Rep. Dan Kelley, D-Newton, expressed disappointment of the passage of a massive education reform measure in the Iowa House on Wednesday.
"While there were many areas of agreement, I'm disappointed several common sense, research-based ideas supported by many teachers, students and parents were not included," Kelley said. "We should have included plans to lower class sizes in kindergarten through third grade and approved an early family literacy plan."
Kelley said the plan, which largely follows Governor Branstad's blueprint for overhauling the state's education system, also contains many controversial ideas opposed by many eduators and parents, including a proposal to hold back third graders who don't pass a reading test and eliminating standards for schools.
Another aspect of the measure which lead to Kelley's no vote allows Iowa students to get 100 percent of their education through on-line programs operated by an out-of-state, for-profit company. Kelley said that while he could support on-line learning as a supplemental aspect of the education system, allowing students to never be in a classroom with a teacher and others students is concerning.
Kelley did, however, support some aspects of the legislation including expanding the statewide preschool program from 10 to 15 hours per week and expanding Advanced Placement on-line classes.
"We worked together to build consensus on many important parts of the bill," he said. "We found agreement on competency based education, which is a revolutionary way of providing education with more personalized instruction and the progress of students guided by mastery of subjects. We also supported efforts to recruit and retain great teachers, engage more parents and put every student on track for post-secondary or skill-specific trades."
The measure passed on a nearly party line vote 53-46 and now goes to the Iowa Senate.