DES MOINES, Iowa — If you meet Iowa State Education Association President, Mike Beranek, the first thing he will tell you, is that he is a 3rd grade teacher for the West Des Moines Public School System, who is on leave to serve as President of the ISEA. He’s been an educator for 30 years.
This year has been a tough one to be a teacher in Iowa.
“Public education has come under attack for many places within our society,” said Beranek. “Education is being blamed for many of the ills in our society. Folks who not only want to demoralize the work that our educators are doing, there are some who want to demolish the system of public education.”
Beranek said teachers are being asked to do more for schools. In at least two districts, school personnel are now asked to carry firearms to ward off any armed intruders.
“There’s a lack of resources that are being appropriated to our schools, to provide mental healthcare workers, to provide the nurses, to provide the security systems that we need, and so yes when educators hear someone trying to demoralize them for the work that they’re doing it is becoming very difficult.”
Though, even in tough times, Beranek said he appreciates the hard working public school teachers across the state.
“But, luckily, we have all across the state educators that are dedicated to teaching our children,” said Beranek. “We have some of the highest quality educators in education in the country, and those folks are dedicated to not only educating the children they serve, but protecting them as well.”
With the many bills in committees at the Statehouse, Beranek said he thinks he will be at the Statehouse a lot this session.
“Its no secret the Governor mentioned in her speech at the beginning session laws on School Transparency, Bill of Rights, I think we will see some of the same laws that have been implemented around the country be brought to the floor here.”