By Rosie Hussey
Everywhere you turn, the need to improve our schools, and the work under way to do so, is being addressed. A documentary, “Waiting for Superman,” on this issue has been released nationwide in theaters. Television networks are dedicating more time than ever to the topic, while candidates for last week’s election debated what they would do if they won their political race.
As a member of the State Board of Education, I’m proud that Iowa has been ahead of the curve in recognizing the urgency to change and is taking steps to do something about it. The State Board and the Iowa Department of Education — along with the governor and Iowa Legislature — have acted in recent years to make sure our students are better prepared for the 21st century. Implementing universal preschool for 4-year-olds, planning for the smart use of technology to personalize instruction, and better utilizing data to meet individual student needs are just a few of the ways we are improving the education system.
One of the most comprehensive efforts under way to transform education is the Iowa Core Curriculum — a set of essential concepts and skills that students must master in order to be competitive in our global economy.
The Iowa Core Curriculum works to ensure that students not only have a deep understanding of the essential concepts and skills in important areas such as literacy, math, science and social studies, but also an understanding of civics, finances, technology, good health and employment skills.
In short, the Iowa Core is about making sure all students are prepared for careers, college and citizenry in the 21st century (visit http://www.iowa.gov/educate/, then click on the Iowa Core Curriculum link).
The state is in the process of fully implementing the Iowa Core, as teachers receive professional development, schools prepare their curriculum plans, and better approaches are introduced in our classrooms. By the 2014-15 school year, every school in Iowa will be moving forward with this initiative.
The sense of urgency for educational innovation is receiving more attention now than ever before. All of us, including parents and the entire community, have a role in supporting the change that is happening as Iowa heeds the call to help our schools and teachers prepare every student for their future.Rosie Hussey of Clear Lake is president of the Iowa State Board of Education. She is a member of the Mason City Chamber of Commerce and the Mason City Economic Development Board, and served as a trustee at North Iowa Area Community College. Comments: firstname.lastname@example.org