangements for Nancy Haig of NEA Member Benefits present to visit with members about the many benefits their membership at their disposal. This picture shows Nancy before the mass of educators surrounded her table and learned about the many "other" benefits of joining the Lewis Central Education Team.

The Association purchased Titan wear for all of our new colleagues so that they can enjoy our TITAN DAYS and activities with good looking clothing featuring our school mascot.

One of the highlights of the morning was the welcome given by LCEA President Sharon Crawley who spoke of the need for everyone to contribute to our cause in improving our by improving internal and external communications and by getting everyone involved; Membership Chair Kim Muta who explained the significance of the work done at the state and national level by our lobbyist and how our victories were secured with hard work and PAC contributions; and Total Quality Committee Chair who spelled out the hard won victories of ISEA with our new law and an explanation of the committee's work.

This was followed by the awarding of our cash prize which kept our teammates in their chairs to hear all the important news for the upcoming year. Considering teachers were free to go, we were excited that almost every single educator stayed for the meeting.

LCEA's customized, color tri-fold brochures outlined how a little planning and use of the ISEA Access Card could pay for their dues and also touted ISEA's Victory in the Teacher Quality Act.

Donuts, rolls, coffee and a bunch of teachers excited about "freebies" and getting started on the first day helped kick the year off well for the Association.

The evening before, the LCEA Executive Board hosted a new teachers picnic. Good food, drink and fellowship was shared by the new teachers who had the chance to meet and visit their colleagues and local Association leaders. Having dinner for them and their families on the night before school started, gave the hard working new members of Team LCEA a chance to escape the duties of preparing an evening meal.

Contacting our new colleagues several times and early in the summer helped our new friends understand that the Association is not a piece of paper, but a living breathing team that is present to support and celebrate their transition and success.

Children from the families enjoyed the desserts, some playing and getting to know each other.

The Association also was present on the "first day" with new teachers: meeting and greeting them at the door, sharing literature with them and helping them feel at home in their new home away from home.

With 21 new positions, the LCEA had its work cut out for them. Two years of increased membership bodes well for the work of our entire team: governmental relations, negotiations, public relations, scholarship committee members, contract maintenance, instructional advocacy and more. Thanks for investing in your profession!

Excellent work to everyone who worked so hard to make this first step in our on-going membership campaign as success. We're very excited to get the rest of our potential members on-board. It takes everyone to make a team really successful.

Thank goodness Kim and Sharon had done some great planning. With payroll deduction forms due on Wednesday August 22, there wasn't much time to seal Phase I of our "We Need Every Player to Have a Strong Team" campaign.


Friday, August 17, 2007

ISEA & NEA Prepare for Iowa Presidential Debate in Des Moines


Sunday's Republical debate in Des Moines with ABC on 8/19/2007 will be an opportunity to "Ask the Candidate's Tough Questions About NCLB." As Iowa is the first--and will remain the first in the nation--we have the opportunity to help candidates shape their policy statements and to build their platforms. ISEA members are active as "education advisers" in each of the political campaigns at work in the state. Click on the link below to check out our ad.

Opportunity to Tie Class Projects to Real Service Men and Women, Also a Great Community Service Project for

In an email sent to state leaders, ISEA President Linda Nelson passed on this opportunity for your to consider tying into a unit of curriculum or to use as a service project for your students. Although ISEA is not a co-sponsor, we thought you might enjoy the opportunity. In her email, Linda writes:

Here at ISEA I receive many different types of promotions in the mail as you can well imagine. Sometimes I save them and share with the Executive Board, other times I forward them to Lana in Communications. And other times, some actually go right into the recycling box!

I have no idea if this is a worthy project, but wanted to share it with you. You decide whether you keep it or trash it! Rather than make copies of their flyer, I went to their website & cut and pasted the following info.

Linda Nelson,
ISEA President

About My Soldier


Active U.S. Army Second Lieutenant Juan Salas, a naturalized US citizen originally from Venezuela, served for almost two years in Iraq, where he saw active combat duty and was commended for his part in saving the life of a child.

His mission was to “win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people.” “It was long,” says Salas. “But the thing that kept me going was getting letters. From kids, boy scouts, students. A letter was like a piece of gold. Something you will keep for the rest of your life.” When he got back to Manhattanville College, he wanted to help his fellow soldiers still serving overseas.

He brought this idea to Manhattanville College President Richard A. Berman and college administrator Anne Gold, who were determined to find a way for Manhattanville to help. Together, and with the help of other students and Manhattanville staff, Salas and Berman devised My Soldier. To read more, click here!


By enrolling in the My Soldier program, you agree to “adopt” a deployed United States Armed Serviceperson. Your support should consist of periodic upbeat letters or emails to the soldier contact we will provide to you.

Upon enrollment, you will be able to download a My Soldier Starter Kit. It contains detailed instructions on how to begin as well as letter writing guidelines from co-founder Sgt Juan Salas. Typically, the soldier then replies and direct correspondence begins (about 50% of soldiers respond, but 100% appreciate getting the letters).

Participants may also choose to send care packages, which are greatly appreciated (but not expected) by the soldiers. If your soldier is unable to write back for five weeks or redeploys home and you wish to adopt another service member we will provide another soldier for you to correspond with.

ISEA TQC Brochure Answers Some Common Questions

The ISEA has put together this brochure for you to use to answer your own questions or to answer the questions of members in your building. This four page brochure touches on the major aspects of the Total Quality Law of 2007. We hope you find it useful.

Historic Teacher Quality Committees Meet Across the State of Iowa

LC Total Quality Committee
Meets to Plan Work for 2006-2007
The 16 Members of of the LC Total Quality Committee:

Dave Black (LCCS Co-Chair) & Barb Motes, (LCEA, Co-Chair)

Jeanne Bartholow (LCEA, TH)
; Sean Dunphy, (LCCS, MS); Barb Grell (LCCS, KE); Linda Hahn (LCEA, KE); Kim Jones (LCCS, HS); Al Lorenz (LCEA, MS); Tom McLaughlin, (LCEA HS); Kim Muta (LCEA, HS); Mark Schweer (LCCS, ERC); Kent Stopak (LCCS, TH); Chuck Story (LCCS, HS); Laurie Thies (LCCS, SPED); Pat Thomas (LCEA, MA), Marilyn Wandersee (LCEA,HS)

attended the ISEA, SAI and ISDOE's joint training on implementation of the Teacher Quality Act of 2007 (formerly known as SF277). The day long training at the Mid-America Center was one of five trainings given throughout the state.

SWUU Uniserv Director Pat Shipley and ISEA Professional Development Academy Specialist Dave Wilkinson represented ISEA on the training panel. During the course of the training, members of our committee were taken through the very lengthy piece of law and interpretation of the aspects of the law were discussed. This was further clarified by the interpretation of the law by the ISDOE's legal counsel.

You can find electronic copies of the documents here. Please notice the format. Each section of the law is split into a chart that outlines (1) Senate File 277 language; (2) Hopes of the Agencies Represented; (3) Suggested Initial Actions; and (4) Resources. This is accompanied by a FAQ section that clarifies more ambiguous pieces of the law and the language.

Please feel free to take a look at the documents below. Simply click on the link and a Word Document should appear. If you have any questions, please ask any of your LCEA Total Quality Committee members for assistance in interpreting or understanding how this law will work to improve our work with students and learning

Total Quality Documents

Thursday, August 16, 2007

ACT Results at LCHS a Hit!

Great Work of LCEA's Teachers
Shows Up in ACT Results

We're Proud to Announce
that LC Scores are
Highest in the City
Test scores improve for local school districts
Dennis Friend, Staff Writer
Council Bluffs Non-Pareil

They may not be the best, but they're not bad.

That's the assessment of area educators after getting a look at the latest ACT scores.

The composite score for the Council Bluffs Community School District remains the same as last year's score, which was an all-time high, said Superintendent Martha Bruckner.

"That's not a fluke, it's a trend," she said.

The composite ACT score at Abraham Lincoln High School was 22.1, while Thomas Jefferson High School's composite was 21.1, leading to the combined 21.7 district composite score.

Lewis Central High School Principal Chuck Story said the 22.5 composite score for Lewis Central seniors was the highest composite score the district has had.

The principal of the St. Albert junior and senior high schools also is happy with the scores logged by her students. Jonna Andersen said the 23.4 composite is up from 22.7 last year.

"In the last four years, we have gone up steadily," Andersen said.

ACT scores are generally regarded as a way to measure student achievement, as well as measure if students are prepared for college-level work. The ACT consists of tests of educational development in English, math, reading and science designed to measure skills needed for success in first-year college coursework.

Iowa's current state average for ACT scores is 22.3, and four-year colleges in both Iowa and Nebraska recommend a minimum score of 21 for admittance.

The scores also are considered a good indicator of a district's success in educating students. The key is to watch a district's multi-year trends. The composite score could rise one year and fall the next, and the number of seniors taking the test may also fluctuate.

A look at the five-year trends showed the Council Bluffs School District composite ranging from 21.1 and 20.8 between 2003 and 2005 before climbing to 21.7 in both 2006 and 2007. Lewis Central held steady at 22.3 between 2003 and 2005, dropped to 22.0 in 2006 and rose to 22.5 in 2007.

Saint Albert recorded ACT composites of 22.9, 21.5, 22.5 and 22.7 between 2003 and 2006 before scoring 23.4 in 2007.

"You look for steady growth in the score and the percentages," Story said. "You want to make sure you give the kids the best possible chance at an education that they can have. I would like the average to be higher, but I'm pleased. We're doing OK."

Officials at each of the districts said an emphasis on a core curriculum is likely to have driven at least some of the improvement, and all said they expect improvement in future years.

"The score has gone up every year in the last four years (at St. Albert), and all our kids take the core curriculum" that includes English, math and science, Anderson said. Both Council Bluffs and Lewis Central officials agree that a core curriculum should leave graduates with a working knowledge of crucial concepts.

District officials and educators also use the numbers to find areas of weakness, and scores can be used to spotlight success.

"The Kanesville score for English was higher than anyone else's," Bruckner said. "It's something for Kanesville students to be proud of."

Story said two Lewis Central students recorded a 33, and nine students scored 30 or more; and more seniors than ever took the test, which is a necessity for students with plans to enter college.

"We tried to get more students to take them," Story said. "We had 189 graduates, and 137 seniors took the test."

In the Council Bluffs district, 221 seniors took the ACTs, and 470 seniors graduated.

Andersen said 44 seniors among St. Albert's graduating class of 52 took the test.

"We stress that they really should take it," she said. "We're pleased."

Iowa scores rise overall

ACT scores for Iowa students rose a fraction of a percentage point this year for an average composite score of 22.3.

Iowa and Wisconsin are tied for second place for the highest average score for states that test at least 50 percent of their graduating seniors. Minnesota is first with 22.5. The national average score for the college admission and placement exam is 21.2 out of a possible 36.

The number of Iowa students taking the test also increased from 22,233 students, or 65 percent of the 2006 graduating class, to 23,016, or 66 percent of the 2007 graduating class.

The composite score for African-American students in Iowa rose to 18.5, compared to the national average of 17. The average composite score for Hispanic students increased to 20.1. The national average is 18.7. The composite score for Iowa's Caucasian students rose to 22.4 and for Asian-American students it rose to 22.7. The score for Native American students stayed the same at 20.5.

- Dennis Friend

The results from ACT's annual score report are complete. The national average ACT composite score rose in 2007 for the third time in the past five years. View complete information about the ACT 2007 College Readiness Report at

ACT respects your privacy. . .
We want to make sure that you're receiving correspondence from us because you want to. Please take a brief moment to affirm your wish to continue receiving special announcements like this one by completing a short form at

It's important to do so; otherwise you will be removed from our policy alert email list.

Thanks from ACT's Policy Center.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Teacher Quality Law Update

Teacher Quality Law of 2007

Taking control of our own profession!

The 2007 session of the Iowa Legislature will go down in the record books as the turning point for public education in Iowa. Not only did lawmakers approve a historic pay raise for K-12 teachers and area education agency professionals, it also gave educators a strong voice in determining their own professional development needs and unprecedented control over professional issues.

But it didn’t just happen. The landmark investment in Iowa’s educators is the result of a multi-year ISEA effort to build a groundswell of public support for paying teachers a competitive wage and and our work to elect candidates who would honor those wishes.

In this informational piece you’ll find basic information about the provisions in the law as well as answers to some common questions. For the latest updates, be sure to visit our blog for further details.

In a nutshell . . . .

SF 277 made a number of significant changes to the Teacher Quality Law which was originally approved by the 2001 Iowa Legislature. Specifically, it:

• Increases the minimum salaries by $1,000: beginning teacher salary to $26,500; career teachers (third year) to $27,500; and all other career teachers to $28,500.

• Expands the pay raises approved by the 2006 Legislature resulting in an average cumulative increase of $5,400 by the 2008-09 school year.

• Makes area education agency professionals and school nurses who hold a teaching license or statement of professional recognition from the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners eligible to receive the salary increases.

• Reinstates the requirement that school districts employ at least one teacher librarian, guidance counselor, and school nurse. School districts can request a two-year waiver but they will be required to fill these positions after this period. School districts also must work toward a goal of having one guidance counselor for every 350 students and one school nurse for every 750 students.

• Calls for the creation of local teacher quality committees, made up of an equal number of teachers and administrators, to provide input into the use and distribution of professional development funds appropriated by the legislation, monitor the evaluation process, and recommend the use of the market factor incentives.

• Provides funding for quality professional development opportunities determined at the local level instead of mandating additional days.

• Improves the current accountability system by ensuring that teacher evaluations are conducted in a fair and consistent manner that is focused on improvement and eliminates unnecessary paperwork.

• Expands the use of "market factor pay" to include a wide variety of incentives to recruit teachers in shortage areas.

• Ensures that teachers who register for National Board Certification by December 31, 2007, will be eligible for the registration reimbursement and a $2,500 stipend each year for ten years if they successfully earn this prestigious distinction.

• Calls for the development of an administrator improvement and accountability system similar to the one already put in place for teachers.

• Appropriates a limited amount of funding to allow experimentation with alternative compensation systems developed in collaboration with local associations.

Teacher Quality Committee FAQ's

Teacher quality committee FAQ's

Here's what we know. The law is being interpreted and more Q&A's are on their way.
Q:May a district opt-out of the professional development funds?
A: No, all districts and AEAs must participate in all aspects of the Student Achievement and Teacher Quality program, including professional development.

Q: Who is ultimately responsible for creating the teacher quality committee?
A: Per Iowa Code Chapter 284.4, the school board must carry out all aspects of Teacher Quality. Therefore, the board is ultimately responsible to see that a teacher quality committee is established.

Q: What if the teacher quality committee cannot reach an agreement on use of the professional development funds?A: The funds may only be used for professional development purposes and would be carried into the following school year. If agreement is not reached, the funds may not simply be equally distributed to teachers as salary. Note that the district must annually report to the Department of Education how professional development funds are used.

Q: What if a district wishes to use funds appropriated in SF 277 for professional development? Must they have the approval of the teacher quality committee?A: Yes, the teacher quality committee has responsibility for professional development funds appropriated in SF 277 for 2007-08. The duties of the teacher quality committee begin July 1 and should focus on the use and distribution of professional development funds to implement and support the overall district, attendance center, and individual plans.

Q: May a district move forward with professional development plans already made for the 07-08 year?A: The district administration may elect to move forward with plans for the 2007-08 school year using funds such as general funds, unexpended state professional development funds from the 2006-07 school year, Title I, Title IIA, etc. The district may not move forward with the expenditures of 2007-08 professional development funds without the teacher quality committee approval.

Q: What if the district already developed a school calendar with the equivalent of an extra contract day for professional development and planned to use professional development funds from SF 277 to pay for the extra contract day?A: The teacher quality committee determines the use of the professional development funds appropriated in SF 277 for 2007-08. The committee could certainly decide to use SF 277 funds for the purpose of meeting the goal of adding the equivalent of one additional contract day of professional development. In cases where the planned professional development follows the Iowa Professional Development Model, teacher quality committees are strongly encouraged to support the equivalent of an extra professional development day. The district administration could also use other allowable revenue sources (e.g. general fund, Title I, Title IIA, unexpended state 2006-07 P.D. funds, etc.) to fund extra contract days for professional development.

Q: What if the certified employee organization and the board had already negotiated the addition of one more contract day for 2007-08? Does the teacher quality committee have to use funds allocated through SF 277 to pay for the extra day?
A: The language of any locally bargained agreement must be examined. Refer to your legal counsel for guidance.

Q: What is the ideal size and composition for a teacher quality committee?
A: The size and composition of the committee is locally determined. In a small district with only one or two administrators, the committee will naturally be quite small. It’s possible in very small districts that the committee would be two or four individuals. But in order to function effectively and efficiently, larger districts should consider limiting the size of the committee. Regardless of the size of the committee, representation should include, to the extent possible, various grade levels/buildings (elementary, middle, high school). Ideally, members of the committee should have a working knowledge of effective professional development practices and the Iowa Professional Development Model.

Q: Since professional development funds are allocated to districts on a per teacher/per diem basis, must the funds be paid on a per diem basis?A: SF 277 does not require professional development funds to be paid on a per diem basis. The teacher quality committee determines the use and distribution of the funds.

Q: SF 277 allows compensation of the teachers on the committee for work beyond the normal workday. What’s the source of those funds? Could the funds be used to pay for sub costs if the committee elects to meet during the "workday?"
A: The compensation comes directly from the district’s allocation for professional development (the district’s share of the $20 million). The funds may also be used to pay for substitute costs if the committee elects to meet during the workday. Districts may already have agreed upon compensation for teacher committee work of this nature that will determine levels of compensation. If there is no agreed-upon compensation language, it is advised that in the first year of implementation an addendum be added to the bargaining agreement.

Q: One of the duties of the teacher quality committee is to monitor the district teacher evaluation requirements to ensure they are "…conducted in a fair and consistent manner throughout the school district or agency." Does this monitoring include teacher dismissal processes per Iowa Code Chapter 279?A: The teacher quality committee responsibility to monitor the evaluation is limited to the evaluation processes in Iowa Code Chapter 284 (Teacher Quality and Student Achievement Law). Other employment issues are addressed in Iowa Code Chapter 279 and are not the responsibility of the committee.

Q:Does the monitoring of the teacher evaluation requirements include having the committee review an individual teacher’s evaluation?A: No, "monitor" means to review the process by which teachers are evaluated to ensure the overall process is fair and consistent. Any concerns about the evaluation process should be highlighted by the committee and reported to the certified employee organization and the board.

Q: What happens if our district doesn’t use all the allocated market factor incentive funds in one year?
A: Districts are allowed to carry market factor incentive funds into the following school year. Given the timing of the hiring process, it is recognized that market factor incentives are needed in late winter/early spring during prime hiring time.

Q: Are any portions of market factor incentives subject to negotiation and bargaining?
A: One of the duties of the teacher quality committee is to make recommendations to the school board and certified bargaining representative regarding the expenditures of market factor incentives. The role of the committee is limited to recommendations. The school board determines the portion of market factor incentives to be used for allowable expenditures (e.g. portions for salaries, educational opportunities and support, moving expenses, and housing expenses, etc). Market factor incentive is now subject to negotiation and bargaining but only for that portion being used to pay for additional teacher salaries. Expenses such as "educational opportunities and support, moving expenses, and housing expenses…" are not subject to negotiation.

From the Iowa Department of Education memo to public school and area education agency administrators, May 18, 2007.

Teacher Quality Committees

Duties of teacher quality committees

SF 277 requires each district and AEA to create a teacher quality committee with an equal representation of administrators and teachers. The size of the committee is determined at the local level. The law does allow the ISEA local association and the school board to mutually agree to assign these responsibilities to an existing district committee (such as a professional development, curriculum, and/or school improvement committee) or they may agree to allow an existing committee to advise the teacher quality committee.

The law specifies the following duties of the teacher quality committee:

• Monitor the local implementation of the Student Achievement and Teacher Quality program.

• Monitor the district teacher evaluation requirements to ensure they are conducted in a fair and consistent manner throughout the school district or agency.

• Determine the use and distribution of professional development funds based on the school district/agency, attendance center, and individual teacher development plans. The committee must follow the Iowa Professional Development Model.

• Monitor the professional development in each attendance center.

• Make recommendations regarding the expenditure of market factor incentives.

Teacher Quality Act and Professional Development

A new era for professional development

Thanks to SF 277, school administrators and local school boards no longer have sole authority to determine the use of professional development funding. Instead, those decisions will now be made by local teacher quality committees made up of an equal number of teachers and administrators. The teacher representatives are appointed by the ISEA local association.

The legislation eliminates the mandated extra days for professional development and instead appropriates up to $20 million to fund locally designed district and AEA professional development programs. The law does, however, call for a goal of one additional day, or its equivalent, to be used for professional development purposes.

SF 277 also allows the professional development funds to be used to pay salaries for time spent beyond the normal negotiated agreement as well as to pay for such things as substitute teachers, materials, speakers, and costs associated with implementing the individual professional development plans. These funds must be used to supplement, not supplant, the professional development opportunities the school district would otherwise make available.

In addition to the previously required district professional development plan and the individual plan for each teacher, SF 277 adds the requirement that each attendance center develop an attendance center professional development plan. The plan must be based upon the needs of teachers, the Iowa teaching standards, the district professional development plan, and the student achievement goals of the attendance center and the district.

Teacher Quality Money Distribution

How will the teacher salary money be distributed?
Iowa average salary national rankingsThe Legislature appropriated $141.3 million to bring the average Iowa teacher salary from 40th to 25th in the nation by the 2008-09 school year. That translates into a $3,600 increase in 2007-08 (this figure includes $1,800 in teacher compensation money approved by the 2006 Legislature) and another $1,800 in 2008-09.

These figures are, of course, only statewide averages. The amount individual teachers actually receive will vary greatly.

Half of the $141.3 million will be distributed to school districts on a per-pupil basis; the other half will be distributed on a per full-time equivalent teacher basis. AEAs will receive funding on a per-teacher basis that is equivalent to the average per-teacher amount allocated to school districts.

As in the past, the teacher compensation allocation must first be used to fund the career level minimum salaries. But unlike the past, the allocation is significant enough so that all teachers should receive an increase.

LCEA BLURB: Supreme Court's Desegregation Ruling

The recent Supreme Court desegregation decision calls into question more than half a century of efforts to integrate America's public schools. Is your district trying to integrate classrooms by race? By income? Is either approach working? More

LCEA BLURB: NEA Holds First-Ever Conference for Republican Educators

More than 80 Republican educators from across the nation recently attended NEA's first-ever Republican Leaders Conference to learn how to become party activists, leaders, and GOP convention delegates. About one million NEA members are Republicans, and they are expected to have a significant impact on party activities and platforms in 2008. More

Monday, August 13, 2007

Association 101 Glossary


as·so·ci·a·tion, un·ion, guild, broth·er·hood All the same thing. It's a group that works collectively to improve working conditions and wages.

bar·gain·ing u·nit The group made up of employees that negotiates with employers on things like salary and benefits.

build·ing rep A staff member who serves as a liaison between the staff union members and the administration. In a building with a strong union (that is, a lot of vocal and active members like you), they can typically address issues not covered by a contract to improve working conditions.

col·lect·ive bar·gain·ing The negotiation of a contract—including wages, benefits, and working conditions—between employers and employees. Some states, especially in the South, don't have collective bargaining. (Even though there is still typically a grievance or due process system legally guaranteed.)

griev·ance A dispute between a union member and management over a workplace situation or alleged contract violation that is handled through a procedure outlined in the contract or a state law or regulation. The grievance system facilitates your right to due process.

or·gan·iz·ing Drawing on the power of members' unified strength (3.2 million and counting in the NEA!), this is the action by which members lobby for changes, seek improvements in their working conditions, or work for any other important step that members determine is a priority.

"right-to-work state" States where unions can't negotiate agreements that require all employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement to pay for the costs of union representation. Such agreements eliminate "free riders" who enjoy the benefits of an agreement without supporting or joining the union.

Uni·Serv di·rec·tor That's the professional union staff member you can turn to when you have a professional problem.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

The Simple Truths of Service

The Simple Truths of Service

Important Numbers for You...

Please Double Click on the Vital Telephone Numbers Image to Enlarge It.

We've put together this card of telephone numbers that MEMBERS might need in order to contact one of our important education partners. We hope you find it useful in looking for specific information about instructional advocacy, lobby, member benefits and contacting our wonderful folks at the SWUU UniServ Unit office.