Bruce Lear

When TLC isn't Tender Loving Care

Bruce Lear explains the problems with a teacher development program that has consumed a substantial share of new state funding for public education in recent years. -promoted by desmoinesdem

Since when does TLC not stand for Tender Loving Care? Since 2013, TLC has come to mean something totally different to Iowa educators.

During the second coming of the Terry Branstad administration, a new teacher funding program called Teacher Leader Compensation (TLC) began. While all of the major education groups in 2013 welcomed the new money, everyone forgot what it could do to overall school funding for the future. Like the un-forecasted snow storm, TLC has caused major unpredicted and unintended damage to Iowa schools.

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A perfect Iowa storm

Retired educator Bruce Lear warns about factors driving Iowa toward a significant teacher shortage. -promoted by desmoinesdem

Iowa is in the midst of a perfect storm. It’s not a blizzard, a tornado, or a flood. This one is man-made, and unfortunately it won’t move through the state until the current batch of majority party politicians are blown away by its gale force wind.

There are really three man-made causes fueling this storm, which has the potential to cause at least two major kinds of damage.

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An extreme coupon plan

Retired educator Bruce Lear sounds the alarm about a policy some Republican state lawmakers and conservative advocacy organizations want to pursue this year. -promoted by desmoinesdem

There is little doubt, coupons have helped build America consumerism. For some, if there isn’t a coupon, there isn’t a bargain. There is nothing wrong with that approach to shopping. In fact, it has become a hobby for some and even spawned reality TV shows. It’s a choice, and the shopper’s choice alone. It’s really a contract between the shopper and the store.

Now comes the Republican Party with their own coupon offering, but this one has big catch. The coupon is not free in the newspaper or on the internet. It’s paid for by tax dollars. It’s a voucher plan the Republican Party has labeled as an Education Savings Accounts. But don’t be fooled, they can call it anything they like, it’s still a coupon for private tuition paid for by Iowa taxpayers.

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Learning from the past

Former teacher Bruce Lear, a retired regional director for the Iowa State Education Association, looks at one of the major events of the 2017 legislative session for insight on what to expect from Republican lawmakers next year. -promoted by desmoinesdem

Teddy Roosevelt said, “The more you know about the past, the better prepared you are for the future.” One piece of recent history that needs to be revisited, as the next legislative session begins, is the dismantling of Chapter 20, the collective bargaining bill. Oh, I can hear it now, “Stop whining about what happened and make the best of it.” The problem with that rationale is we still don’t know the full impact of what was done to us.

So, before we examine the possible impacts, indulge me and let’s revisit the ugly beginning of the 2017 session that culminated in Governor Terry Branstad signing the bill on the cold morning of February 17.

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