Rural Iowa Superintendent: Educators Don’t Feel Trusted by Legislators

A rural Iowa school superintendent shared some insight on how educators are feeling about being in the political crosshairs during an Iowa House Education Subcommittee hearing on Thursday.

“We’re working like dogs to have additional requirements so that everybody has access to what they already have access to,” said Russ Adams, superintendent of the Orange City-based MOC Floyd Valley School District.

“You may not intend to say you don’t trust educators, but I’m telling you in the political environment right now, educators do not feel trusted at all. That’s sad and it’s frustrating. I gave my whole life to that profession. I have people daily talking to me about leaving the profession. Please give thought to that.”

Adams’ comments were directed at Rep. John Wills (R-Spirit Lake) during an exchange on House Study Bill 706. A portion of the bill is intended to increase transparency and ensure teachers and schools are following state standards.

According to the bill, educators would need to provide all their textbooks, books, articles, syllabi, website links, outlines, handouts, presentations, videos, and other educational materials for documentation, review, and approval twice a year. Anything used in student instruction would need to be published on the school district’s website by Aug. 23 and again by Jan. 15.

That standard would apply to each class in the school district and materials have to be sorted by subject area, grade level, and teacher. Also, the publishing dates fall around the start of the school year and the end of winter break, so teachers would have to create lesson plans months ahead of time for each class they teach.

The bill does not address how instructors would be able to teach current events. It also does not apply to charter or private schools.

If a school district is not compliant, the Iowa Department of Education would reduce state funding “in proportion to the actual damages caused by the school district’s violation” of the new code.

When advocating for the bill to move out of subcommittee, which it did, Wills backtracked on Iowa Senate President Jake Chapman’s reference to teachers having a “sinister agenda.” The Adel Republican made the remark on the opening day of the 2022 legislative session.

“I very much like to move this one forward, not because I don’t trust teachers or because we think that there is something sinister going on but more to the point of parents want this; parents are asking for this,” Wills said.

“When I was in a classroom when I was teaching, that was one of the things that we always wanted. We always wanted parental involvement. Well, here now we have parents who want involvement and I think that we need to give them that ability to have that transparency; understand what their children are being taught and that sort of thing.”

 

by Ty Rushing
02/18/22

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4 Comments on "Rural Iowa Superintendent: Educators Don’t Feel Trusted by Legislators"

  • To have teachers required to have specific lesson plans, materials, presented to parents and the state months in advance suggests that teachers in classrooms are robotic with no regard to the children they’re teaching. Having curriculum chosen makes total sense, and is currently being done. However, the needs of children MUST be considered before making SPECIFIC lesson plans. Even the best-laid plans must be adapted even on a day to day basis to accommodate responses and needs of children. Clearly the legislators suggesting these requirements have never observed classrooms and cared about needs of students.
    I feel it’s time for any legislators voting on education laws be required to spend at least a day in a classroom to understand the process of learning.

  • It is time you people in the legislature take a look at the real picture. There is absolutely no way a teacher can make lesson plans for an entire year. Perhaps by the week and hope they can get that accomplished. What has been created in many schools is an adverse environment with students having little respect for teachers and education in general. Maybe you need to focus more on how this can be managed and work more in the area of school control. I taught and coached for 36 years and would find it today to go back and manage a classroom with control highly difficult.

  • This is exactly why teachers don’t feel trusted and most refuse to sign early contracts. Teachers will be leaving the state by the hundreds. I voted for republican legislation. Will not do it again. Parents want involvement. Less than 3% showed up at parent teacher conferences. Curriculum information has always been available. This is a slap in the face to teachers.

  • Maybe Iowa educators don’t feel trusted by legislators because the educators can read bills and also have functioning brains? Just a thought.

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