r.richardson@mchsi.com

Smaller districts more likely to strip optional items from teacher contracts

Randy Richardson, retired associate executive director of the Iowa State Education Association, has closely followed contract negotiations in Iowa public schools for many years. -promoted by desmoinesdem

Since the 2017 passage of a Republican bill to strip collective bargaining rights from public employees, a little more than 8,000 teachers (out of a total of just over 36,000 statewide) in 107 school districts have lost the benefits and rights they enjoyed in their master contracts.

The new law allowed districts to remove items that were deemed “permissive” from collective bargaining agreements. That included such topics as leaves, grievance procedure, and in-service days. Many of those items had been bargained years ago and had been in master contracts for well over 30 years.

I thought it might be worthwhile to see if these districts had any commonalities.

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What’s up with the Iowa Association of School Boards?

Randy Richardson, retired associate executive director of the Iowa State Education Association, connects some dots. -promoted by desmoinesdem

The very first sentence on the “About” page of the Iowa Association of School Boards (IASB) website reads, “Since 1946, the Iowa Association of School Boards has been committed to serving Iowa school boards and public schools.” However, public school employees may begin to wonder given some of the organization’s recent actions.

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What happened on education during the Iowa legislature's final week

Randy Richardson has the rundown on how the Iowa legislature’s final actions of 2018 will affect public school districts and higher education. -promoted by desmoinesdem

While controversial issues like abortion and tax reform grabbed the headlines last week, a number of bills impacting education saw last-minute approval before the Iowa House and Senate adjourned for the year on May 5.

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Iowa’s collective bargaining law, one year later

Randy Richardson has previously written about the consequences of Iowa collective bargaining changes here, here, and here. -promoted by desmoinesdem

Teachers in West Virginia, Oklahoma, and Kentucky have walked out of classrooms and shut schools across their states in protest of poor funding and attacks on pensions. Arizona teachers have joined the protests after years of underfunding schools in that state. In Iowa the new collective bargaining law has been in effect for a little over a year and many teachers are just now realizing the impact of the dramatic changes brought about by the legislation.

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Do we really need a test to measure civics knowledge?

Randy Richardson reports on a proposed Republican solution in search of a problem for Iowa schools. -promoted by desmoinesdem

According to a study by the Council of Great City Schools, a typical student takes 112 mandated standardized tests between pre-kindergarten classes and 12th grade. At least a few of those tests are of dubious value.

Now it appears as though one more test may be required in Iowa schools. GOP State Senator Jerry Behn from Boone introduced Senate File 2341, which would require Iowa students to take and pass a 100 question multiple choice civics test as a requirement for graduation.

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Iowa teachers are feeling the burn(out)

Randy Richardson reviews six factors pushing educators to leave the profession. -promoted by desmoinesdem

I left the classroom in 1996. I still tell people that teaching was the best job I ever had. But after 20 years in the classroom I had simply had enough of coaching, chaperoning every high school dance, teaching six different preps every day, and dealing with unreasonable parents.

Things have changed a lot in the intervening years, and the job of being a teacher has become even more difficult. Recently more than 180 teachers applied for the early retirement incentive offered by the Des Moines Public Schools. So what does cause perfectly capable teachers to suddenly decide to step away from the classroom?

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