Nathan Wood, Chief Administrator, Great Prairie AEA
Recently, there has been a significant outcry from the education community, including teachers, principals, caregivers, and students, regarding the Governor's proposal to modify AEA services. The concern is that these changes could greatly reduce the effectiveness of AEAs, making them insufficient in supporting our children, families, and especially smaller rural school districts. This worry revolves around crucial services that provide daily support for students, families, and educators. Understandably, families, school districts, and AEA staff are deeply anxious about the potential consequences of these proposed changes.
Special Education, Media Services, and Education Services have been fundamental aspects of the AEA's mission since its establishment. Every district and child supported by our AEA benefits from a network of interconnected services designed to address the unique needs of districts, buildings, classrooms, and individual students. I strongly believe that any plan isolating one service from the others deviates from the goal of supporting the holistic development of every child, particularly those relying on special education services.
We owe it to the schools and families we serve to uphold a system that preserves the crucial services children, educators, and families deserve. Currently, no plan has been presented that enhances the existing system. Everyone must continue actively participating, seeking more information about necessary improvements and understanding how a new system can provide solutions that are currently unavailable.
Iowa’s AEAs have consistently embraced change and improvement. We remain open to constructive conversations that lead to better outcomes for all Iowans. I encourage everyone to voice their concerns and collaborate with policymakers in meaningful dialogues that unite us in shaping a more effective and responsive educational system.
Learn more about AEA services' daily impact by viewing our #EveryDayatGPAEA series at https://www.facebook.com/hashtag/EveryDayatgpaea/.