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We have reached that point in the session when, in addition to passing budget bills, we are hearing farewell speeches by retiring representatives.  Twenty-eight of our fellow legislators are leaving this year – a few to run for other offices.

Among others, I will really miss Representative Cecil Dolecheck with whom I have served on the Education Committee for many years.  Although we belong to different parties, we agree far more often than not.  I was particularly taken by a comment he made in his speech this week: “If it isn’t political, don’t make it so”.  Amen to that!

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Along with Senator Claire Celsi, I had the opportunity to speak with a group of 50 plus kids from various schools across the state who belong to the Student Learning Institute (SLI).  They were holding an event at the Wallace Building and had asked us to visit with them.  We were so impressed by the questions they asked that clearly illustrated their understanding of current issues – particularly as they affect their education.  They wanted to know who was going to “police” their teachers and how they could be effective voters if they didn’t understand the history.  Kids like these greatly encourage me for the future of Iowa.

I have been made aware of an article written by a current representative that appeared in some publications in North Iowa.  The claim was made that Democrats wanted to restrict parental rights when it comes to the education of their kids.  Teachers depend on parents to let them know if there is a home situation that might affect their child’s ability to concentrate and learn (ie: divorce, separation, serious health issues, etc.). The education of our children needs to be a joint effort between parents, teachers and the school administration.  As a retired educator, I can say that I always enjoyed and encouraged parents to visit my classes. I know that is still the case with current teaching professionals.

To bring you up to date on passed legislation: as of Tuesday this week, the House had passed all of the budget bills; the Senate has not passed even one! For example, normally the House does the Education budget first and the Senate will do the Health and Human Services; then each chamber passes the bill along to the other for passage.  This is an extremely unusual and puzzling situation.

Stay tuned!

Author: Sharon Steckman

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