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Friday Afternoon News, February 1

Former Superintendent Weighs In On Educational Issues

(Le Mars) -- A lot of attention is being devoted to educational issues from the local standpoint of the Le Mars Community School District hosting an educational legislative forum on Saturday, to the state legislature working on measures of funding education and teacher evaluations, to Governor Branstad's goal to reform education, and all the way up to the federal level of the "No Child Left Behind" Act.  But how many changes will occur, or need to occur, with our educational system.  Dr. Larry Williams is a former superintendent for Sioux City, Hinton and the Akron-Westfield school districts.  Williams, now retired, serves as a consultant relating to educational issues.  One measure being proposed by the state legislature is to require college students wanting to pursue a career in teaching to take additional tests to qualify them as a teacher.  Williams says testing future teachers may not determine whether an individual will make a good teacher.
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The Governor and the state legislature hope to create a method of teacher evaluations which would in part be based upon the student's performance.  Williams questions whether such action would be fair to the student.  He says good teachers use several means to adequately assess a student's performance, and there isn't one way that is the best method for assessing the student's progress.  Williams says Iowa is famous for developing a standardized means of testing with the former Iowa Test of Basic Skills for elementary and junior high students, and the Iowa Tests of Educational Development used for high school students.
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Williams says teachers and parents alike are always interested in the progress and assessment of a student.
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Tomorrow and Monday we will continue our series of reports focusing on educational issues.


Spencer Man Found Guilty On Meth Charges

(Sioux City) -- A man who conspired to distribute methamphetamine pled guilty January 30, 2013, in federal court in Sioux City. Gabriel Ginger, 26, from Spencer, Iowa, was convicted of one count of conspiring to distribute methamphetamine. At the plea hearing, Ginger admitted his involvement in a conspiracy from about 2010 through August 2011 that distributed more than 50 grams of actual (pure) methamphetamine.  On July 21, 2011, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Ginger’s residence and seized over 10 grams of methamphetamine which Ginger planned to distribute to others. Sentencing before United States District Court Judge Donald E. O’Brien will be set after a presentence report is prepared.  Ginger remains in custody of the United States Marshal pending sentencing.  Ginger faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years’ imprisonment and a possible maximum sentence of 40 years’ imprisonment, a $5,000,000 fine, a special assessment of $100, and at least four years of supervised release following any imprisonment.


Harkin Aide Gave Names of Donors To Iowa State For Institute

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Records show a top campaign aide for U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin gave Iowa State University a list of individuals and companies who would be solicited for donations to his namesake
policy institute.
Harkin's finance director, Jeremy Gold, sent a list of 13 individuals and 16 companies who might give to the Harkin Institute of Public Policy to a top official at the ISU Foundation in
October. Earlier that month, Gold had sent the foundation proposed revisions to a fundraising brochure it's using for the institute.
ISU refused to release the names of those on the list, saying they were prospective donors whose identities could be shielded.
University officials have promised the institute would be nonpartisan and free from Harkin's influence.


Public Defender Selected To Fill Circuit Court of Appeals

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) - A federal public defender in Cedar Rapids has been nominated to fill a vacancy on the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Jane Kelly has been an assistant federal public defender in the U.S. Northern District of Iowa since 1994.
Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin says Kelly "has spent her career working on behalf of the most underprivileged in society and has fought tirelessly to ensure the rights of all Iowans are protected."
Kelly was born in Indiana. She obtained her law degree from Harvard University in 1991.


Des Moines Man Pours Boiling Water On Fiancee

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A 22-year-old Des Moines man has been accused of tossing a pot of boiling water onto his fiancee while they were fighting.
Jeffrey Carlson was arrested Thursday night after officers responded to the home Carlson shared with the woman. She is the mother of his 9-month-old child.
Police Sgt. Jason Halifax says 22-year-old Alicia Atwood suffered burns on her back and on an arm and leg. Carlson told deputies that Atwood pulled the pot onto herself when she tripped
and fell.
Carlson faces two assault charges and one of probation violation. He remained in Polk County Jail on Friday, pending $10,000 bail. Online court records don't list the name of his attorney.
Atwood has been hospitalized.


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