Three state task forces release final reports
Members of three state education task forces today released their final reports, which address such areas as teacher and school administrator evaluations, the state’s teaching standards, and the concept of a longer school day and school year.
The Instructional Time Task Force, the Administrator Evaluation Task Force, and the Teaching Standards and Teacher Evaluation Task Force are three of six state task forces established as part of Senate File 2284, the education package adopted by the Iowa Legislature in the spring.
“It can be difficult to come together as a state on important issues that impact Iowa’s education system,” said Iowa Department of Education Director Jason Glass. “That’s why I’m so encouraged by all of the hard work that these consensus-minded task force members have accomplished in a short period of time.”
Instructional Time Task Force
The Instructional Time Task Force was created to study issues such as the school start date, the length of the school day and school year, and after-school programming. Among the recommendations:
- Local school districts should continue to set the length of the school day for their students. However, Iowa should encourage extended time opportunities through after-school programs and support school districts that commit to innovative efforts.
- State lawmakers should require Iowa schools to meet a minimum of 1,080 hours of instructional time for each school year beginning with the 2014-15 academic year to allow for more effective use of instructional time.
- Current law regarding the school-year start date needs clarity, definition, or change. State lawmakers and the Governor must make a decision on the issue that best benefits Iowa’s students.
Administrator Evaluation Task Force
The Administrator Evaluation Task Force was created to study evaluation practices for Iowa school administrators and to develop recommendations for a statewide system.
Among the recommendations:
- Create, implement, and sustain a research-based rubric administrator effectiveness system that incorporates ongoing and formative tools and processes to promote continuous improvement of the administrator, the school, and the school system.
- Enhance and maintain professional supports for administrators performing at different levels of experience, and build the human and social capital within the system that will support their growth over time.
- Develop, execute, and maintain a research and development component tied to the administrator effectiveness system with the purpose of evaluating, making system improvements, and informing stakeholders.
Teaching Standards and Teacher Evaluation Task Force
The Teaching Standards and Teacher Evaluation Task Force was created to recommend ways to improve the Iowa teaching standards and evaluations of the state’s teachers.
Among the recommendations:
- Revise the current Iowa Teaching Standards to align pre-service with PK-12 teaching, to be based on best practice and nationally accepted standards, and to address knowledge, skill, performance, and dispositions.
- Develop an improved teacher evaluation system to replace the existing evaluation system for teachers. Include a researched-based rubric that differentiates each level of teaching performance and ensures a consistent implementation statewide. Make training and professional development an integral component of the system.
- The Iowa Legislature will require a work group to identify standards and create an improved teacher evaluation system to be implemented with fidelity statewide in an effort to create effective teachers as part of a system of development.
Final reports for the three task forces were due to the Iowa Legislature today. A fourth report due today from the Task Force on Teacher Leadership and Compensation was submitted Oct. 11.
Two other state task forces will continue to work on recommendations. A final report from the Task Force on Early Childhood Assessment is due Nov. 15, while the Competency-Based Instruction Task Force's preliminary report is due Jan. 15.