"I am the Promise of Iowa."—Toby

The Iowa Association of School Boards launched “The Promise of Iowa” campaign to focus attention on the future of Iowa public school students and to rally support for ensuring our public schools lead the nation.

Iowa’s future leaders, innovators and citizens are its children. They are “The Promise of Iowa.” Their future is created every day by Iowa public schools.

Iowans have an enduring commitment of support for public education and its connection to developing the potential of our young people, strengthening our communities, and contributing to our economy. Public education is such a core value in our state that “Foundation in Education” is even the centerpiece of our state quarter!

Iowa’s dedication to strong, community-based public schools shows remarkable results.

Our graduation rate is the nation’s best—and it’s still improving.

Our high school students have access to more college courses than any other state.

We’ve opened the doors to learning by investing in early education and preschool.

Teachers nurture, challenge and help students explore their potential daily.

The Promise of Iowa campaign celebrates the many successes of Iowa public schools by bringing to life the story of Iowa public education. It’s part of our commitment as locally elected school boards to ensure that Iowa taxpayers know that your investment in public schools is making a difference.

But we can’t rest on our laurels–there is more work to be done. Our next generation faces new challenges we never dreamed of. Iowa public schools are changing and evolving to keep pace with a fast-changing digital and global world. We must continue to find ways to close achievement gaps so that Iowa public schools fulfill the ideal of equity and opportunity for all. We must also keep pace with improvements made in other states, to ensure our public schools provide our students and state with an advantage. The need is especially important now, as Iowa has fallen behind other states in some areas.

State and local leaders came together around an ambitious agenda to strengthen our public schools in 2013 landmark legislation. State policy makers, locally elected school board members, educators and the business community all made a shared commitment to ensure the next generation of Iowa students receives a world-class education.

In this era of competing priorities and limited resources, we can’t afford to lose sight of these important goals. As locally elected citizens entrusted with public education, Iowa school boards are taking on the responsibility to tell the story and rally public support and understanding for continued efforts that ensure:

Sustained focus on improvement efforts to ensure all students are college and career ready. Iowa needs high standards for student learning, an aligned assessment, and a strong system to develop and retain qualified teachers and educators. A focus on early education and literacy will ensure students get a strong start. Science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) efforts align with future workforce needs. And we must ensure students with challenges receive extra support to succeed.

More flexibility and autonomy for local community schools. Even as we pursue statewide initiatives, every school district faces its own unique challenges and each community must set priorities and invest in areas that ensure student success. Our local schools need greater flexibility from burdensome regulations, allowing more innovation, efficiency and responsiveness to parent and community needs. Overly restrictive state and federal policy stifles success.

School funding is sufficient, equitable, timely, and sustainable. To keep our public schools strong, school funding policy needs work as well. We must ensure state and local improvement efforts are funded to implement them well; address inequities in how schools are funded; and ensure that state funding decisions are made in a timely, sustainable way that allows local school boards to plan responsibly.

It’s up to us to fulfill our promise for the next generation.

Strong public schools matter, and are the difference maker for Iowa’s future.


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