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As I wrote in Part 1 of the Education bill newsletter, the controversial provision that brings this bill to the end of session negotiations is the issue of School Choice.  SF 2369 creates a Student First Scholarship program for students at or below 400% Federal Poverty Level or students with an Individualized Educational Program with a cap of 10,000 total scholarships to be divided half and half between the 400% FPL applicants and students with an IEP.

These scholarships, or Educational Savings Accounts are a mechanism that changes the way we look at state funding of education.  Iowa is currently appropriating money to public schools, who get over $7,600 per student each year.  The way we should be looking at this is to fund the students’ themselves, not the system and wait to see how many students show up each year.

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The traditional argument for school choice is that currently the public-school system has a monopoly, and introducing competition will make every school better, as they work to attract new students or not lose those who are already attending a school.  The counter argument is that public tax dollars should fund only public schools.  There is also an argument that private schools should have the same regulations as public if we are going to send tax dollars to private schools.

I believe we should be funding the student and give the parent the ability to choose the education that best fits their child.  I am also aware of many public programs where tax dollars go to a private entity for services.  Think Medicare or Medicaid, where the patient is able to go to their choice of doctor or nursing home.  But mostly I know that a one-size-fits-all system can never fit every child, even as hard as public schools and AEAs try.  There must be an exit ramp for those who need something different.

So while the old debate still exists and the players remain the same, the issue of parents’ choice in education is suddenly so much more important.  We should recognize that these positions still exist, but the issue is much deeper than that.  The discovery of toxic, progressive ideology curriculum that rejects our traditional, common values has been discovered to be more aggressive and further entrenched than anyone wanted to believe.

The Covid lockdowns, as wrong as they were, gave us an insight into parts of our public-school system that shocked many parents, policy makers, and Iowans in general.  Parents who trusted that their children were being taught in an environment that roughly paralleled the values or worldview taught at home were shocked to find that some assigned books contained illustrated child pornography and incest.  Imagine the parents’ surprise when they brought the issue to the school administrators and Board only to find it was either intentional or minimized and the offending books would remain accessibly by children.

Some Iowa schools started running whole curriculums taught through the perspective of the Black Lives Matter movement.  These racist programs identify and value people specifically by the color of our skin, teach our children that America is a horrible place and that the guiltiest group of people who must be punished are white families and their children. Those children must be programmed to apologize and stand last in line, no matter how hard they work.  I’d ask parents in western Iowa to research the 1619 project.  It seems too many are trying to teach our children much more than reading, writing, and ‘rithmatic.

After I supported the scholarship program to help lower income parents choose how their child is educated, I was challenged to point out these problems in western Iowa.  There is a two-point answer to this question.  First, it is true that this is mostly an Iowa metro problem.  That doesn’t mean it isn’t creeping in to our rural schools.  Local parents have found some of the books I mentioned in our local school libraries.  I’m still waiting to see how that issue is resolved.  But the larger issue is that this progressive ideology is firmly entrenched in our cities and it effects a huge percentage of our current and future students.  In much less than a generation this toxic worldview may be normalized through our Iowa Department of Education and Area Education Agencies, and local schools.  While your Iowa Senate Republicans continue to fight this anti-American movement, the best, long-lasting remedy is to open the range of choices to parents, regardless of income.

Public educators, including school boards, administrators, teachers, and para-educators who are doing a great job teaching children without trying to indoctrinate can best defend our public schools by cleaning up their own industry.  Call out the left-wing agitators who have taken over in the metro schools.  They can side with parents who object to obscene material being assigned or available in some schools.  When they attend continuing education or administrative group meetings, call out their troublemaking colleagues who are giving public education a black eye.  This is how you convince parents and taxpayers you are on their side.

To get a sense of how bad this problem is, go to YouTube and find the video by Accuracy in Media titled “Iowa Administrators Brag About Skirting Critical Race Theory Laws”.  Similar videos exist for most states.  The ugly secret is that many in the highest levels of public education are trying to take your children from you.  The Senate and the governor are trying to stand up for Iowa parents.  The Iowa House needs to pass our limited school choice bill.  We need your help, along with our local school employees, to win.

Author: Jason Schultz

State Sen. Jason Schultz served three terms in the House prior to being elected to the Iowa Senate. Schultz served seven years in the National Guard and served as volunteer fire fighter for the Schleswig Volunteer FD for 13 years, two years as the department's chief.

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1 COMMENT

  1. As explained by earlier Justices; Lawmakers are given authority by the people to legislate codes, rules, regulations, and statutes which are policies, procedures, and “law” to control the behavior of bureaucrats, elected and appointed officials, municipalities and agencies but were never given authority to control the behavior of the people as we read in several Court decisions:

    1) “The common law is the real law, the Supreme Law of the land, the code, rules, regulations, policy, and statutes are ‘not the law’”, [Self v. Rhay, 61 Wn (2d) 261]

    2) “All codes, rules, and regulations are for government authorities only, not human/Creators in accordance with God’s laws. All codes, rules, and regulations are unconstitutional and lacking due process…” [Rodrigues v. Ray Donavan (U.S. Department of Labor) 769 F. 2d 1344, 1348 (1985)“

    3) All laws, rules and practices which are repugnant to the Constitution are null and void” [Marbury -v- Madison, 5th US (2 Cranch) 137, 174, 176,(1803)

    4) Statute [Blacks Law 4th edition]: The written will of the legislature, solemnly expressed according to the forms prescribed in the constitution; an act of the legislature

    5) “A ‘Statute’ is not a Law,” (Flournoy v. First Nat. Bank of Shreveport, 197 La. 1067, 3 Sold 244, 248)

    6) “A concurrent or ‘joint resolution’ of legislature is not Law,” (Koenig v. Flynn, 258 N.Y. 292, 179 N. E. 705, 707; Ward v State, 176 Old. 368, 56 P.2d 136, 137; State ex rel. Todd. v. Yelle, 7 Wash.2d 443, 110 P.2d 162, 165)

    There is absolutely nothing in the united states Constitution that authorizes congress to write any legislation pertaining to education. Not even a jot or tittle. Therefore in a just world, free of corrupted or ignorant politicians who didn’t understand their oath, those acts, laws etc would be null and void.

    On the other hand, the Iowa Constitution was amended to give the legislature authority to set regulations under the outdated idea that making schooling public would be the best way to educate our kids. Instead, the quality of education has declined year after year for decades.

    Instead of wrangling with bar attorneys and powerful interests over legislation, methinks its time to cut to the chase and go back to the Constitution and amend it so that current government schools are on the same and equal footing as any other form of education, to include funding. It’s time for us to constitutionally dismantle government schools and return full control back to parents where they belong.

    Furthermore, all this talk about non public schools having to follow regulations is laughable when public schools aren’t held to the same demands.

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