Education & Schools
State Treasurer Fitzgerald Encourages Financial Literacy with New Program PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Karen Austin   
Wednesday, 07 March 2012 09:04

The National Financial Capability Challenge runs from March 12 to April 13, 2012

DES MOINES, IA (02/29/2012)(readMedia)-- State Treasurer Michael L. Fitzgerald is getting the word out about a new program that will boost the financial literacy of Iowa's high school students. The State Treasurer's Office is partnering with the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the U.S. Department of Education to introduce the National Financial Capability Challenge, a program that focuses on helping students increase their financial knowledge. The Challenge, which runs from March 12 through April 13, is a free, voluntary online series of financial questions for high school students to check their knowledge of earning, spending, saving, borrowing, risk protection and more.

"Financial literacy has always been one of my office's most important initiatives, so I'm glad we were given the opportunity to help implement this program," said Fitzgerald. "The Challenge is a great opportunity for participating Iowa high schools. The test and the toolkit used to prepare for it are found online, making it easy to use, and the Challenge itself is quick – it only takes 30 minutes to take. Even though it doesn't take much time to participate in the program, the lessons students learn from it will last them a lifetime. I encourage all high schools to take advantage of this opportunity."

Educators don't need to be math or personal finance teachers to register their students to participate. To register, educators should visit www.challenge.treas.gov. After signing up, they are encouraged to help spread the word about the Challenge by using the tools provided through the website. After the program concludes, educators and top-scoring students in each school will earn personalized award certificates, and states with the highest participation will also be recognized.

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University of Kansas announces fall 2011 honor roll PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Christy Little   
Wednesday, 07 March 2012 08:49

LAWRENCE, KS (02/29/2012)(readMedia)-- More than 4,500 undergraduate students at the University of Kansas earned honor roll distinction for the fall 2011 semester.

The honor roll comprises undergraduates who meet requirements in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and in the schools of allied health; architecture, design and planning; business; education; engineering; journalism; music; nursing; pharmacy; and social welfare.

Area honorees are as follows:

Lindsay Irene Formanek of Victor, Iowa. She is a Prof 1 in Pharmacy. She was named to the honor roll for the School of Pharmacy.

Paula Beth Samuelson of Davenport, Iowa. She is a junior in Occupational Studies. She was named to the honor roll for the School of Allied Health.

Honor roll criteria vary among the university's academic units. Some schools honor the top 10 percent of students enrolled, some establish a minimum grade-point average and others raise the minimum GPA for each year students are in school. Students must complete a minimum number of credit hours to be considered for the honor roll.

 
Braley Urges House Leadership to Act Now to Extend College Tax Cut PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Jeff Giertz   
Wednesday, 07 March 2012 08:47

If Congress fails to act, $2,500 American Opportunity Tax Credit will expire at end of year

Washington, DC – Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) today urged House leaders of both parties to begin working together now to pass legislation to stop the looming expiration of a popular $2,500 college tax cut.  Unless Congress Acts, the American Opportunity Tax Credit – which provides a partially refundable tax credit of up to $2,500 to offset the cost of tuition for college – will expire at the end of 2012.

Last month, Braley introduced the College Tax Cut Extension Act to extend the American Opportunity Tax Credit for four more years.

“Iowa college graduates have the 3rd highest student debt load in the nation,” Braley said.  “Piling more costs on Iowa students by letting this tax cut expire puts them even further behind at graduation.  Worse, for the average Iowa community college student, letting this tax cut expire would be equivalent to a nearly 15 percent increase in tuition.

 

“Our colleges, universities, and community colleges are avenues of economic opportunity, and we need to keep higher education affordable for every person who wants to attend. That’s why I’m urging House leaders of both parties to begin working now to extend this college tax cut instead of letting partisan politics get in the way of doing the right thing.”

 

Braley made the request in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, which can be read below and downloaded at the following link: http://go.usa.gov/Ufl

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February 29, 2012

 

The Honorable John Boehner                       

Speaker                       

U.S. House of Representatives               

H-232, U.S. Capitol                       

Washington, DC 20515                         

 

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi

Minority Leader

U.S. House of Representatives

H-204, U.S. Capitol

Washington, DC 20515

 

 

Dear Speaker Boehner and Minority Leader Pelosi:

As you may know, the American Opportunity Tax Credit is scheduled to expire at the end of the year.  I’ve introduced the College Tax Cut Extension Act which would extend this tax credit for four more years.  Please work together to pass my legislation to extend this important tax credit.

This tax credit provides up to $2,500 to undergraduate college students for tuition as well as coursework materials including books.  It is no secret that college tuition continues to drastically increase.  In Iowa, tuition costs have increased by 82.9 percent since 2000 while median household income has decreased by 6.3 percent.  Iowa students are also graduating with some of the highest debt in the country.  Iowa students graduate with the 3rd highest student debt loan of any state in the United States.  These alarming statistics shows us how important it is to extend this tax credit.

As college tuition continues to drastically rise, students cannot afford thousands of more dollars in bills because Congress failed to act.  After witnessing the debacle that occurred over the payroll tax extension, I would hate to see a similar scenario occur with this issue.  Please pass my College Tax Cut Extension Act extending the American Opportunity Tax Credit for four more years.  I stand ready to work in any way possible to make sure we keep student loan interest rates at their current level.

Sincerely,

Bruce L. Braley

 

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Governor Quinn Calls for 21st Century Classrooms Throughout Illinois PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Nafia Khan   
Tuesday, 06 March 2012 07:50

Visits Piper Elementary to Show How Educational Technology
Can Help Students Achieve and Succeed

 

BERWYN – February 28, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today called on lawmakers, administrators, teachers and parents across Illinois to recognize the critical role technology plays in educating the next generation of students. Just a day after President Obama asked governors across America to protect and invest in education even during tough budget times, Governor Quinn championed his plans to continue investing in Illinois’ education during a visit to Piper Elementary. The Governor was joined by Riverside Village President Michael Gorman, 2nd graders and their teacher Maureen Gorman, who demonstrated how their class uses technology to improve learning.

 

“The most valuable investment we can make is in the education of our children,” Governor Quinn said. “Preparing our students for a 21st century economy starts with making sure their classrooms use the technology that will be vital to their success in high school, higher education and their careers."

 

Piper Elementary, part of District 100 in Berwyn, is making strong progress in narrowing the achievement gap that hurts too many Illinois students. District 100 is 79% Hispanic and 74% low income. However, Piper students are showing real progress thanks to strong parent and teacher cooperation and administrators investing in 21st century educational technology like smart boards, multimedia labs and tablet computers.

 

83% of Piper students met or exceeded standards in state testing in 2011 and District 100 as a whole rose to the top 49% of districts statewide, following three years at the mid-60% level. Piper has made adequate yearly progress (AYP) under No Child Left Behind every since it was enacted – one of only 7 elementary schools of similar combined demographics and incomes to achieve this progress.

 

Governor Quinn has reiterated his commitment to education, jobs and economic growth in his proposed budget by maintaining funding for K-12 and higher education and increasing early childhood funding by $20 million, as well as a $50 million increase for the state Monetary Award Program (MAP), which provides college scholarships for needy students. Governor Quinn also recently announced $623 million in Illinois Jobs Now! capital funding to help dozens of school districts statewide make critical repairs, additions and technology updates to classrooms. Combined with local dollars, the funding will allow school districts to complete projects totaling more than $1.2 billion. In his budget address, Governor Quinn renewed his commitment to continued capital construction funding for school construction.

 

In his recent remarks to the National Governors Association, President Obama challenged the states’ chief executives to invest in American economy built to last by doing their part to ensure American students and workers have the education and training they need to be prepared for the jobs of the 21st Century. Governor Quinn intends to meet the President’s challenge and urge lawmakers to pass his education blueprint, which will help avert teacher layoffs, make college more affordable through targeted tax relief and reigning in student loan rates, securing funding for Pell Grants and taking steps to double the number of work-study jobs over the next 5 years to help students who are working their way through school.

 

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Statement by Chris Bern, President of the Iowa State Education Association PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Jean Hessburg   
Tuesday, 06 March 2012 07:48

Statement by Chris Bern, President of the Iowa State Education Association

on Iowa's Application for a Waiver to the No Child Left Behind Law

DES MOINES, IA (02/28/2012)(readMedia)-- At this time, the Iowa State Education Association (ISEA) is not signing on in support of Iowa's application for a waiver to the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law. While we understand the need to move away from the one-size-fits-all approach to testing and school accountability under NCLB, the ISEA still has questions about the specifics of this application that need to be addressed.

One area of concern for educators is tying student achievement data to teacher evaluations. As frontline professionals, our members need to be at the table when those decisions are made and the state should be cautious when proceeding with this large policy shift.

In addition, we are concerned that implementation of the waiver application will require resources and education funding decisions are still a long way off in the legislative session. From its inception the education community has realized that NCLB did not provide states the resources to meet the demands of the law. As Iowa applies for the waiver, we do not need to trade in one unfunded mandate (NCLB) for another.

The ISEA remains deeply committed to the success of every child and is ready and willing to work with all of the partners in the education community; teachers, administrators, parents, and policymakers, to ensure our education policies place students at the center. Until our members have had adequate time to review and contribute to the NCLB waiver discussion, the ISEA will not be lending its support to Iowa's application at this time.

The ISEA is a private, professional organization made up of over 34,000 educators who are dedicated to promoting and preserving public education for all Iowa students. Great Education. It's an Iowa Basic.

 
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