DES MOINES — Iowa’s sweeping education reform law of 2013 changed the way teachers can be paid and promoted, students tested and school districts evaluated all in the name of making sure high school seniors are prepared to enter the workforce or higher education upon graduation.
But how the state determines if graduating seniors are college-ready or career-ready is anybody’s guess.
Iowa is one of eight states and the District of Columbia that doesn’t have a definition for “career ready” or “college ready,” according to a report released this week by the Center on Education Policy.
The terms aren’t random either. They’re used by the U.S. Department of Education as a basis for evaluating state testing standards and assessments in English, mathematics and other subjects.
Staci Hupp, spokeswoman for the Iowa Department of Education, said there was an attempt to include language to create definitions in the education reform package.
“The education reform bill proposed by Gov. (Terry) Branstad included a state commission to define what it means to be college- and career-ready. This was not included in the final education reform bill adopted by the Legislature,” Hupp wrote in an email. “I would also add that a lot of work continues to go into implementing our state standards (the Iowa Core) and looking closely at our state assessment.”
Business groups also made their own run to allow schools to include a special “career-ready” designation on the diplomas of certain students. But that proposal died in the Legislature as well.
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