The Iowa Business Council supprots changes in the delivery of Iowa’s preK-16 education system that will:
- drive administrative efficiency throughout;
- spur student and teacher development in key subject areas like math, science, reading, problem solving, creative thinking, team building, cultural awareness, foreign languages, and financial literacy;
- promote excellence and ethics in all aspects of performance and moral character strengths needed for 21st Century skills, e.g., effort, dilligence, work ethic, positive attitude, self-discipline, honesty, respect, dependability, integrity;
- encourage and facilitate professional development for teachers and merit-based assessment of their performance; and,
- enhance a quality, lifelong learning experience
In turn, sustainable funding resources must be established for other value-added areas such as teacher compensation, reductions in student tuition, and certified early education for all children.
SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING AND MATHEMATICS (STEM)
The Council collaborates with organizations throughout Iowa to generate new interest and create enthusiasm among teachers and students for STEM-oriented curricula and related careers. This is a critically important issue to the future growth and prosperity of the state’s economy. The ultimate goal is for Iowa to be recognized as the premier state in valuing and delivering a quality education relating to STEM.
The Iowa Business Council supports key STEM initiatives to increase the number of students and teachers entering the science, technology, engineering and math professions, such as:
Corridor Stem Initiative (CSI): CSI is focused on generating new interest and creating enthusiasm among students and teachers for STEM-oriented curricula and related careers in Iowa, with the ultimate goal of making Iowa the premier state for delivering a quality STEM education.
Iowa Math & Science Coalition (IMSC): IMSC engages leaders from business, government, and education to influence public policy and curricula development, align community and business needs and resources to provide globally-competitive STEM education for all Iowans.
Iowa Math & Science Education Partnership (IMSEP): IMSEP is a Regent-sponsored initiative with projects spread throughout the three public universities focused on: invigorating the K-12 curriculum; recruiting talented individuals to high school and community college science and math teaching; and, updating current teachers with the real world applications of their disciplines.
Project Lead The Way (PLTW): PLTW is a national program forming partnerships among public schools, higher education, and the business sector, engaging students in hands-on, real-world, project-based learning to increase the quantity and quality of engineers and engineering technologists graduating from our colleges and universities.
EDUCATION EXCELLENCE IN IOWA ROUNDTABLE
A discernable need exists for a non-partisan forum of statewide business leaders and education officials that informs Iowans and mobilizes opinion in order to improve our public elementary, secondary, and post-secondary schools while, in the process, producing better prepared graduates for the demands of today’s global society. The Education Excellence in Iowa Roundtable will focus on preK-16, working to elevate academic performance to superior achievement levels, employ effective standards and assessments that promote accountability with meaningful rewards and consequences, and establish substantive career development opportunities. Frequent Roundtable interaction will provide avenues for problem solving, the creation of professional learning communities, and the ability for educators to learn about innovations and best practices in other industries. Cross-industry/education/government collaboration will also help identify and build the skill sets needed by our graduates in the 21st Century.
STUDENT HEALTH AND WELLNESS
Up to 34 percent of children and teenagers in the United States today are considered to be overweight or obese, the prevalence of which varies by ethnic group. Though not all obese children become obese adults, obesity tends to increase with age among both males and females, and there is a greater likelihood that early childhood obesity will persist through the life span. Numerous physical risks and psychological problems exist for obese children: pediatric hypertension; Type II diabetes mellitus; coronary heart disease; stress on the weight-bearing joints; lower self-esteem; and, negative relationships with peers. Evidence also exists that healthy, active children learn better and achieve best when they are physically fit. Cardiovascular exercise literally builds new brain cells. Exercise has also been shown to improve attention span and focus, lower anxiety and depression levels, and result in fewer discipline incidents - all factors that impact learning. After students exercise, tehy are less impulsive. Their motivation to learn is increased and they have less desire to get out of their chairs and move around.
The Iowa Business Council supports initiatives that seek to develop healthy, active, productive school children who will eventually grow to become healthy, active, productive adults such as:
- IBC/PE4life Adopt-A-School Challenge: PE4life is a national non-profit advocacy organization committed to inspiring and promoting active, healthy lifestyles in children through access to quality, health-related school physical education programs. The IBC/PE4life Adopt-A-School Challenge seeks to deevlop an enriched culture of active, healthy lifestyles for children in 50 elementary and secondary schools throughout Iowa. For move information, please visit the link above.
BALANCED AND COMPREHENSIVE ASSESSMENT SYSTEM FOR K-12
A timely and effective method of academic assessment is fundamental to knowing whether students’ learning is progressing to meet state and national standards. The Business Council supports implementing a balanced and comprehensive assessment plan that adequately measaures the essential concepts and skill sets embedded within the Iowa Core Curriculum. The assessment program should provide mechanisms to manage and analyze data and communicate with key stakeholders regarding progress in a timely manner. Professional development will be needed to help educators build capacity in appropriate assessment use and analysis.
CONTINUED ROLLOUT OF EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION SYSTEMS
Access to quality early childhood education should be available to parents of all Iowa children. Scientific research strongly suggests that children who begin school with cognitive abilities and skill sets that lat behind their peers are never fully able to close the gap regardless of the depth and degree of remedial efforts. Striking disparities in what children know and can do is evident well before kindergarten. Differences are strongly associated with social and economic circumstances and predictive of subsequent academic performance. The availability of high quality early childhood education for all children results in long-term positive outcomes and cost savings by virtue of improved school performance, lower dropout rates, and increased lifelong earning potential.