Hanson meets with Fairfield constituents
We returned to work after a long weekend as there was no session in observance of Martin Luther King Junior Day on Monday. When considering the ice storm that covered the state Sunday and Monday, we are fortunate to have had this scheduled day off. Schools were cancelled, travel was not advised, and many were urged not to brave the weather conditions. Thankfully the ice has melted and we are back in the House Chamber ready for a productive week.
On Tuesday, I welcomed Ray Woody and Rachel Engwall, commissioners for the Soil and Water Conservation District of Jefferson County, to the Capitol. We discussed the promotion of soil and water conservation efforts in Southeast Iowa and I extended my support of their contributions.
That same day, I also met with the Education Committee, where director Ryan Wise of the Department of Education gave a presentation. Initial reports show that Teacher Leadership Compensation (TLC) is strengthening the educational process but it is too early to determine if TLC is improving student achievement. The funding for TLC is now fully rolled into the school formula. Each district has designed a plan that works best for them. The early literacy incentive of the department has a new release on the third grade retention policy, but the big objective of the incentive is to make sure that students don’t slide backward over the summer. In other news, 71.1 percent of high school graduates enroll in a higher education program within one year of graduation, and Iowa is the only state to graduate over 90 percent of its students.
The Iowa Reading Research Center, directed by Dr. Deborah Reed, is a state supported center designed to help Iowa school districts and teachers develop and improve local reading programs. The job of this center is to provide Iowa educators with knowledge of programs that have a proven record of helping students climb the ladder of reading success. In today’s world, there is a blizzard of research on reading that is often conflicting. Dr. Reed and her department, however, provide information for local schools to improve their curriculum based on valid research. We learned that the Council Bluffs school district’s efforts show what most of us expected – the earlier the intervention, the better. Early childhood literacy problems should not wait until third grade retention becomes necessary.
At the Agriculture Committee meeting, a presentation was given by the Iowa Turkey Federation. Iowa produces nearly ten million turkeys per year. No growth hormones or steroids are used in the production of Iowa turkeys. Iowa corn and soybean farmers will be pleased to know that it takes about a bushel of corn and 1/3rd of a bushel of soybeans to raise a marketable turkey. Each turkey produces over a dollar’s worth of fertilizer and organic farmers seek turkey manure for their crops. Iowa turkey producing plants are zero landfill production facilities.
Legislative Forums: This year, the Fairfield Chamber of Commerce Legislative breakfast will be held on the third Saturday of every month during the legislative session at 7:30 a.m. at the public library in Fairfield. On the fourth Saturday of each month during the legislative session, I will meet with constituents in Keosauqua at the First Street Grill at 9 a.m. and in Bloomfield at the Rancho Centinela Café at noon.
– State Rep. Curt Hanson represents Iowa House District 82, which includes most of Jefferson County and Davis and Van Buren counties, in the state Legislature.