Education & Schools
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Office of Governor Terry Branstad   
Tuesday, 18 September 2012 14:52

(Sept. 17, 2012; Des Moines, IA) – The Governor’s STEM Advisory Council Executive Committee meeting will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2012, from 9:00-11:00 a.m.

Agenda items include updates on the STEM Scale-Up Applications, review and discussion of the top six pressing STEM recommendations from the Council and discussion of a draft budget for FY2012.

Originating from Des Moines, Iowa, the meeting is open to the public and media.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012 

Meeting location: Grimes State Office Building

ICN Room, 2nd Floor

400 E. 14th Street

Des Moines, IA  50319

9:00 a.m.               Governor’s STEM Advisory Council Executive Committee meeting begins

Agenda Items

11:00 a.m. Meeting Adjourns


For more information, please visit


Loebsack Announces More than $449,000 for the Eastern Iowa Community College District Library PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Joe Hand   
Tuesday, 18 September 2012 14:42

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Dave Loebsack announced that the Eastern Iowa Community College District Library will receive a $449,714 National Leadership Grant (NLG) from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.  The NLG is given to library institutions to support projects that address challenges faced by the museum, library and archive fields that have the potential to advance practices in those fields.

“This funding will allow the Eastern Iowa Community College District Library to make modernizations and advancements to library practices,” said Loebsack.  “I am pleased that the library will put this funding to use to advance environmental sustainability and energy efficiency initiatives throughout the Davenport community.”

Eastern Iowa Community College District Library will partner with seven partners including city museums, libraries, and cultural and educational organizations to develop programs to advance the science and information literacy skills of Davenport residents, attract new audiences to current programs, and engage residents in activities promoting environmental sustainability and energy efficiency. These coordinated activities will support the City of Davenport’s efforts to become a sustainable city, one that manages harmful emissions and uses resources wisely; improves local air and water quality; respects native flora and fauna; and provides natural habitats, shade, and natural cooling.


Motivate Kids by Teaching Them ‘Life is a Business’ PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Tuesday, 18 September 2012 14:37
Non-Profit Founder Offers Tips for Raising Kids to Succeed

Welfare may seem like a charitable measure for struggling families. But it’s a self-perpetuating trap when it becomes the only way of life parents know how to teach their children, who then know nothing else to teach their own children, says Virgil Brannon, founder of the non-profit I Am Vision Inc.

“Living on entitlements becomes a way of life for recipients when it’s handed down from one generation to the next because the family loses any tools it might have once had to forge a life based on self-discipline, achievement and challenging,” says Brannon, author of Democratic Coma (

“It’s no different from the child who grow up being given material thing he wants, along with excessive praise that’s not deserved. One child may be from a poor family and the other from an affluent family, but both are at risk for growing up without the skills necessary for success.”

Brannon’s non-profit organization mentors disadvantaged children, helping them develop the values, understanding and knowledge they need to be motivated and equipped to succeed. He has found that coaching children to manage their lives as they would a business helps them not only develop good habits and skills, it also teaches them some essential business lessons:

•  Your life is your business: Our business is how we act, speak, the way we dress, how we treat ourselves and how we treat others. Like any other business, it is expected to grow and prosper and to do that, we must invest in it. Part of that is feeding the mind with the information needed to make good choices.

•  The people you meet and the friends you make are your clientele: Treat all people with the respect you would any customer or potential customer. Our relationships can elevate us if people feel their treated fairly, honestly and with respect.

•  The more you provide or produce, the more you advance: Business involves providing a service or product. Business people do not care about excuses; they care about what you have to offer them. It doesn’t matter where you come from or what color you are, if you have something they need – and a reputation for integrity -- they will come to you for it.

• Your appearance means everything: You must look the part to get the part. The secret is to look as though you already have it to obtain what you want.

Parents should teach their children to be business-like and to think like a professional, Brannon says.

“That includes giving them the best education possible, including learning at home about history, civic duty and different cultures,” Brannon says. “In business, people are expected to display good manners and to communicate with others, from a firm handshake to looking others in the eye and speaking clearly and correctly.

“That is the most important investment we can make.”

About Virgil Brannon

Virgil Brannon is a private investigator and the founder of I Am Vision Inc., a non-profit program that embraces and empowers youth with academic and leadership challenges. His goal is to promote the personal growth of socio-economically disadvantaged youth and their families by encouraging their dreams and providing members with a roadmap for success. Brannon attended Shepherd’s Care Bible College and received his master’s and doctoral degrees in ministry religious counseling.

October 15th Deadline to Submit Military Academy Nomination Applications PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Amanda Bowman   
Tuesday, 18 September 2012 13:49

Washington, DC – Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) today announced that he is accepting applications from high school students for nominations to the United States armed services academies from Iowa’s 1st District for the class entering in fall 2013.

“I am looking for highly motivated and qualified students to nominate to our country’s service academies,” said Braley. “The academies provide a world-class education that helps grow our nation’s next generation of leaders. I encourage Iowa’s best and brightest young people to apply.”

Interested students should contact Braley’s district office in Waterloo to request an application packet to be considered for a service academy nomination.  The application packet includes specific instructions on the accompanying forms and required documents, including an application form, an essay, high school transcript, ACT/SAT scores, and letters of recommendation.  These materials take time to compile, so interested students are strongly encouraged to start obtaining the materials needed for the packet as soon as possible.

The deadline for submitting a completed nomination packet to Braley’s office is Monday, October 15th.

Braley nominates up to 10 candidates from Iowa’s First Congressional District for each available vacancy at the four service academies: the US Military Academy, the Naval Academy, the Air Force Academy, and the Merchant Marine Academy.  Applicants are judged on the basis of character, scholarship, physical aptitude, medical fitness, and motivation.

For further information as well as an application packet, contact the Waterloo office at (319) 287-3233.

More information can also be found at


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Illinois launches new ‘STEM’ learning exchanges to prepare students for 21st Century workforce PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Erin Wilson   
Tuesday, 18 September 2012 13:37

$10.3 million public-private partnership to boost careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) 


CHICAGO – September 14, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today unveiled a unique $10.3 million public-private partnership that will better prepare thousands of Illinois students for careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields. Joined by Illinois business, high-tech and education leaders at the innovative “1871” digital start-up center in Chicago’s Merchandise Mart, Governor Quinn announced that eight organizations will be awarded contracts to develop “STEM Learning Exchanges” that link educational opportunities with business resources to prepare students to compete in the global economy. The partnership is part the governor’s commitment to improve education in Illinois.

“Our mission is to prepare our students for the 21st Century workforce,” Governor Quinn said. “These new Learning Exchanges will provide students with real-world experience and advanced educational opportunities to ensure they are ready to compete for the jobs of tomorrow.”

The funding package is comprised of $2.3 million in federal Race to the Top (RTTT) funds, which leveraged another $8 million in business resources. The eight STEM Learning Exchanges, coordinated through multiple state agencies in partnership with the Illinois Business Roundtable, will be established through contracts with the Illinois State Board of Education. Applicants were required to commit cash or in-kind donations, bringing more than $10.3 million of business resources and cash to this unique public-private partnership.

The eight learning exchange organizations were selected by an expert review committee that considered each applicant’s plan and experience in coordinating statewide public-private partnerships, and the matching or in-kind matching contribution. These statewide Learning Exchanges will work together with regional, educational and business networks to aggregate curricular resources, assessment tools, professional development systems, work-based learning opportunities and problem-based learning challenges. They will support performance evaluation across the P-20 education and workforce system, and result in better prepared students for a 21st century workforce. For the complete list, see attached document.

“This exemplifies a great public-private partnership as education and business forces work together to pave the way for a brighter future in Illinois,’’ said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. “Giving students access to professionals and showing them how knowledge can be applied on the job is a proven strategy for keeping students engaged in high school and mindful of their future.”

A 2011 report from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce shows that Illinois will have an estimated 319,000 STEM-related job openings by 2018. About 93 percent of those jobs will require post-secondary education or training.

“The true wealth of our nation is produced by manufacturing things that people throughout the world wish to purchase because of our advanced technology and reputation for quality. That technology and quality can only be sustained with a pipeline of young people who are stimulated by such innovative approaches as these learning exchanges,” said Fred Young, CEO of Forest City Gears which made 75 gears for NASA’s Curiosity Rover mission to Mars.

“STEM occupations are critical to bolstering our state’s competitive edge and ability to be successful in the global economy,” said Jeff Mays, President of the Illinois Business Roundtable. “We not only need more professional scientists and mathematicians, but also qualified technicians and skilled workers in manufacturing and other technology-driven industries. By participating in the STEM Learning Exchanges, business is stepping up to better coordinate programs and investments that connect students to careers.”

The RTTT funds supporting the STEM Learning Exchanges are drawn from the nearly $43 million awarded to Illinois last year to implement education reform initiatives across the state.

Last year, Gov. Quinn launched Illinois Pathways, an education initiative to support college and career readiness. Coordinated through a partnership between the State’s education and economic development agencies, Illinois Pathways supports local programs that empower youth and adults to explore academic and career interests in STEM fields while supporting Learning Exchanges that coordinate investments, resources and planning for those programs. To learn more about Illinois Pathways, please visit:


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