Letter to the Editor: Submitted by Kathy Hay

To the Editor:

Iowa AEAs are still under assault by our governor and her legislative supporters. AEAs provide educational, occupational, psychological, auditory and speech, and vision services for all Iowa students from birth to graduation (this includes private schools which now receive public school tax dollar vouchers).  The AEAs provide curriculum resources for science, literacy, social studies, math, computer science including books, manipulatives, science items, and so much more.  They provide training for teachers and administrators.

Several years ago the legislature and governor signed into law the requirement that all public schools teach computer science from elementary grades through high school. The AEAs provided training for teachers in computer science curriculum, resources, and strategies for teaching.  The  AEAs have also partnered with the University of Northern Iowa receiving a grant to provide computer science certification for the teachers in the high school grades who are required by law to be certified in order to teach computer science.  This ensures that all of our children receive the best education there is to be able to succeed in the 21st century.

AEAs provide updated and data driven courses and workshops that teachers and administrators need in order to keep up with all of the changes in education.  These are provided at no or low cost in order to meet the needs of our varied school districts. Paraprofessionals who work to support students with diverse needs receive their required certifications through the AEAs at low costs.

AEAs provide technical and practical support for all of the testing our public schools are required to complete with students. They provide access at minimal or no cost to online resources that are too costly for small districts to manage on their own. The AEAs are hubs for shared resources that are needed by all schools, but not all of the time, so these resources are available without the prohibitive cost if they had to be purchased by each district alone. This is especially true in our smaller, rural districts which will see the biggest negative impact of this legislation.

Please contact your representative and senator. Tell them to stop the assault on AEAs and keep them intact and ready to serve all of the students in the state of Iowa.

Kathy Hay