Things are kind of quiet on the school front right now. I think it’s the eye of the storm. There’s a task force reviewing the IPERS pension plan, even though that plan is vested and currently earning a higher interest rate than necessary for it to be sustainable. There’s a national bill, sponsored by an Iowa Representative, calling for school vouchers for everyone. Though I don’t expect that to get very far as it would also dissolve the Department of Ed. I just don’t know what poor Ms. DeVos would do with her time? There simply aren’t enough grizzlies. Though SF29 and HF9 have both dropped, neither seem to be the “big” ESA bill Iowans are expecting from our local channels featuring commercial like this and receiving phone calls asking them to pledge their support. Some of us might be counting down the days until we are out of funnel week (T minus 4. . .). But we’d be foolishly naive again! Turns out they might have a way to get it through even after funnel week.
Now, before I go on, I am not AGAINST private or charter education or homeschool. I am PRO whatever education you need for your child. I am the product of a private education; my parents worked very hard and sacrificed to provide that for my sister and I. But I am not in favor of taking funding away from public schools that are already strapped for resources and are committed to serving ALL students. Some of my reasons?
- The first report cards in on states with vouchers aren’t looking good
- School choice isn’t really a “choice” for all
- School choice can be a way to legally allow segregation. My favorite quote from this article? “It is important to understand that the inequality we see, school segregation, is both structural, it is systemic, but it’s also upheld by individual choices. As long as individual parents continue to make choices that only benefit their own children … we’re not going to see a change.”
Still need more convincing? GOOD FOR YOU! Question! Do your research! I’m partial to Parents for Great Iowa Schools as they are a true grassroots movement of parents (duh!) who are researching and advocating on their free time and making complex information understandable and accessible. But check it out for yourself!
Then there was this little gem!
Senator Kaufmann (Republican) ripped up HSB 138, a proposed bill that would have (among many things) removed requirements that barbers, social workers, and others be LICENSED professionals. And I approve of this because, as my friend Gerry says:
So huzzah! What a hero! the optimist in me says, “Yay, a win!”
But then there’s this pesky conspiracy theorist. And she says, “Isn’t this all a little TOO convenient?” Kaufmann says he received over 3,600 emails on HSB 138. I think there were many, many more calls, emails, personal appearances, etc. on the Collective Bargaining Bill. And a majority of Iowans expressing their opinion didn’t sway legislature on that issue. What if this bill was never set TO pass? It’s a great moment to get people all riled up and then say, “See? We listened to Iowans.”
I don’t know, perhaps that’s just overly suspicious of me. But now I’ve got my eye on the “Personhood” Bill that just passed through study committee. Because while I understand eliminating abortion is very much on the Republicans’ agenda, it seems a bridge too far for fiscally conservative people to want to truly outlaw access to oral contraceptives. That’s a lot of future children all needing access to government money and resources. I think the Personhood Bill, though it’s great to get people all up in arms about, has a got about as much chance of passing as Iowans getting a spring free of a random snow shower. I think it’s another way to say, “See, we listened?” and divert attention off of defunding access for many to free/low-cost access to reproductive health services.
Or perhaps my three weeks peering at to Iowa politics under the microscope has been too long- I’ve become jaded by proximity. Guess we’ll wait and see!