MAQUOKETA, Iowa — Gov. Terry Branstad is urging area residents to get behind his education reform package, which he will present to legislators in January.

He spoke to about 40 people and three classes of high school students Friday in the Maquoketa High School gym.

“We have to get the community involved as well as service clubs, community leaders and retired teachers,” Branstad said “Not every family is intact, and children don’t get the support they need at home. They need mentors.”

Branstad said he wants to see a joint leadership program for teachers and principals. He said students must be ready to meet the needs of jobs in the future.

“We need to give Iowa students a world-class education. It depends on all Iowans to succeed. I expect we will adopt education reform and raise student achievement,” he said to a crowd of mostly retired teachers, GOP supporters and superintendents. “All students must be ready to succeed. We have to strengthen teachers and principals’ leadership.”

The governor said too many children have not mastered basic education skills.

‘The most important thing is to better prepare our future teachers and have better support for teachers in the classrooms,” he said. “We cannot operate like before. Teachers cannot work alone. With reform, we will give children the globally competitive education they deserve.”

Branstad said his daughter, Allison, is a teacher in Waukon in northeast Iowa. Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds’ daughter teaches in Creston in south-central Iowa. Branstad and Reynolds have been conducting education reform town hall meetings across the state, but Reynolds was not with Branstad on Friday because it was her husband’s birthday, Branstad said.

Andrew Superintendent Andy Crosier asked what funding the state will be providing next year if the state lengthens the school year or school day. The governor said the state will provide “additional resources for things and improve student achievement.” Branstad didn’t say how much or what type of resources.

Bellevue Superintendent Mike Healy asked about a statewide contract for teachers. Branstad said he liked that idea and proposed a statewide health insurance program for teachers in which they would pay 20 percent of the premium. He said such a program would save districts millions of dollars, which could be put toward educational needs.

“Reform won’t happen overnight. Outside-the-box thinking could reduce outside educational costs,” he said.

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