Republican Sen. Jesse Green offered his public support for the Students First Act last week during debate on the Governor’s ESA proposal. Green gave a history of the school choice movement, noting that Wisconsin State Rep. Polly Williams was a “great pioneer” of school choice in the late 1980s.
Williams was a Democrat representing Milwaukee. In 1990, Bill Clinton sent Williams a letter urging her to keep up the good work on ensuring parents could have a say in the education of their children.
Fast forward a few decades later, and Green said some Iowa families are having to choose between sending their kids to a school that reflects their values or one that works against them.
“Iowans deserve to have their children educated without violating their values,” he said. “Iowans deserve more respect than that with their tax dollars.”
Green highlighted the fact that in many, if not all, Iowa public schools, it is policy that individuals are allowed to use the bathroom that aligns with someone’s “gender identity” rather than their “undeniable biology.”
“If we can’t trust some of our public schools on biology in the bathroom, what makes us believe we can trust those same schools on biology in the classroom,” he asked. “Iowa taxpayers have no choice in funding these schools where their 10-year-old little girl must be comfortable with sharing a restroom with a boy who thinks he is a girl.”
Green said boys using girls’ bathrooms and locker rooms is not “mainstream in Iowa.”
“Last year, we had to a pass a law that declared girls’ sports are for girls,” he said. “The education lobby fought us every step of the way. Do we really believe that is the position shared by the average, everyday taxpaying Iowa family? Of course not. How can I be so sure? Because Gov. Reynolds was re-elected by nearly 20 points, and we now have the largest trifecta in a half a century. The overwhelming majority of Iowa moms and dads don’t want their daughters using bathroom stalls next to biological boys at school. Yet on something so fundamental as basic biology, they currently have no choice in public schools.”
For those who believe “woke” studies such as Critical Race Theory or Gender Studies should be taught in school, Green encouraged them to start their own private school right away.
“I’m a free market guy,” he said. “Let the market decide. Once this bill passes, you will have no excuses.”
At the end of the day, no Iowa student should feel they cannot receive the type of education respective and reflective of their value system, he added.
“(Democrats) keep telling us they have to do what’s best for the kids in public schools,” he said. “They have to do what’s best for the majority. Shouldn’t we do what’s best for every kid? Shouldn’t we do what’s best for every family? Do they really not care at all about kids and families who do not utilize public schools? Because that is their message. Is diversity good everywhere except when it comes to educational settings?”
Green urged his fellow senators to vote in support of parents, students and families.