Education & Schools
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.

 
Braley Statement on Closure of Price Lab School PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Jeff Giertz   
Tuesday, 28 February 2012 14:32

Washington, DC – Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) released the following statement after the Iowa Board of Regents voted to close the Malcolm Price Laboratory School in Cedar Falls by June 30th:

 

“It’s a sad day when state funding cuts force a choice between keeping a university functional and keeping a special school like Price Lab open.

 

“At a time when politicians talk endlessly about education reform, closing a top-notch, nationally recognized school that actually walks the walk on educational innovation is the wrong thing to do.

 

“Iowa’s economic success depends on our ability to properly educate a new generation of teachers and innovators.  There is no innovation without education.  We should be investing in and improving education for our kids – not closing our best schools.”

 

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Local Student Honored in National Education Publication PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Rachel Chamberlain   
Tuesday, 28 February 2012 14:31

Raising money for (and assisting in) obstetric surgery in Zambia, Africa. Founding a music program for kindergarteners and first graders that holds concerts on a regular basis, including one for former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Creating a film on childhood obesity that is used to kick off First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” campaign. Organizing an art auction featuring nationwide artists to fight for clean air in a community affected by pollution from a nearby metal refinery. Though these may sound like the endeavors of large philanthropic organizations, they are the accomplishments of young people throughout the U.S. who have yet to even earn their high school diplomas!

 

Rivermont Collegiate is extremely proud to be represented in a select group of students profiled in the Spring, 2012 issue of Independent School magazine, published by the National Association of Independent Schools. Students from twelve schools were selected to represent the thousands of “Changemakers” in independent schools nationwide and profiled in the issue. Pavane Gorrepati, a senior at Rivermont Collegiate in Bettendorf and daughter of Dr. Krishna and Pramilarani Gorrepati of Davenport, is profiled as a “Student Changemaker” - described in the article as those “young people who refuse the narrow label of student. Of course, they take care of schoolwork, but they also look outside of themselves and see a world full of need - and they want to help.”

Pavane, who intends to devote her life to the study of alternative energy, is the recipient of numerous top titles at regional, state, and national science fairs. Pavane spent last summer in Changsha, China on a Borlaug-Ruan International Internship researching ways to grow rice suited to thrive in warmer climates with less water than traditional rice-growing regions. Pavane is founder and president of the Rivermont Environmental Club and author of A Buzzie Bee Tale, a children’s book about a bee and its efforts to help family and friends whose environment has been affected by climate change. “I’ve been very active with the environment and inspiring kids to be a part of it, and I felt that the only way to make a difference in the future is to educate the youth,” she said.

Rivermont is excited that one of our students is recognized in such an elite group and, of course, most definitely proud of Pavane’s many accomplishments. Other Changemakers include students from Catlin Gabel School in Oregon, Marlborough School, Menlo School, Sage Hill School, Wildwood School, and Lick-Wilmerding High School in California, Lowell School in Washington, DC, Albuquerque Academy in New Mexica, Punahou School in Hawaii, and Gulf Stream School and Saint Andrew’s School in Florida.

 

Independent School, published four times a year by the National Association of Independent Schools, is an open forum exchange of information about elementary and secondary education in general and independent schools in particular. With an objective to provide informative, thought-provoking articles focused on key themes in education, Independent School has been the premier publication in private education for over sixty years and was named 2011 Periodical of the Year by the Association of Educational Publishers (AEP).

 

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