Some say that the Legislature is attacking teachers this year, and I want to dispel that thought. Our teachers in NW Iowa are doing an excellent job. When the state closed briefly for COVID, many parents called me and let me know they wanted their kids back in school. I also had many teachers reach out to me and say the same thing. That is one example of our NW Iowa teachers being the cream of the crop. At the same time, I received hundreds of calls and emails from parents in other parts of the state who wanted the same thing, but teachers wanted to stay home.
There is no doubt about it; our teachers in NW Iowa are great. The Legislature, though, is nothing if not reactive. So, when presented with problems from constituents, like this issue, the Legislature reacted. I would never say that all teachers are despicable like some did because that isn’t fair. I did want to talk a little bit about what teaching is because many teachers have asked what we mean by teaching, and here are a couple of examples in the following part of this letter.
Recently a teacher let me know that I was terrible because she didn’t feel like she could adequately teach her children if she couldn’t tell them she was a part of the LGBTQ community. I am bewildered by this because I didn’t know that telling children who you sleep with or how you spend your time is teaching. Rather, I look at that as someone with an agenda. It’s not because I am a bigot, but I really don’t see how that is teaching our children because some parents would object to that, while some parents would agree with it. In the end, it is something for the parents to discuss with their child.
At the same time, if a teacher feels they must continue to teach a discredited history of our country, no matter the perspective that it comes from, that isn’t teaching; it is an agenda. Yes, our country has some good, bad, and ugly in it, and our children deserve to know every bit of it but not by using discredited or shady teachings from either the left or the right sides of the political spectrum. Our children need to know the truth about our country so that we can repeat the good, avoid the bad, and never repeat the ugly things like slavery and the atrocities committed in our country’s name. Even with the bad and ugly, there has never been a country that has been as great, generous, and impactful as the United States, and I am proud of that.
Instead of agendas, I wish our teachers in Iowa would take on an attitude like the one that Mr. Roland Schmidt has in Spirit Lake High School. Again, we have many great teachers here in NW Iowa, and I commend each of them for their outstanding work in preparing our children for the future. Mr. Schmidt isn’t the only one that I should name. He recently came to the Capitol with his class of Seniors, as he has for 6 or 7 of the years I have been in the Legislature. Several times during that period, some of his government class students have asked me if I knew what Mr. Schmidt’s political leanings are.
Here is a government class whose kids have no idea what their teacher’s political views are when that teacher presents political views every day. I think that is amazing and a perfect example of what teaching is all about. I can’t think of a more fitting model, and those who know Mr. Schmidt will agree with me that he is a perfect example of what teaching is all about.
So, to teach or to have an agenda. Teaching is about changing lives but not through social indoctrination and agendas; instead, it’s through teaching those kids the things that many parents simply are not prepared to teach. Some may disagree with me, and many will agree with me.