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Iowa Senate Democrats Offer Compromise on Education Policy

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- Senate Democrats have offered a new compromise on education policy that would allow school districts to opt out of adopting changes.
   The proposal came Monday after a week of no progress on Gov. Terry Branstad's proposed education overhaul. Senate Democrats and House Republicans have approved different versions of the plan and have not yet been able to work out a deal.
   Branstad has proposed boosting teacher pay and providing leadership incentives. Democrats now say they'll agree to make those reforms optional for districts. That's something Republicans had been seeking.
   But Democratic Sen. Herman Quirmbach, of Ames, says he doesn't want to agree to Republican-proposed changes to teacher evaluations that would use student testing and other factors as part of the process.
   Republicans did not immediately respond to the offer.

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