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There are many things being said in the media and social media about the Governor’s Student First Act.  I have talked with many Iowans in rural and urban areas about the issue of school choice.  Iowans who take an honest look at the issue agree that the following statements are common sense and undeniable.

  1. A one size fits all system does not fit every family.
  2. Families want more opportunities for their children.
  3. Families want the same values taught at home, church, and school.
  4. The Student First Act is not a voucher, it is an ESA (Educational Savings Account).
  5. Using an ESA, a student switching from public to private removes the main cost away from the public system and leaves much of the funds, which then can save taxpayer dollars.  The Department of Management reports that Iowans currently spend $17,031 per public student per year.  Educating that same student for the proposed ESA amount of $7598 would make available $9433 for other uses including tax savings.
  6. Public dollars are used for private purposes in many of our government systems, i.e.- Iowa Tuition Grant, Pell Grants, GI Bill, Medicaid, SNAP, Voluntary preschool.
  7. Education dollars are not intended to sustain a system; they are intended to educate children.  The Iowa constitution states we are to provide for the “education of youths”, not to ensure a specified system.
  8. For years, private school families have been saving the state millions of tax dollars.  Using the Department of Management number of $17,031 for the cost of educating one child, when any family chooses to educate their children without those dollars, that is a direct savings to all Iowa taxpayers.
  9. School choice will not decimate public schools, most families will stay in the traditional public school.
  10. Families with the power to take their children somewhere else are the best accountability measure for any school.

Chassidi Martin of Royal Legacy Christian Academy has said, “Wouldn’t it be lovely if we could all work together to give our families the best possible option for their students.”  This is the time for Iowans to stop the partisan squabbling, come together and give all families the best opportunities we can.

Author: Walt Rogers

Walt Rogers is a former state legislator who chaired the House Education Committee.


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