Iowa’s Area Education Agency (AEA) system turns 40 this year, and there is much to celebrate! Legislation that originally established AEAs in 1975 required them to provide instructional and supportive special education and educational media services to the state’s school districts. For the most part that vision has held true, but because the way we educate students has greatly evolved over that time, the AEA system has also evolved to help meet district needs. In fact, a good case could be made that teaching and learning has improved over time as a direct result of the partnership and collaboration between Iowa school districts, the AEA system, Iowa’s Department of Education and the resources provided by Iowa lawmakers.
However, as has been widely publicized, in recent years other states have used the educational model first born in Iowa to meet and even surpass the achievement of Iowa’s students when measured in national testing. When that happens, it causes the educational community to reflect and take action on next steps to help Iowa’s children to remain globally competitive.
Once again, Iowa’s AEAs are helping to lead this effort with the vision set forth in The New Compact, a document written by the AEAs promising a pledge of co-ownership with local districts and the state’s Department of Education for student learning goals.
Our goal is that by 2018, every child in Iowa who graduates will be fully prepared for success in post-secondary studies, a career, citizenship and in life!
To achieve this, we need to ensure that:
- Every Iowa child is proficient in reading by the end of third grade.
- Every child has the math skills needed to succeed.
- Learning gaps between students with disabilities and those without are reduced by at least half.
- That students enter post-secondary opportunities with the skills and attitude they need to succeed.
- We’ll ensure you have access and support to implement evidence-based best practices in your classroom, building or district.
- We’ll support you in fully implementing the Iowa Core while staying true to our commitment to identifying and serving students with unique needs.
- We’ll direct our resources toward services that research tells us will make the biggest impact.
- We’ll work together more to be one system of AEAs that collaborates, shares resources and looks more alike no matter where you go in Iowa throughout the course of your career.
- We will deliver on our promise to provide quality, specialized services based on individual student, building and district needs.