2:32 pm
Mon February 11, 2013

In Wake of Shootings, Iowa Schools Put Safety Plans in Place

Two portable classrooms sit outside Studebaker Elementary School in southeast Des Moines, readied to be sold. The Des Moines Public School District is getting rid of its portables because students had to walk between buildings regularly.
Credit Clay Masters / IPR

As President Obama’s gun control proposals make their slow way through Congress, Iowa, and every state in the nation, is asking the same question. How do we protect our children from gun violence? Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters talked to some of the voices in this debate and visited a school in Des Moines.

At Studebaker elementary school in southeast Des Moines, students practice a fire drill.  They exit the building in single file.

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5:47 pm
Thu February 7, 2013

Ruud named to lead UNI

William Ruud, the new President of UNI
Credit IPR's Dean Borg

The State Board of Regents today announced the selection of William N. Ruud (ROOD), as the 10th president of the University of Northern Iowa. Ruud currently serves as president of Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania.

Ruud will assume the duties of UNI president on June 1 and will be paid an annual salary of $340,000. The date for an official welcoming on the UNI campus will be announced later.  Ruud was one of two finalists for the job. The other was Indiana University-Purdue University Chancellor Emeritus Michael Wartell.

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Teacher Evaluations
11:25 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

Teacher Evaluations Under Fire

Whether student performance should be considered  when teachers are evaluated has once again become a divisive issue at the statehouse.    The Department of Education proposes scrapping Iowa’s current teacher evaluation standards, and writing new ones to satisfy the federal government.   Otherwise, they say, Iowa will remain under the demanding requirements of federal education law.

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8:10 am
Sun January 27, 2013

Watching out for Bald Eagles

The splendor of watching our national symbol soar over Iowa skies is more noticeable than in the past. The Bald Eagle is making a comeback from years of being on the endangered species list. But, although the threat of the poisonous insecticide DDT, which thinned the bird’s eggshells, is banned there are other perils. Karen Disbrow is president of the Iowa City Bird Club. The Club is taking part in Saturday, February 9th Eagle Expo in Coralville, which features speakers and exhibitors at the Brown Deer Golf Club and eagle viewing at the Coralville Dam spillway.

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8:01 am
Wed January 23, 2013

Branstad's Education Proposals Get an Early Hearing

Gov. Branstad speaks to a state bullying summit in November. His education reform bill does not address school bullying.
Credit Clay Masters / IPR

Governor Branstad’s education reform proposal received high praise from those that helped inform its creation at a House committee hearing Tuesday. But some say it doesn’t confront major problems that face Iowa’s students.

The package includes raising beginning teacher salaries from $28,000 to $32,000. There’s tuition forgiveness for teachers that stay in Iowa. It creates pathways for veteran teachers to mentor new teachers so there’s incentive for them to stick with teaching.

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7:44 am
Wed January 2, 2013

Iowa's Education Department Seeks Funding for Online Classes

The Iowa Department of Education is seeking state funding to expand on-line education for high school students. The Department is now operating what’s called “Iowa Learning Online” with federal funding that’s expiring.

State Education Director Jason Glass says the program is serving students who aren’t doing well in traditional classrooms.

“We have students that are bullied. We have students that are medically fragile. We have students that need to be home for any number of reasons, “ Glass says. “Those are the kind of students we want to make this an option for.”

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11:23 pm
Sun December 16, 2012

Combating Bullying of Gay Youth in Iowa

Newton High School Senior Ella Daft stands outside Newton High School.
Credit Clay Masters / IPR

Same sex marriage is legal in Iowa and it appears to be gaining acceptance. A Supreme Court justice who was part of the ruling that paved the way for same-sex marriage was retained in a heated campaign this year. But advocates for gay teens say bullying is still a problem in schools. 

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8:45 pm
Tue December 11, 2012

New Tests for New Teachers

Starting next year, graduates  of Iowa’s teacher preparation programs will be required to pass exams with a minimum score in order to get a license to teach.   Iowa is one of the last  holdouts in the country in not requiring  testing of new teachers.  But at a statehouse committee meeting  today  there were complaints that this year’s graduating seniors  didn’t get enough advance warning.   

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7:26 am
Fri December 7, 2012

Regents Decline to Renew UI President Sally Mason's Contract

The Iowa Board of Regents is declining to renew a contract with University of Iowa President Sally Mason. Regents President Craig Lang confirms that Mason is working without a contract.

“Her contract – five-year contract – was up in August,” he says. “We did not renew a new contract with President Mason. She is employed at will.”

Lang says the Regents are asking Mason to improve the University’s statewide outreach, improve relations with the Iowa Legislature, and establish goals.

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5:15 pm
Tue November 27, 2012

Bullying Prevention Summit Focuses on Community Solutions

Parenting and Bullying Expert Rosalind Wiseman talks to a crowd of more than 1100 at the Hy-Vee Hall in downtown Des Moines
Credit Clay Masters / IPR

More than 1100 Iowa educators, students and community members from across the state came to Des Moines Tuesday for Governor Branstad’s first Bullying Prevention Summit. As Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters reports the message was not just about how to respond to bullying, but how to prevent it.

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5:04 pm
Wed November 14, 2012

"Argo" Rescue in Iran Remembered by Waverly Woman

Former Iranian hostage Kathryn Koob lives in Waverly
Credit Courtesy photo

The highly acclaimed movie “Argo” is finishing its run through Iowa theaters this week. Directed by Ben Affleck “Argo” depicts the rescue of six U.S. Embassy workers from Iran during the 1979 hostage crisis.

A Waverly woman, Kathryn Koob has a unique prospective of those events because she was one of two women who did not escape and was held by the Revolutionary Guard for 444 days.

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3:15 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

Iowa Educators Could See Pay Increase

Iowa Department of Education

Iowa teachers would see their base pay bump if new recommendations from an education task force are put into place. Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters reports.

Year-Round School
2:28 pm
Wed October 3, 2012

Year-Round School Considered

A state task force wants Iowa schools to move toward  air-conditioning their classrooms.   It’s part of a drive toward year-round schedules  which experts say can boost student achievement.

Teacher Salaries
4:15 pm
Fri September 28, 2012

School Administrator Warning on Teacher Raises

Advocates  for higher teacher pay better be upfront about just how much it’s going to cost, and who’s going to cover it, if they want to achieve their goal.    That's according to a representative of Iowa’s school administrators who’s serving on a task force on teacher salaries.

10:14 am
Thu September 20, 2012

Iowa Educators Need More Time to Create New Teacher Evaluations

Iowa Department of Education

During the last Iowa legislative session, lawmakers failed to agree on how beef up teacher evaluations. Instead they commissioned a task force to make recommendations for next year. The task force met in Des Moines on Wednesday. 

5:47 pm
Wed September 12, 2012

2013 Iowa Teacher of the Year

2013 Iowa Teacher of the Year Tania Johnson with Governor Terry Branstad and Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds
Dean Borg

Governor Terry Branstad has named veteran Cedar Rapids educator Tania Johnson  the 2013 Iowa Teacher of the Year.

Johnson spent most of her 22-year teaching career in Cedar Rapids kindergarten classrooms before she accepted a teacher leadership position with her school district this fall.

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11:07 am
Sat August 25, 2012

Iowa Young Birders

Iowa Young Birders is a new program to get kids outside and develop their interest in birds.  Executive director Carl Bendorf says the nonprofit is a first of its kind in the state.

2:45 pm
Fri August 24, 2012

Writers Arriving at University of Iowa International Writing Program

Thirty-one writers from 28 countries are arriving in Iowa to participate in the writing residency program. UI International Writing Program Director Chris Merrill talks with Ben Kieffer about the program and what it takes to bring the world's greatest writers to Iowa.

12:58 am
Mon August 20, 2012

Burlington School Named After Voyager Project’s Chief Scientist

Ed Stone speaks in his hometown Burlington during the Edward Stone Middle School dedication.

A Burlington Middle School is now named after a key scientist in NASA’s Voyager program.  Today the Edward Stone Middle School opens for classes and Ed Stone returned to the hometown where his journey as a space scientist began. 

2:32 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

UNI President Allen Announces Retirement

University of Northern Iowa President Ben Allen has announced plans to retire "no later than July 1, 2013."  Iowa Public Radio's Pat Blank reports.

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Teacher Test
2:57 pm
Mon July 30, 2012

New Teachers to Take Required Exam

State education officials are laying the groundwork for an  exam prospective teachers will have to take before they are licensed in Iowa.   Those graduating from teacher preparation programs  this summer may be the last to squeak through without facing the new requirement.  Joyce Russell reports.

3:51 pm
Mon July 2, 2012

Morrill Act Anniversary

On July 2nd 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Morrill Act, which created Land Grant Colleges and made higher education accessible to millions of working class Americans. Today's "Talk of Iowa" focused on how the legislation’s impacted Iowa, the first state to accept it’s provisions. One of the show's guests, Allison Sheridan, oversaw the Morrill Act exhibit at Iowa State University and edited the book, “The Land-Grant Act and the People’s College: Iowa State University". Sheridan is the Museum Collections Manager and Communications Coordinator at ISU. 

11:43 am
Mon July 2, 2012

The Morrill Act's Impact in Iowa

Alan Light / flickr

On July 2nd 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Morrill Act, which created Land Grant Colleges and made higher education accessible to millions of working class Americans.  Today's "Talk of Iowa" focused on how the legislation’s impacted Iowa, the first state to accept it’s provisions. One of the show's guests, Allison Sheridan, oversaw the Morrill Act exhibit at Iowa State University and edited the book, “The Land-Grant Act and the People’s College: Iowa State University". Sheridan is the Museum Collections Manager and Communications Coordinator at ISU.

1:45 am
Fri June 15, 2012

Being Learning Disabled in Iowa: Adults

Today, Iowa Public Radio concludes its week-long series “Being Learning Disabled in Iowa.” Over the past four days, correspondent Rob Dillard has been looking into the difficulties people with specific learning disabilities have while moving through the lower grades, into high school and on to college. Now, Rob tells us about the adjustments these people must continue to make throughout their lifetimes in order to function with a disorder that never completely disappears.

5:52 am
Thu June 14, 2012

Being Learning Disabled in Iowa: College

Iowa Public Radio is presenting Part Four in its week-long series “Being Learning Disabled in Iowa.” Yesterday we heard about the challenges faced by young students when it first becomes apparent they are having difficulties learning to read and write. Today, reporter Rob Dillard explores the struggles they may encounter in higher education, and the accommodations some colleges are making.

8:23 pm
Tue June 12, 2012

Being Learning Disabled in Iowa: Early Intervention

It’s estimated between six and seven percent of Iowa’s K-through-12 students have specific learning disabilities. This minority of kids are often separated from their classmates, and labeled as different. In part three of our series, we look at how this impacts the psyche of these students.

Being in Iowa is funded in part by The Principal Financial Group Foundation and Alliant Energy.

6:13 am
Tue June 12, 2012

Being Learning Disabled in Iowa: Treatment

A variety of teaching approaches are employed to help people who have trouble reading, writing or comprehending. Some of the pioneering research in the field took place at the University of Iowa.

Being in Iowa is funded in part by The Principal Financial Group Foundation and Alliant Energy.

7:07 am
Mon June 11, 2012

Being Learning Disabled in Iowa: Diagnosing Learning Disabilities

It’s estimated as many as one in five Americans experience some form of specific learning disability. Identifying who these people are, however, is not a precise science.

It took years before Jefferson-Scranton High School senior Mary Larson and her parents figured out why she couldn’t read. She depended on her father to read her grade school textbooks out loud. By fifth grade, she still showed no signs of grasping the meaning of written words.

“I went to Iowa City hospital and they had a professional test me, I had to do some reading tests, comprehension.”

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12:08 pm
Fri June 1, 2012

Low enrollment spells end of court reporting program

A steno machine used by court reporters.
National Court Reporters Association

Iowa’s premier school for training court reporters is phasing out the curriculum. AIB, a private business college based in Des Moines, says there is not enough interest to keep the program going.

5:00 am
Mon April 2, 2012

What's the Big Deal about Price Lab?

With all the controversy over the decision to close Iowa's official R&D lab school, we wondered: would the state's teachers really be any worse off without it?