Melissa Peterson, the lobbyist for the Iowa State Education Association, addressed the “elephant in the room” during her legislative recap on Facebook.
“That would be the majority party’s (Republican) desire to usurp local control,” she said.
She listed examples such as the 100 percent in-person instruction requirement as well as legislation to get rid of any curriculum related to The 1619 Project. Also included was legislation eliminating voluntary diversity plans and prohibiting schools from implementing mask mandates.
After railing against school choice and education savings accounts, Peterson did slip up and say that parents know kids best, but she also included educational professionals, students themselves and community members in that list.
“A handful of folks who just happen to be very, very vocal who frankly are forcing some districts to make some really, really challenging decisions and putting them between a rock and a hard place,” she said. “Where they either comply with things that would be best for the health and safety of both their students and the staff or put them in the situation where they’re violating state law. And that is the case with what happened (Wednesday) night with House File 847.
“I have never so quickly seen a piece of legislation literally walked into the Governor’s office and signed at approximately midnight putting that mask prohibition into place immediately.”
Peterson said the “hypocrisy is real” from the Republicans, who passed the charter school bill. And she said the “challenges are real.”
“It has been challenging to try to build relationships with people, to try to take actions that are very common sense and in some situations to have some success, and then at the same time feel like we’re taking 17 steps backward when some of these last-minute actions were taken.”