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Cutting ties with the AEA ran program

The State of Iowa officially cuts ties with the AEA-run programs, but at what cost?
Iowa AEA
Changes to AEA services before and after (going into effect this year).

On Feb. 29th, the State of Iowa officially cut ties with the AEA run programs. AEAs (Area Education Agencies) are programs that provide support and services for students with any disabilities. Not only that but also help in many areas where they are needed that we may not even think about. 

With Iowa officially cutting ties with the AEA ran programs, we can expect to see many changes start to happen as the next school year rolls around. These changes will affect not only students but educators, families, schools and districts across the state.

The AEA-run programs does a lot of behind-the-scenes actions to make school easier for all. Some of these are so simple we do not think about how they could affect us.

As the ties with the AEA ran program come to an end, you may be asking “How does this affect me?” The answer to that question is that it will affect many people in ways you could not even imagine.

The AEA-run programs help out with things such as early access services for infants and toddlers which is for children from birth to age three years who have a health or physical condition that may affect a child’s growth and development. These developmental programs help children develop have the ability to play, think, talk or move naturally.

With Iowa cutting ties with the AEA-run program students, educators, families, schools and districts will now have to find new ways to take care of the problems they will face. 

While many are finding out about the program being cut, it is leaving many teachers upset about the outcome. English teacher and publications advisor Nicole Goodman says “AEA programs being cut makes me sad for the state of education in Iowa. We are going to be losing out on endless resources that currently benefit our students, families and staff.”

After being asked if the cuts will make the job as an educator easier or harder, Goodman responded by saying “This change will make educators’ jobs more difficult as we will no longer have access to resources that are designed to make our jobs easier. The AEA is able to provide support, resources, and information for educators and families and without them, those in education are negatively impacted.”

Union leader Sara Kavalier shares her deep opinion for the AEA programs being cut by saying “Cutting the AEA programs is removing a part of the system of support for our students and staff in public education. While my specific job in my classroom doesn’t directly have a change in roles because of the proposed changes like a special education teacher’s role might be impacted, I’ll see an impact daily because some of my students’ services will change. AEA provides mental health professionals to support the well-being of numerous students. In addition, they are a “line of defense” to address student concerns if/when staff raise them. The AEA provides support to many programs throughout the various districts served. AEA provides access to quality digital resources that I frequently use and coach my students to use, like Gale and SIRS Issues Researcher, when conducting academic research. Will districts be able to still provide access to these and other digital resources? That’s unknown at this point.”

Kavalier states that “Right now, the largest impact is the unknown ripple effects these changes will have. A larger urban district like Waterloo, Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, Des Moines, etc. will probably have enough of a population of students who need specific services that they will staff a position, but what happens to the rural district student who was served by an AEA employee who no longer is available and that district cannot staff that position? It’s another wrinkle in the underfunding, dismantling, lack of support of public education by our stage legislation that we’ve seen in the last few years which is disheartening and should greatly bother all people in Iowa because public education exists to benefit us all so we have an educated populace.”

 The State of Iowa cutting ties with the AEA seems like a slap in the face to the education system and those who work countless hours to make sure the children who will become our future are given all the tools they need. Cutting ties is cutting out opportunities for the future.

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About the Contributor
Reagan Westphal
Reagan Westphal, Reporter; Yearbook Copy Editor
(she/her) Reagan Westphal is a Junior at West High. This is her second year being part of the yearbook and first year being part of the Wahawk Insider staff as a reporter. Within yearbook, she is the Copy editor and outside of yearbook and Insider she can be found running cross country, on the field playing soccer, wrestling, listening to music, taking pictures, playing guitar, and working as a host at Doughy Joeys.
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