Melissa Peterson, the lobbyist for the Iowa State Education Association, provided a recap of the 2021 legislative session on Facebook. She highlighted the organization’s big win of killing the Senate’s proposed education savings account plan for Iowa families.
“It was directly because of your advocacy, your contacting legislators, your speaking out against this proposal that frankly we were able to defeat it,” she said. “Specifically with the House Republicans. Without your work, we would not have frankly been able to defeat that legislation and we’d be looking at much greater, dire circumstances frankly and the shorting of resources toward our public schools.”
Peterson also expressed disapproval of the bill to allow charter school expansion.
“This bill enables outside entities frankly that are not affiliated with local school districts to create charter schools,” she said. “They don’t have to go through any sort of local accountability like we do traditionally or as we do in the status quo with our charter school legislation.”
She said there will be significant challenges with the legislation.
“We will be diligently watching to make sure that if anyone tries to take advantage of the system in a fashion that is not good for students that we bring it to folks’ attention,” Peterson said. “We know from speaking with our affiliates and colleagues across the nation that in other places where similar laws have been passed there are nefarious actors.”
Peterson said the charter school conversation was part of a “theme” that ISEA saw throughout the entire session.
“And that is parent choice, student choice and it did not matter quite frankly how many facts we provided in this conversation,” Peterson said.