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Issue: Lack of Accountability of Private Schools
  • The bill under consideration specifically allows Educational Savings Accounts to be utilized at accredited private schools.  This accreditation assures private schools meet Iowa’s educational standards.
  • The ultimate accountability for private schools is parental choice. Parents dissatisfied with their child’s educational environment have the choice of enrolling their child elsewhere.
Issue: Private Schools Do Not Have to Admit All students
  • Public schools will always be provided significantly more resources (State, County, Federal) to provide access to all students across the educational spectrum.
  • All plans under consideration make ½ the scholarships available to students on an IEP (individual education plan).  Acceptance of a scholarship for a student on an IEP means they accept a student that has an IEP.
  • Making accredited private schools accessible to more people broadens the educational opportunity for the different needs of our students.  Private schools should not be viewed as competition but rather as an additional resource in helping meet the diverse needs of our community.  ESAs broaden Iowa’s educational ecosystem by adding additional opportunities for our students.
Issue: Utilizing Government Money to Fund Private Schools Means the Government is Funding Religion
  • ESAs are not vouchers.  ESAs do not pick specific schools or faiths but rather create an educational savings account that parents can direct toward funding their children’s education.  It is directed at the parent’s discretion and not the government’s.
  • ESA’s follow the model of other government assistance programs.  Funds are provided to be utilized at the recipient’s discretion. (From SNAP for food assistance to PELL grants for college education)
  • Safeguards are created in the legislation to ensure government does not interfere with or exercise control over religious expression.
  • Any accredited private school is eligible to receive ESAs regardless of their faith persuasion or lack thereof.
  • No school is required to accept ESAs.
Issue: ESAs will Destroy Public Schools
  • Studies of other states utilization of ESAs reveals ESAs benefit the whole of education, public and private.
  • An ESA (Senate plan) only diverts $5,000 to the educational choice of the family,  whereas Open Enrollment diverts $7400 away from the school district.
  • ESAs are limited to 2% of eligible students.

Author: Jon Dunwell

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  1. IOW, public schools are a sacred institution that shall not be harmed nor forced to compete? I guess many politicians and supporters of public schools have never heard of creative destruction. In general, public servants won’t outperform other education systems until forced to compete. And the best way to do that is ensure every student is allowed to choose where to spend educational dollars. Not to mention it is the right of the people to individually decide.


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