Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

April 1, 2014

MC Democrats to hold Education Forum

Steve Woodhouse

Knoxville — The Marion County Democrats will hold its latest educational forum on Wednesday, April 9, with a focus on educational issues. 

State Sen. Todd Bowman and Rep. Sharon Steckman will be the guest presenters. Both of these legislators are teachers who serve on their respective chamber's education committees. 

"We feel like they are very well-versed (in educational issues)," Megan Suhr said. Suhr, with Jan Evans and Phyllis Weeks, comprise the Marion County Democrats Legislation Education Committee. 

The Democrats' series is intended to raise awareness of issues facing Iowans. The series is intended to help those interested in learning more about developments related to these topics, legislation and how to support the cause moving forward. The Democrats have wanted to hold a forum on education since last April. Other events in Knoxville temporarily pulled their attention away from the topic. 

Outside legislators were invited to this event because, according to Suhr, local legislators have had their opportunities to let their feelings regarding education be known. Suhr, who is challenging Rep. Greg Heartsill for the Iowa House District 28 seat, said the party is disappointed that education legislation is not moving forward in the Republican-controlled House. Democrats believe that public education is the backbone of Iowa communities. While Suhr believes that Heartsill and Sen. Amy Sinclair take education seriously, "it hasn't been their priority." 

The concerns listed on the Democrats' flyer for the event include Iowa's per pupil spending level ($1,500 less than national average), stagnant student growth, increased testing, oversight and teacher assessments. Legislation to be discussed include Iowa Core, STEM, bullying, sports concussions, early literacy, dyslexia intervention, state funding for all levels of public education and teacher leadership and compensation plans.

The event is free and open to the public. Everyone is welcome to attend. It will be held Wednesday, April 9, at 6 p.m., inside the Knoxville Middle School Auditorium.