There is a crisis across the state when it comes to education. Every week The Iowa Standard receives at least a handful of emails from parents and educators with specific instances of concerning indoctrination taking place inside Iowa’s public schools.
And examples, some of which remain unpublished for now, range across the state.
It isn’t isolated indoctrination carried out by individual teachers either.
To borrow a phrase from our Democrat friends, this educational indoctrination is systemic.
But let’s set aside all that for a minute and ask one basic question when it comes to education policy — who exactly should be the focus of legislators when determining education policy?
Is it the institution? The public school system? The school boards? The teacher’s union?
Or, and follow me, is it Iowa taxpayers? Is it moms and dads?
More importantly, is it the students themselves?
The Students First Act is an extremely limited school choice bill. Extremely limited. Very narrow and specifically targeted to families in Iowa’s failing schools.
The only Republican reason to oppose the legislation — and I mean the only Republican reason — is because it doesn’t go far enough. It doesn’t afford school choice equally across the board. It doesn’t provide equal opportunity under the law for all Iowa families.
But if any Republican in the Iowa House opposes the Students First Act for that reason, it is news to me.
Republican Rep. Gary Worthan has said he has “reservations” about the idea.
His reason — allowing students to use taxpayer money to attend private schools.
Republican Rep. Brian Best said he’d vote against the Students First Act according to the Carroll Times Herald, but the paper later said Best is open to compromise.
His reason — concern about the “dwindling” number of students in rural public schools and a desire to protect those educational institutions.
Republican Rep. Ann Meyer, who campaigned on approving at least some use of school vouchers, said shortly after the Senate passed the Students First Act that she was not comfortable supporting it.
Her concern — the stage giving “public dollars” to private schools and the private schools not being under the same restrictions as public schools.
Republican Rep. Joe Mitchell said earlier this month he opposes Education Savings Accounts and confirmed he would vote no on the bill in its current form.
His reason — he’s not normally in favor of the voucher systems previously proposed and his number one priority has always been having strong public schools.
Republican Rep. Brent Siegrist perhaps came out as strong as any member of the GOP against the bill.
His reason — what it would mean long-term for a system of vouchers in Iowa.
Republican Rep. Dennis Bush told constituents that he does not believe vouchers are going anywhere. He expressed doubt in terms of Senate File 159’s passage in the House. Bush said there was “significant resistance” within the Republican caucus and that he personally has a problem with it.
His reason — separation of church and state. He has a problem taking “public tax dollars” and taking it to a private religious school.
Republican Rep. Ray Sorensen said earlier this month he was leaning on voting no, but would take in all the information.
Read it again if you have to. Do you know who wasn’t mentioned by any of those legislators as the ultimate influence in their decision? The actual boys and girls, moms and dads who would either benefit from school choice or suffer from the lack thereof.
Some of these legislators who are resistant to passing a school choice bill either sent or do send their own children to private schools in the ultimate display of political hypocrisy.
Freshman State Sen. Jesse Green took to the floor of the Senate to remind House Republicans what the GOP platform states in terms of school choice:
- We believe that parents are responsible for their children, and we support the rights of parents to be the ultimate authority for the discipline, protection, and education of their children.
- We believe money should follow the child in education – whether that child attends public, private, parochial or home school- to assist parents financially in educating their children using the option best suited to their family’s educational needs. We call on the General Assembly to provide for tuition vouchers, tax deductions, or tax credits to permit parents’ choice in educating their children- without government intervention in the school curriculum.
The reality, though, is that we should not need a political party platform to tell us what should be obvious.
Education policy decisions should be made with each boy and each girl in mind. Not the institutions, not the system, not the teacher’s union, not the school boards. The students and the moms and dads tasked with raising them.
And when you add in the fact there is systemic liberal indoctrination happening across the state, it’s all the more reason school choice should be no choice at all for Iowa Republicans.
It should be a priority.