Rep. Mark Smith Touts Education Improvements

My State Representitive Mark Smith (D-Marshalltown) put out a press release this week citing the improvements in education made during the last legislative session. As a teacher, I am very excited about many of these.

Smith highlights expanded access to pre-school, higher teacher pay, and more affordable higher education. Many would think I would be most excited about the teacher pay since I am a teacher. However, I think the expanded access to pre-school and affordable higher education will have the most long lasting benefits and are the most significant achievements. Don't get me wrong, the extra money I will be getting next year and beyond will be nice, but you don't go into teacher to earn a lot of money.

The expanded access to pre-school will greatly help students come to school prepared to learn. This will make my job easy. I teach 2nd grade and this year I had 5 students reading at a kindergarten level at the beginning of the year. Of these students, only 1 had attended pre-school.

I have written numerous times about the rise in cost of a college education and our debt for diploma system.  If we want to keep our young adults in the state, affodable higher education must be a priority.

It is great to see education once again become a priority in our state. These efforts will only strengthen our state in the future.


Des Moines, Iowa – State Representative Mark Smith, D-Marshalltown cited
improvements in education from birth to college as one of the top
achievements of the 2007 legislative session, which ended last month.

“We came into session with a detailed plan to improve our education
system and ensure our graduates are prepared for the jobs in today’s
global economy. We accomplished every piece of our education agenda and
Iowans will see the difference with expanded pre-school opportunities,
more competitive pay for teachers and more affordable higher education,”
said Smith.

Education highlights from the 2007 legislative session include:

Early Childhood
• Expanded special education services for birth to three year olds
(Senate File 588)
• 90% of four year olds have access to quality, affordable pre-school
within the next four years (House File 877)

K-12 Education
• Raised Iowa teacher salaries from 42nd to 25th over the next two years
(Senate File 277)
• Insisted that Iowa teachers are certified in the subjects they teach
(Senate File 588)
• Expanded tutoring and before/after-school programs to ensure students
get the academic assistance they need to be proficient at their grade
level (Senate File 588)

Higher Education
• Expanded work-study programs for community college and university
students (Senate File 588)
• Limited state university tuition increases to no more than the rate of
inflation (Senate File 588/Senate File 601)
• Made Iowa community college tuitions comparable to states in the
region (Senate File 588/Senate File 601)

Tags: Education

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  • expanded access to pre-school is great

    I do not believe that every child has to go to pre-school to thrive, but it's important for at-risk kids to have access to pre-school. I am aware of several families in which developmental issues were discovered when kids started pre-school, allowing earlier intervention than if those children had not been in a school setting until age 5 or 6.