Capitol Comments by Rep. Curt Hanson
My wife and I enjoyed our visit to the state fair.
I was pleased to see a Fairfield young man on stage. The “Mitch Goudy Band” performed with Diana Upton-Hill of Bloomfield as an important member of the group.
I also want to recognize Iowa State Fair Board President Gary McConnell of Bloomfield. Without volunteers like Gary, our prized state fair would not be possible.
I also applaud the many district residents who showed livestock and projects at the fair. They contribute immensely in making our state fair the national attraction it has become.
With Labor Day and the Midwest Old Threshers Reunion past, all of the area schools are now back in session. It is important that drivers be alert for school buses and children walking to and from school.
Statewide nearly 500,000 students and 40,000 educators are back in the classroom. It’s more important than ever that we make sure kids get the skills they need to a land good-paying job and be able to compete with workers from around the globe.
World-class education starts with quality, affordable early childhood education. Continued by the Legislature again this year, more than 20,000 four-year-olds will get at least 10 hours of instruction each week. Supported by educators and businesses, it’s a sound investment because research shows preschool participants are less likely to need special education, repeat grades, drop out or get into trouble with the law.
Iowa K-12 school kids will also notice some changes this fall after legislators boosted funding to keep class sizes low and provide new opportunities. The Legislature gave schools a 4 percent boost in funding this year and also expanded on-line learning to give students new access to opportunities that may not be available in their own high school.
With Iowa facing a significant skilled worker shortage, Iowa’s community colleges play a critical role in building Iowa’s skilled workforce. With a new Skilled Worker Job Creation Fund created last session, more than 100,000 Iowans will be attending one of the 15 community colleges to upgrade their skills and find a good job.
Iowa’s three state universities are also helping close the skilled worker gap in Iowa. The Legislature approved additional resources this year to Iowa State University, University of Iowa and University of Northern Iowa to keep tuition affordable for students.
Iowa State is expecting a record 32,000 students this fall. UNI enrollment dropped to 11,800 this year. And while numbers aren’t final yet at the University of Iowa, a record 17,308 admission offers were made to prospective students this year.
As always, I appreciate hearing from you on what you think Iowa can do to improve our educational system.
Please feel free to contact me anytime by email at Curt.Hanson@legis.iowa.gov or by phone at 641-919-2314.