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Iowa Senate Dems say their educational town halls are better

Offering comparison charts of educational town hall meetings over the past several months, Iowa Senate Democrats charged their party’s offerings have been held at more family- and teacher-friendly times.

“Iowans believe strong local schools are key to our state’s economic future,” Sen. Brian Schoenjahn (D-Arlington) said in a statement. “Teachers, parents and students have lots of ideas on improving our schools. At the same time, they are wary of a one-size-fits-all approach imposed from above and about a lack of state support.”

Schoenjahn, chairman of the Senate Education Appropriations Subcommittee, and his fellow Democrats have held more than 25 evening meetings throughout the state. The Branstad administration has also been holding meetings, and Democrats are quick to note that of the 21 executive branch meetings since Sept. 1, only two began after 5 p.m.

“To achieve real education reform, you need to get everyone on board,” Schoenjahn said. “For example, when we made high quality preschool available to every Iowa four-year-old, we did it by involving parents, teachers, employers as well as public and private preschool providers and funders. By holding meetings this fall when everyone can attend, we will be better able to represent the voices of working parents and Iowa teachers when the education debate begins at the statehouse next spring.”

Here’s is the chart of forums offered by legislative Democrats:

Image has not been found. URL: http://media.iowaindependent.com/democrat_ed_forums.jpg

Here is the chart of forums offered by the Branstad administration:

Image has not been found. URL: http://media.iowaindependent.com/branstad_ed_forums.jpg

In October, the Branstad administration rolled out its proposed state education reforms, One Unshakable Vision: World-Class Schools for Iowa. The administration has signaled that it wants the proposal considered as one comprehensive package instead of as individual ideas to be voted on separately by the legislature. An exact cost of the package, however, has not yet been disclosed and is not expected until after the 2012 General Assembly convenes in January.

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