Iowa education fund drops
Iowa’s education fund has dropped from $1.271 billion in fiscal year 2009 to $815 million in the current fiscal year. Gov. Culver is aiming for $861 million for next year’s budget. Photo: Tyler Kingkade/Iowa State Daily

Frustrations over education cuts came to a boil as Spring Break began in Iowa. Break allowed a chance for students to visit their homes and realize the next generation will face a vastly different curriculum thanks to budget cuts in nearly every school district.

Iowa’s education fund has dropped from $1.271 billion in fiscal year 2009 to $815 million in the current fiscal year. The Iowa Legislature is aiming for $844 million next year’s budget while Gov. Chet Culver has put a target at $861 million.

Des Moines Public Schools have proposed eliminating 480 positions, most of them teachers, and will make a final decision in April.

Ames Public Schools is considering cutting positions, eliminating funding for high school dances and eliminating middle school orchestra — a savings of $45,286, while scaling back music programs in elementary schools. All to reach a goal of cutting $3.5 million from their budget for the next fiscal year and $1.5 million for the 2011–’12 fiscal year.

In response, a Web site and Twitter account launched called “Save Ames Music.”

Outside of Iowa, Kansas City, Mo., is considering closing half of the public schools. Teachers and assistant principals may be laid off over the next two years for the first time in Omaha Public Schools history after a 12–0 vote March 15 by the Omaha Public School Board.

On March 14, Sen. Tom Harkin and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan held a town hall-styled meeting with a standing-room only crowd of near 150 at Morris Elementary on Des Moines’ south side where Duncan largely pushed President Barack Obama’s planned overhaul of No Child Left Behind.

Outside, concerned parents stood with signs, like Jeffery J. Weiss’ reading “Make Music Not War.” Others distributed flyers urging support for music education funding. Weiss was there representing the Catholic Peace Ministry with his two daughters.

Before the doors were opened, a group of middle school teachers stood and discussed the cuts their respective schools were facing.

“I’m afraid for education, I’m afraid for our kids,” said Susan Boll, a Carlisle middle school science teacher about why she was attending. “We have been dumbed down so much and the last eight [years] have been phenomenal.”

No Child Left Behind was the hallmark achievement of President George W. Bush’s first year in office and based success of children performing on grade-level requirements determined by scores on standardized testing such as the Iowa Tests of Educational Development.

Betsy LeBlond has been a certified substitute teacher for more than 15 years because she does not want to “deal with the bureaucracy.”

“Teachers are so run down, so exhausted, so unsupported by the administration,” LeBlond commented.

Many of the attendees waiting for the start of the panel expressed passionate disapproval of NCLB and proposed cuts to English Second Language educators as well as to the arts.

Duncan said NCLB “didn’t work” and put a spotlight on the achievement gap. He added, “One of the big failures is money was left behind.”

“The law was too punitive,” Duncan said as he declared a need to reward excellence. “There’s success out there but no one is learning from them.”

Duncan emphasized giving more autonomy to school systems and less “micro-managing from Washington.”

Both Harkin and Duncan boasted the $350 million included in the Recovery Act for state education systems, though the Iowa State Education Association has said lawmakers used a majority of the money this year.

Duncan said investing in technology could create a “great equalizer” among schools and added assessment testing needed reevaluating.

“If we raise the bar, I have no doubt kids will do better,” he said.

Once questions from the audience were taken in the meeting, a man quickly stood and voiced his frustrations with Iowa’s education system.

“You say you’ve been there for 23 years; well, Senator Harkin, you get an ‘F’!” he burst in reference to Harkin’s years as the head of the Senate Education Appropriations Committee.

Attendees brought up charter schools, Gifted & Talented programs and music programs, including one parent who said, “My third grader will not have choir, orchestra and band like my fifth grader did.”

Weiss shouted from the back, “Cut the Pentagon budget.” The sentiment was quickly picked up by many other audience members, who called for a shift from defense spending to education spending. Duncan and Harkin tried to move the conversation forward, but were continually interrupted by the same shouting.

Eventually Duncan admitted, “I’ve been thinking the same thing.”

Maggie Rawland of Des Moines, a retired school teacher, had been holding up a sign which read “$ for Arts, Not Arms!” She said Duncan’s comment about defense spending was a bright light during the discussion. Earlier that week, students arranged a gathering outside of Merrill Middle School in Des Moines to protest the cuts before the school day started March 8. The rally was organized by Theresa Hoffman’s language arts students while Hoffman got an OK with Merrill’s principal.

“They were very upset that we lost shop and drama [last year], and then when they heard we were going to lose vocal music and that I am retiring and a math teacher is retiring, and they’re not replacing us, they’re concerned with the size of classes,” Hoffman explained.

Hoffman pointed to her frustrations with the DMPS district’s plan to lay off teachers while new positions are developed with people who will travel between schools and “help teachers be better teachers,” as she put it.

“Some of the schools went into a program called International Baccalaureate,” Hoffman said, adding that despite her’s and other colleague’s planned retirements they were still put through the training.

IB is a nonprofit educational foundation founded in Switzerland in 1968 holding a strong interest in preparation for an international future.

“They paid full dollar to fly us. I went all the way to Montreal, Canada, got ‘wined and dined,’” Hoffman revealed. “I was in a class size of about 10 and taught by a woman who was flown out there from Colorado Springs — it didn’t make sense to me.”Hoffman said her plane trip cost $700 and estimated the hotel rooms cost above $200 a night for three nights, not including the price of the training itself and food and drink, for about 60 staffers from Merrill and another 60 from Goodrell. Hoffman further claimed eight positions were excessed at Goodrell Middle School because they ran out of money paying for the IB training.

“They are making them excessed because they’re saying you have to be IB trained to be in that school,” she said.

Hoffman has taught for 33 years in both Des Moines and Muscatine, and now has a master’s degree. She said the teaching methods and responsibilities have changed, as well as the family structure contributing to the current situation. Hoffman also pointed out the decline in Iowa’s rank in education. She attributed part of the decline to NCLB, which she called “a bunch of crap.”

“We are in a profession where people are too afraid to speak out,” Hoffman claimed.

Ashleigh Mills, senior in English education from Des Moines, switched her focus last semester from going to law school to opting to become a teacher in order to give back to the community. Now amid massive budget cutting she admits the profession is “scary” and does not see incentive for progress. Mills is disappointed to see arts and physical education being targeted, calling it “cutting creativity,” further explaining how teachers pointed out her gift of writing prompting her focus on English in college.

“Kids need that outlet,” Mills said. “It’s a long day from 7 to 3 and they need that release, like recess.”

On March 9, community members attended the Des Moines School Board meeting to voice their concern. Two days later, a rally in support of funding for the arts and music was held on the steps of the Iowa Capitol.

Patrick J. Kearney, a music educator from Johnston High School, is encouraging the 6,324 members of his “Support Music Education in the Des Moines Public Schools” Facebook group to attend the DMPS Board budget forum next Tuesday.

Des Moines may receive $26.6 million more than what administrators are currently expecting as a part of the state’s plan to pay districts enough to allow their budgets to expand by 2 percent in the 2010–’11 school year.

Mills believes at this point the state should be allocating more money to education as a way out of the current recession.

“We need smart kids,” she explained. “We’re raising the future. It sounds cliché, but it’s true.”

(40) comments

Jason F Delarosa

The Government should raise more fund and money for the school as going to rise in the number of students by passing every new year. And they should keep these things in their mind. And au.edusson.com type of education is very important and significant whether its arts, music or math. Every subject is equal.

Thiruvonam Thiruvonam

Immediately the following web-site might glimmer recognition amongst the majority of blog plus site-building consumers, because of meticulous discussions and also product reviews. annemiekish

Thiruvonam Thiruvonam

Please share more like that. phenq

Michel Jhon

That may perform short-term, nevertheless it’s not just a useful long-term solution regarding males who would like to become with this particular 1 distinctive lady these folks can’t quit thinking about. Jual Lenovo

Michel Jhon

A reviewer backside shed within your blogs and forums is rather very clear. flat belly drink loophole system by andrew raposo

Michel Jhon

When i got onto your blog site though putting attention HTTP://kccatl.com/ simply just a little bit submits. Pleasant strategy for future, I will be bookmarking at a time get ones finish springs up.

Michel Jhon

I just prefer to explain to you that i solely investigate your web sites not to mention I just think it's especially significant not to mention instructive.. New Casino Sites

Michel Jhon

I favor your current article. It can be very good to view anyone explain in words through the cardiovascular along with lucidity for this critical issue might be quickly seen. details watch internet site. https://www.scribd.com/user/357756072/personalinjuryattorneymetairie

Michel Jhon

Craft alot more articles and reviews in this particular area you now have the ideal approach to help you support writters. RioProfits

Thiruvonam Thiruvonam

Took me time to read all the comments, but I really enjoyed the article. It proved to be Very helpful to me and I am sure to all the commenters here! It’s always nice when you can not only be informed, but also entertained! latestmodapps

Thiruvonam Thiruvonam

I’ve read some good stuff here. Definitely worth bookmarking for revisiting. I surprise how much effort you put to create such a great informative website. download this app

Michel Jhon

Unless Document look at your blog, I did not likely understandthat varied cities gave them in a different. hundegodbidder

Michel Jhon

Výborný příspěvek, jste vždycky nějaké velké druh projektů s tebou, jsem viděl dřevostavby na svém blogu, který dělal mě přemýšlet o najímání vás brzy mého domu.

Thiruvonam Thiruvonam

Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed browsing your blog posts. After all I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again soon! click this

Michel Jhon

wow what a great post is this... thanks for sharing boss, keep share these valuable content. www.monmasque.com/accessoires/30-desincrusteur-electrique-visage.html

Michel Jhon

We really discover your site with regard to performing checks in addition We really now arrived at really feel therefore asked. We really seemed to be obtainable an activity to attempt your own for the unique creating business in addition Picture avoiding all of them. Perhaps now, with the way of thinking you really talented individuals, I will give it a try. cbd gummies

hankry ss

free followers We're attracted in your write-up. It really is good to learn about most people explain in words relating to the heart additionally becoming familiar with within this serious template is typically quickly located. get instagram likes

Thiruvonam Thiruvonam

I admire this article for the well-researched content and excellent wording. I got so involved in this material that I couldn’t stop reading. I am impressed with your work and skill. Thank you so much. best forskolin

Michel Jhon

free instagram followers I am looking for and I love to post a comment that "The content of your post is awesome" Great work! free instagram likes

Michel Jhon

This is right the info I am exploring omnipresent. Acknowledges for your blog, I legitimate attest your blog. This is a stunning blog. airport taxi services franklin MA

Thiruvonam Thiruvonam

Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic. If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your blog with extra information? It is extremely helpful for me. שלמה קוגן הון חברתי

vitar tools

پنجره دوجداره یو پی وی سی, فروش پنجره دو سه جداره يو پي وي سي ويستابست, فروش تعویض پنجره قدیمی آهنی, فروش پنجره دوجداره ضد صرقت
پنجره دوجداره یو پی وی سی, فروش پنجره دو سه جداره يو پي وي سي ويستابست, فروش تعویض پنجره قدیمی آهنی, فروش پنجره دوجداره ضد صرقت

vitar tools

پنجره دوجداره یو پی وی سی, فروش پنجره دو سه جداره يو پي وي سي ويستابست, فروش تعویض پنجره قدیمی آهنی, فروش پنجره دوجداره ضد صرقت
پنجره دوجداره

Thiruvonam Thiruvonam

If you are looking for more information about flat rate locksmith Las Vegas check that right away. kto dzwonił

Thiruvonam Thiruvonam

Thank you very much for writing such an interesting article on this topic. This has really made me think and I hope to read more. refurbished or used forklift

Thiruvonam Thiruvonam

That is the excellent mindset, nonetheless is just not help to make every sence whatsoever preaching about that mather. Virtually any method many thanks in addition to i had endeavor to promote your own article in to delicius nevertheless it is apparently a dilemma using your information sites can you please recheck the idea. thanks once more. pasta

Thiruvonam Thiruvonam

Wow! This could be one of the most useful blogs we have ever come across on thesubject. Actually excellent info! I’m also an expert in this topic so I can understand your effort. joker139

Thiruvonam Thiruvonam

This was really an interesting topic and I kinda agree with what you have mentioned here! Bidet sprayer

Thiruvonam Thiruvonam

very interesting post.this is my first time visit here.i found so mmany interesting stuff in your blog especially its discussion..thanks for the post! real estate photography

Thiruvonam Thiruvonam

Wonderful blog! I found it while surfing around on Yahoo News. Do you have any suggestions on how to get listed in Yahoo News? I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem to get there! Appreciate it. Cairns Private Transfers

vitar tools

A single inspire a lot of websites on the internet onto your net sign My own party will be allowed to continue to be contemplating generate income at any time in your lifetime find out research with may well. Company Registration

lee koongf

I think this is an informative post and it is very useful and knowledgeable. therefore, I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article

joker711

billy bennet

Get crystal clear vision in 21 days!
For More Info, Please Visit http://outbackvisionprotocol.org/

Thiruvonam Thiruvonam

Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic. If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your blog with extra information? It is extremely helpful for me. brian holm lawyer san diego

billy bennet

No need for any corrective lens, dangerous surgery, absurd eye exercises. Within this program, what's done naturally in as little as 21 days.
For More Info, Watch This: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Unwb6Sgfybc

billy bennet

Nutrisystem Lean 13, also known as Turbo 13, is a weight reduction program that makes it possible to drop up to 13 lbs and 7 inches in your first month.
For More Info, Watch This

billy bennet

This system is supposed to quicken your weight loss results. There is not any counting calories, carbohydrates or points. After all the Nutrisystem food has been portioned out.
For More Info, Watch This

billy bennet

The Science Launched Six Package program makes it feasible for both women and men to eliminate their stubborn body fat to substitute it with lean muscle.
More Info On This Video

Thiruvonam Thiruvonam

I really impressed after read this because of some quality work and informative thoughts . I just wanna say thanks for the writer and wish you all the best for coming!. airport taxi

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.