Education & Schools
Braley Introduces Bill to Extend $2,500 College Tax Cut PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Jeff Giertz   
Friday, 03 February 2012 14:28

Unless Congress acts, American Opportunity Tax Credit will expire at the end of 2012


Washington, DC – After hosting a series of campus forums at colleges across eastern Iowa last week, Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) returned to Congress today and introduced a bill to extend a $2,500 tax credit for middle class families sending children to college.  Unless Congress acts, the existing tax credit will expire at the end of 2012.

The College Tax Cut Extension Act would extend for four years the American Opportunity Tax Credit, which provides up to $2,500 in tax credits to offset the cost of tuition, fees, and course materials for undergraduate students at two- or four-year colleges and universities.

“In the last 10 years, the cost of tuition at Iowa’s public universities has increased by 83 percent,” Braley said.  “Our colleges and universities are avenues of economic opportunity.  If America is to compete in a global economy, we need to keep college within reach for everyone who wants to attend.


“This tax credit makes a college education more affordable for thousands of Iowa families.  Congress needs to act now to keep this tax cut from expiring so the dream of college doesn’t slip out of reach.”

Braley spent Thursday and Friday of last week hosting campus forums at colleges in eastern Iowa.  Braley visited St. Ambrose University, Coe College, the University of Northern Iowa, and Grinnell College to hear about college affordability, student debt, and employability after graduation.

The American Opportunity Tax Credit was first passed into law in 2009 and set to expire at the end of 2012 if Congress fails to act.  Braley’s bill is the first legislative effort to extend the tax credit.  For more information on the American Opportunity Tax Credit, click the following link:

Last week, Braley introduced legislation to indefinitely keep the interest rates for federally subsidized Stafford loans at 3.4 percent, their current, low rate.  Without Congressional action, college loan interest rates are set to double to 6.8 percent in July, a fact that President Obama highlighted in his State of the Union address.

More information about this bill can be found at this link:

Full text of Braley’s bill can be downloaded here:


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Local Residents Make the Dean's List at DePaul University PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Ximena Beltran   
Friday, 03 February 2012 14:19

CHICAGO, IL (01/31/2012)(readMedia)-- The following local residents made the Dean's List at DePaul University for the fall quarter of 2011:

Alyssa Phelan of Bettendorf

Mark Lazio of Davenport

Alex Wolking of Rock Island

Cody Williams of Orion

Elizabeth Knowlton of Port Byron

In order to qualify for the Dean's List at DePaul, students must earn above a 3.0 grade point average on a four point scale.

With more than 25,000 students, DePaul University is the largest Catholic university in the United States and the largest private, nonprofit university in the Midwest. The university offers 275 graduate and undergraduate programs of study in ten colleges and schools on three Chicago campuses and three suburban campuses.

Isaac Spangler Earns Degree from Marshall University PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by readMedia   
Friday, 03 February 2012 13:53

HUNTINGTON, WV (01/31/2012)(readMedia)-- Isaac David Spangler of Hillsdale, IL, was among nearly 1,250 Marshall University students who were recognized at the university's Winter Commencement Dec. 10 in Huntington, W.Va. Spangler earned a Bachelor of Science degree .

Marshall University is the oldest public institution of higher learning in West Virginia and one of the region's most dynamic universities, serving students from 47 states and more than 60 countries. Marshall offers undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs and competes in Division I intercollegiate sports in Conference USA. Headquartered in the college town of Huntington, W.Va,, Marshall University is known for its safe and beautiful campus, dedicated professors, small class size, successful graduates and great value.

U.S. District Court Declares Mass Student Searches & Random Lockdowns in Missouri High Schools To Be Legal, Dismisses Fourth Amendment Lawsuit PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Nisha N Whitehead   
Wednesday, 01 February 2012 08:34

SPRINGFIELD, Mo.—The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri has declared that school officials at a Missouri high school did not violate students’ constitutional rights when they imposed a “lockdown” of the school for the purpose of allowing the local sheriff’s department, aided by drug-sniffing dogs, to perform mass inspections of students’ belongings. Attorneys for The Rutherford Institute had filed a lawsuit in Burlison v. Springfield Public Schools, et al., asking to court to declare that officials at Central High School in Springfield violated their students’ Fourth Amendment right to privacy. Institute attorneys plan to appeal the ruling to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Rutherford Institute’s complaint in Burlison v. Springfield Public Schools is available at

“We have moved into a new paradigm in America where young people are increasingly viewed as suspects and treated as criminals by school officials and law enforcement alike. To then be denied justice by the courts only adds to the wrongs being perpetrated against young people today,” said John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute. “Such random, suspicionless lockdown raids against children teach our children a horrific lesson—one that goes against every fundamental principle this country was founded upon—that we have no rights at all against the police state.”

According to the complaint filed by attorneys for The Rutherford Institute, on April 22, 2010, the principal of Central High School announced over the public address system that the school was going into “lockdown” and that students were prohibited from leaving their classrooms.  Deputies and agents of the Greene County Sheriff’s Department thereafter ordered students and teachers to leave all personal belongings behind and exit the classrooms. Dogs were also brought in to assist in the raid. Upon re-entering the classrooms, students allegedly discovered that their belongings had been rummaged through. Mellony and Doug Burlison, who have two children at Central High School, complained to school officials that the lockdown and search were a violation of their children’s rights. According to the complaint, school officials responded that this was a “standard drill” and policy of the school district which would continue.

The lawsuit, filed by Rutherford Institute attorneys on behalf of the Burlisons and their two children, asked the court to declare that the practice of effecting a lockdown of the school and conducting random, suspicionless seizures and searches violates the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the similar provision of the Missouri Constitution. The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri rejected the Institute’s argument, finding that the students’ belongings were not subject to an illegal seizure when ushered away from their classroom and told to leave their possessions behind before police entered to conduct a search. Affiliate attorney Jason T. Umbarger of Springfield, Mo., assisted the Institute with its defense of the Burlisons.

Click here to read online.

Bettendorf School Counselor Named Top Six in the Country PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Rachel Adams   
Tuesday, 31 January 2012 14:01



Shelley Klaas from Bettendorf, Iowa Among Top Six  

Alexandria, VA, January 30, 2012 –Shelley Klaas, a school counselor from Neil Armstrong Elementary School, has been named one of the top six school counselors in America. Klaas is one of more than 270 elementary, middle, and secondary school counselors nationwide who were nominated for the School Counselor of the Year award. The award, which is presented by the American School Counselor Association, honors the professionals who devote their careers to serving as advocates and often lifesavers for the nation’s students.

A counselor for 27 years, Klaas is widely regarded as a mentor, a leader and a tireless advocate for children and the counseling profession, not only in her district but across the state of Iowa.  Armstrong Elementary has a suburban population of approximately 60% of students live in poverty.  After noticing that many students at the school were experiencing hunger as a barrier to learning, Klaas initiated the Backpacks for Snacks program.  Participating families receive a backpack of nutritious, child-friendly food for their students; often students eat these foods for dinner or on the weekends when school food programs are not available.  The program currently serves 81 families and has spread to four other schools within her district.

Another of Klaas’s major accomplishments is the development and implementation of the Bettendorf Community School District Clinical Review Team (CRT).  Established on the “it takes a village” concept, each month staff members anonymously present histories of high risk students and families to various local agencies and community groups for assistance with intervention plans.  The CRT program is so successful it has been in place for 17 years.

Klaas is a member of both her school and district Leadership Teams and is co-facilitator for the Iowa Department of Education’s Counseling Transformational Design Team (TDT). She was also one of the first two counselors in the state of Iowa to receive National Board Certification in School Counseling and has won both the University of Iowa’s and Chick-Fil-A’s Teacher of the Year awards.

“Everything I do as a school counselor, I learned from Shelley Klaas. I still often ask myself, ‘What would Shelley do?’” said Jan Powers, Prairie Crest Elementary School counselor. “Shelley provides mentorship, leadership, inspiration and a tremendous example of what it means to be a professional school counselor.”

“Shelley Klaas has a special gift – something that cannot be taught in any classroom or gained by any amount of experience,” said Nicky Stevenson of St. John Vianney Church. “Thanks to Shelley our district and community has a leader that knows what kids need to be successful and works tirelessly to achieve it. She is the golden thread that holds us all together.”

The School Counselor of the Year awards program was open to the more than 107,000 members of the school counseling profession. The top six school counselors were nominated by their peers and administrators and judged by a select panel to be the “best of the best.”

The candidates were judged on several criteria, including: creative school counseling innovations, effective counseling programs, leadership skills, and contributions to student advancement.

“School counselors make significant contributions to the overall well-being of students and their success,” said Richard Wong, Executive Director, American School Counselor Association. “They have unique qualifications and skills that allow them to address students’ academic achievement, personal/social and career development needs.”

Klaas, along with the other five finalists, will be flown to Washington, D.C., on February 1, 2012, for three days of celebratory events. The honorees will have meetings with their members of Congress, attend a congressional briefing, tour the White House, participate in a briefing at the Office of the Vice President and be formally recognized at a black-tie gala.

Co-chairs of the 2012 School Counselor of the Year program are U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA), U.S. Rep. Tom Petri (R-WI – 6th), and U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL – 23rd).

For additional information on the American School Counselor Association, please visit

About the American School Counselor Association

The American School Counselor Association (ASCA) is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) professional organization based in Alexandria, VA.  ASCA promotes student success by expanding the image and influence of professional school counseling through leadership, advocacy, collaboration and systemic change. ASCA helps school counselors guide their students toward academic achievement, personal and social development, and career planning to help today’s students become tomorrow’s productive, contributing members of society.  Founded in 1952, ASCA currently has a network of 50 state associations and a membership of nearly 30,000 school counseling professionals.



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