School choice benefits everyone.
Communities, employers, the education system as a whole.
But more than that, school choice benefits families — moms and dads, sons and daughters.
And that is who the Iowa legislature should be focused on when it comes to education policy.
Nobody has more stake in education policies in Iowa than those who are customers of education — Iowa families.
But unfortunately, as this week displayed, the top priority for some lawmakers is not moms and dads/sons and daughters. The top priority is the education lobby.
The Iowa K-12 & School Choice Survey project released a survey that showed while 43 percent of Iowans hadn’t heard of Education Scholarship Accounts, 67 percent are in favor of them after being provided with a definition.
Seventy-seven percent favor a universal ESA program.
Young Iowa adults (18-24) were most likely to favor the School Tuition Tax Credit Program (74 percent). But the silent generation supported the program as well (60 percent).
The overwhelming majority of Iowans in the survey wanted to see an increased cap on tax-credit scholarships.
Forty-three percent of current and former Iowa school parents said they’d prefer to send their kids to private school if costs and transportation were no concern.
While 89 percent of K-12 students in Iowa attend a public school district, only 41 percent of parents said they’d select that type of school if it was their decision and there were no financial or transportation constraints.
And while education funding is always discussed as a priority, few Iowans have any idea what is actually spent on education.
Half of those surveyed said Iowa spends $5,000 or less per student. But spending in 2017-18 was $11,724 per student.
Eighty-nine percent of respondents underestimated per-pupil spending.
Current school parents in Iowa were asked for their views on the direction of K-12 education in Iowa.
Fifty-four percent said it’s on the wrong track. Members of an urban community were most likely to say it’s on the wrong track (56 percent).
But forget those numbers for a moment. Let’s not worry about who is the majority and who is in the minority.
Let’s think of the reality.
In Iowa, there are moms and dads, sons and daughters who want out of the public school they are attending. For various reasons, they cannot swing it, though.
Parents are essentially being forced to send their children to a place for more than eight hours every day that they’d rather not if it was truly up to them.
Isn’t that tragic?
Moms and dads want the best for their sons and daughters.
Every mom and dad I know would do anything they could to provide the best they could to their kids. Every single one.
Why shouldn’t the state make that easier when it comes to something as critical as their education?
Children are not the property of the state. Children do not belong to the government.
Moms and dads know what is best for their sons and daughters — not the government.
Iowa parents should have the final say on what kind of education their children receive. There should be options. There should be as few hurdles in the way as possible.
School choice is not just want Iowa parents want — it is what they deserve.