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The Iowa Senate spent Valentine’s Day debating school funding.  Democrats pushed for a $300 million investment in K-12 schools, while Governor Reynolds is proposing a $300 million corporate tax giveaway (plus $100 million more by gutting Iowa’s Unemployment system – stay tuned on that one).


Iowa ranked 40th for increasing per-pupil spending from 2014 to 2019—way below the national average. A solid boost would help ensure smaller class sizes, competitive salaries and benefits, more resources for innovation in the classroom and access to more extracurricular opportunities.

Republicans voted down the school funding proposal that I supported and sent a bill (HF 2316) to the Governor that once again underfunds schools and their rising costs.

Senate Republicans said they wanted to be bold.  They passed a book-banning bill out of committee with mandatory prison time for librarians and teachers.  They are pushing a private school voucher bill, expecting Iowa taxpayers to pay for private school at the expense of our public school system. And now they are patting themselves on the back for a wimpy school funding bill that leaves out more than 80 public school districts who will have to make budget cuts and possibly raise property taxes too.

These extremist GOP policies are hurting Iowa’s beloved education system and making our school workforce shortage even worse.

In a recent survey by the National Education Association, more than 50% of teachers said they want to leave the profession, and fewer college students are training to enter teaching—a field that has become high-stress with dwindling rewards. If you’re a teacher, know a teacher or have kids in school, you understand what I am talking about.

School districts across Iowa also have thousands of open positions for paraeducators, substitute teachers, bus drivers, nurses, librarians, hall monitors, custodians and more. Districts need more money to attract, hire and retain staff. I’ll continue to fight on their behalf.

I hope you’ll join me by giving Iowa teachers, librarians and others who work in schools the respect and support they deserve.

We cannot afford to have this toxic, anti-public education narrative continue.  Iowans, we need to pull together and unite against these culture-war tactics harming our public schools.

I agree with Raymond Beebe, a long-time Winnebago Industries executive, who recently wrote in the Mason City Globe Gazette that “our state quarter with a country schoolhouse and ‘Foundation in Education’ printed on the reverse side no longer tell it like it is!”  I hope you’ll take a minute to read his article.

Author: Janet Petersen

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  1. Serious misdemeanor is the perfect category for the crime of putting pornographic material in Iowa schools. The legislature gave schools a 2.5% increase. Just say thank you. That is very generous taking into consideration what you’re teaching and how well you’re teaching it. It it was said in committee that 99.5% of teachers are good teachers, conscientious teachers. What is the plan for extracting administrators that have a “sinister agenda”? The taxpayers and the parents finally have a voice in education again, you better start listening. You’re whining and misrepresentation is falling on deaf ears. Education has defaulted and lost their preferred status in our communities. Tax payers and parents are now going to clean up the mess that you’ve made out of education. No more lies!


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