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Teachers share concerns with teaching to standardized tests

There may be room for some hope here. Rep. Loebsack's wife Terry taught second grade for the past 28 years and is a member of the Iowa State Education Association.

But the time is coming when we must do more than say "Please."

By Patrick Hogan

Local teachers want U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack to know they worry about
teaching to standardized tests.

The educators met with the congressman on Wednesday at the state
education association̢۪s headquarters here, telling him of their hopes
for the new Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which will replace
the No Child Left Behind Act.

"We want to look at the whole child and not just reading and math
(scores)," said Tammy Wawro, president of the Cedar Rapids Education

Many of the educators said they also were disappointed with the
competitive aspects of the Department of Education's recent Race to the
Top grants, which Iowa did not win, and were worried about similar
processes in a new schools bill. The grants are intended to reward
innovative techniques that help children learn.

Loebsack, a former college professor, agreed with the teachers' concerns
and said he doubted the Elementary and Secondary Education Act
reauthorization would come before the U.S. House during its upcoming
three-week House session.

Loebsack said he wants any bill that addresses federal funding for
education to be flexible enough to handle the varying concerns of
different districts and states.

"Not all of the problems of inner-city L.A. are relevant to Cedar
Rapids," he said.

The reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act was
proposed by the Obama administration in March 2010 to address many of
the frequently criticized elements of No Child Left Behind.

Loebsack also discussed with the teachers a $26 billion aid package to
states to help prevent school district layoffs. He does not know exactly
how the funding will be distributed, but he expects the bill will save
the jobs of 1,800 Iowa teachers.

The bill is funded by closing tax loopholes for foreign corporations and
through federal stimulus funding originally planned for food stamp
benefits starting in 2014. Loebsack said there was plenty of time to
reallocate the food stamp funding.

"The bottom line is we̢۪ve got to have teachers in our schools, and this
will let districts rehire the teachers they laid off," Loebsack said.

Loebsack's Republican opponent this fall, Dr. Marianette Miller-Meeks of
Ottumwa, said she would not have voted for the aid package.

"There was $30 billion of unspent money for education on the last
stimulus that was allocated for this year that wasn't spent," said
Miller-Meeks during a visit in Marion on Wednesday. "They could have
used that money to pay for this."

Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Gazette





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