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Education Task Force Seeks Higher Teacher Salaries

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DES MOINES, Iowa - Officials at the Iowa Department of Education released 13 recommendations Thursday morning that include raising teacher pay and changing the way teachers move up through the teaching ranks.

The Task Force on Teacher Leadership and Compensation is one of several groups created by last year's education reform bill to study specific topics in education, such as how long students should be in class, and report back to the General Assembly.

Key among the recommendations is a proposed increase in the minimum starting salary for new Iowa teachers from $28,000 to $35,000 per year within the next three years, as well as an overall average teacher salary range of $40,000 to $45,000 a year.

The report also recommends a five-tier classification system for teachers that begins with initial teachers and moves to career, model, mentor and lead teachers. Base pay and responsibilities go up with each level under this system. The report also defines the first year of teaching as a "residency year" during which new teachers work under intensive supervision.

Gov. Terry Branstad said he wants to make teacher pay and professionalism a centerpiece of next year's education reform package, and it's likely that some if not most of the recommendations in the report released this morning will make it into his proposal.

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