Dan Clay, UI Dean of the College of Education, was the Jan 31 speaker.
Visiting Rotarians and Guests
Deb Cobb-- Guest of Bryan Clemons
Dan Clay-- Speaker
Aleck Krob-- Outbound Youth Exchange Student, Guest of Chris Knapp
Hazel Seaba described her work on the AM Rotary Board as Director for Club Service II, which is mostly the same as party planner.  Coming up May 2 will be the Grant Award Supper.  A sign up for recruiting volunteers to help with the event is going around.  Remember, also, our regular Month Openers, usually the first Monday of the month at Donnelley's.  The next one is Feb 6 at 5:15ish.
Roger Christian will be missing about three meetings to recover from successful heart surgery.  Get better soon, Roger!
Deb Ockenfels gave a Foundation Minute to note that the RI Foundation has decided to add programs to help protect the environment to those supported by the Foundation.  In addition to possible global grants in this area clubs are encouraged to plant at least one tree between now and Earth Day in April.
Bryan Clemons introduced Deb Cobb, who is a retired dentist looking to get more involved in community service.  Brian Adamec commented that she was also his family dentist, and Deb was helpful in recommending Brian's wife for dental school.
Chris introduced Aleck Krob, our outbound exchange student for 2017-18. Aleck is from District 5970 and attends Mt Vernon High School.  He comes highly recommended by John Schultz and members of the Mt. Vernon RC. 
Rotarians in the News-- Tom Langenfeld had an article in the Press Citizen concerning public health issues.
Lots of Happy Bucks including one for Herb Wilson's 89th birthday.  Mike Messier contributed $130 for the combination of his birthday age, the number of years he's been married and the 21 days he will be in Kawai.  Chris and Vernette Knapp were happy to have attended the SCRYE (South Central Rotary Youth Exchange) meeting in Tulsa.  Vernette also reminded the group of the RLI session in Des Moines on April 1 and the September 30 RLI in Iowa City.  For those of us who need levels 2 and 3 this would be an ideal combo training opportunity!
Mark Patton is still recruiting sponsorships for Bowl for Kid's Sake; but don't count on eggs any time soon as the old hens are not laying enough right now. Patton is also happy that he and Brad Langguth will be in the same town in Guatemala as the IA MOST team but on Habitat for Humanity business.  Maybe the two teams will meet up??  Two members announced they nearly got skewered by deer in separate incidents.  Aleck Krob commented that so far outbound Youth Exchange training is going well and so is his year at Mt Vernon HS.  Casey Cook praised a recent show at Riverside Theatre and Phil Peterson visited a museum that included an iron lung while in Chicago.  Deb Ockenfels had the dollars (unlike John) to contribute bucks in honor of their 39th anniversary.  John was out of bucks, but enjoyed flying yesterday in the nicer weather.  Margy Winkler praised the work of Deb Dunkhase at the Iowa Childrens Museum.  Susie Poulton told the story of an 8 year-old who visited her in her office recently.  Deb Dunkhase put $37 on the table to honor the 37 people going with IA MOST to Guatemala, including our own Amy Nicholson.
Pam Ehly introduced Dan Clay, the Dean of the University of Iowa College of Education.  His talk was on Innovation in Education.  In his previous job at the University of Missouri Clay was instrumental in setting up a public-private partnership in order to provide online high school classes available to students world-wide.  After two years there are 30,000 enrolled from 65 countries.  Private investors provided the capital for the project and are members of the project board, but the University of Missouri provides the curriculum and the branding.  The program provides a laboratory for teachers and school principals to be able to evaluate online teaching methodology.
Clay said that because schools and curriculum are evaluated via the scientific method there is little incentive to take risks, and risk-taking is necessary in order to innovate.  Schools are driven by rules and regulations where innovation requires the ability to learn through failures as well as successes and the ability to go off the beaten track. 
There will be increasing pressure to move to charter schools and voucher systems.  Charter schools, according to Clay, do not make the educational process inherently worse or better; there are great charter schools and there are terrible ones.  He finds that the terrible ones have let the desire for profit outweigh the need to provide quality education for kids.  Teachers must maintain the central role no matter what type of school structure is used.  Incentive pay for teachers to stimulate improving test scores does not work because too much is outside of the control of the classroom teacher.  The teacher does not control who is homeless in class, or who is from an unstable home environment, or other socio-economic factors that make a tremendous difference on how well a student can learn. 
There is interest in implementing some of the same entrepreneurial ideas at UI and in Iowa schools in partnership with the private sector that were working at the University of Missouri during Clay's tenure there.