by State Representative Henry Stone
Well, week 15 is in the books and unfortunately, there isn’t much to report on. A few policy bills were debated but there still has not been any movement on the budget bills coming from the Senate. One reason that there seems to be a stall in passing of legislation is the conversation over school choice. Many parents, from in our district and around the state, have voiced their opinion about school choice and the resounding sentiment is that they support school choice.
Currently in Iowa, state tax dollars are being used for the Statewide Voluntary Preschool Program in which a parent gets to CHOOSE which preschool they would like their child to attend. Also, state tax dollars are being used for the Iowa Tuition Grant in which a student gets to CHOOSE which college/university they would like to attend. So why is there such a disparity when it comes to K-12 education? Why not give parents and students the ability to CHOOSE which school is the best fit for their child’s education?
The outcry of school choice has never been more prevalent since the Coronavirus pandemic and things have only been exacerbated with the teachings of critical race theory, sexual orientation and the proliferation of obscene and sexually explicit books through Iowa schools. At the end of the day, school choice is about our children and only about our children. Our children should be allowed to get the best education possible without having to sacrifice their childhoods or made to feel inferior just because of how they look.
Last year, we passed HF 802 along party lines. At the time we thought that this would end the devisive teachings that were occurring in Iowa schools. It appears that we were wrong! In the link provided below, administrators and equity officers proudly proclaim how they were continuing to teach tenets of critical race theory by just changing the wording or leaving out the actual words. Administrators/equity officers have changed the label, but kept the same content, to make sure parents don’t know what is being taught to their kids. Swapping out terms like “critical race theory” for “social-emotional learning” is what these administrators/equity officers are doing. This is how they continue to perpetuate such devisive teachings. This needs to stop!
The one tool that can be given to parents who don’t want their children subjected to these devisive teachings is school choice. Superintendents have always said that if a parent wants their kids to go to a private school, then they have that choice. So, when superintendents make that statement, are they saying that they’re okay with their districts receiving less funding? When a parent withdraws their child from a school district, the district loses their funding for that child. However, the reality is that the overwhelming number of parents can’t afford to withdraw their kids, essentially making the superintendents claim of choice, invalid. This would all change if the money followed the child. Once school districts are faced with this reality, then it becomes a different story. And that’s why there’s such a huge push against school choice.
In my district, there are some wonderful schools and I get along with all my superintendents. I will fight for everything they might need for their schools, whether that means an easier route for teacher licensing, creative ways to move money around to fund activities or even funding different programs that enable school districts to utilize different ways of teaching. However, there is one thing that I will continue to fight for and that’s parental choice when it comes to their child’s education.
Please watch the 11-minute video below and tell me if that’s how you want your child to be educated in our state.