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Branstad Vetoes Iowa Teacher Bill

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Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad has vetoed a bill approved by the legislature last month that would have established a new certification system for teachers.

The certification bill--which was supported by the state's major teachers' organization and opposed by the Iowa Department of Public Instruction--would have created a new certification board that included teachers and required prospective teachers to pass a basic-skills test, as well as professional and subject-matter tests, before receiving a certificate.

The new certification board, which was scheduled to go into operation on July 1, was to issue rules requiring school boards to provide a one-year internship program for new teachers. During that year, the teachers were to be evaluated before receiving a certificate. Among other changes, the law would have reduced the recertification period for teachers from 10 years to five.

The Governor said that the certification bill would have created a "dual system" by establishing a new certification board for teachers and leaving in place the existing certifi4cation system for administrative and special-services personnel.

"The bill proposes to address certain concerns about the teacher-certification process by creating a new state board, which would cost much more to administer than the current system," he said in his veto message. "This is a solution which frequently results in nothing more than an increase in the size of state government," Governor Branstad said.

According to Susan Neeley, the Governor's press secretary, the veto does not indicate that Mr. Branstad is opposed to the testing of teachers. Currently, he is awaiting the recommendations of two legislative task forces that are reviewing the issues of teacher evaluation and certification. "The governor wants to wait for the report before passing any kind of certification law," she said.

But Phoebe Tupper, president of the Iowa State Education Association, said that "the Governor's veto of the teacher-standards bill is a major setback in adoption of educational reforms needed to improve learning opportunities" for Iowa's students.--sr

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