The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

October 18, 2013

Hey feds: Hands off Iowa schools

OTTUMWA — Gov. Terry Branstad's office announced Friday that the federal government is not going to tell Iowa how to run its schools.

In recent years, No Child Left Behind laws from the U.S. government have demanded compliance with how kids are tested, what they're taught and what happens if goals are not met. An executive order signed by Branstad Thursday says we'll make our own decisions.

Let's just make sure they're the right decisions, said the Ottumwa school district's Superintendent Davis Eidahl.

He didn't have a problem with Brandstad controlling what subjects will be taught.

"The State of Iowa, not the federal government ... shall determine the content of Iowa’s state academic standards, which are known as the Iowa Core," reads the executive order.

"That statement is not going to have any impact on our curriculum," said Eidahl on Friday. "As far as the Iowa Core and the Federal Core, they're pretty much aligned. When you look at our math and literacy standards, they pretty much are the federal common core. So I don't know what statement he's making."

From the timing, said Albia Superintendent Kevin Crall, it seems to be a sort of reassurance to the people of Iowa.

"There's this stigma about [decision makers] at the national level, the feeling that federal government is messed up," Crall said. "Iowa's been a very 'local control' state. I think the governor may want to reassure stakeholders we shouldn't be dictated to [from] the federal level."

The state order would also protect Iowa if the U.S. Department of Education started making changes to their core curriculum in the future, Eidahl said.

"It could help keep us on the same path so we aren't changing course all the time," said the Ottumwa superintendent. "That [portion of the] executive order didn't bother me. What did concern me was his statement about the assessment."

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