“There is a place in America to take a stand: it is public education. It is the underpinning of our cultural and political system. It is the great common ground. Public education after all is the engine that moves us as a society toward a common destiny… It is in public education that the American dream begins to take shape.”
Providing world-class education in every public school for every school child must be the minimum standard. The bar must be set high so that every child has the opportunity to reach high and achieve their best.
Our public schools in Iowa are outstanding but they are so because the public school teachers, staff, and administration go above and beyond, often without recognition and certainly without adequate pay or funding. Quite simply the legislature and the governor are not doing their jobs.
The majority party has underfunded our public schools to a dangerous level. They gutted collective bargaining that protected the rights of teachers and staff. They are hell-bent on further privatizing our education system regardless of what the experts in the field say or the negative impact on our public schools. And, they continue to increase the dollars and loopholes for private, parental choices rather than focusing on the very real needs of our public school children.
Good public policy and adequate funding for our public schools is my top priority. It is the legacy and promise of our state and we must live up to that promise.
We must take responsibility for funding our schools at the level necessary to ensure retention of good teachers and small class sizes. We must lengthen the supplemental funding for ELL and add supplemental funding for children in poverty.
Iowa has plenty of private education choices. Vouchers and for-profit charter schools must never be part of those choices. School districts that have opted in to a Diversity Plan must be allowed the local control and decision making authority for open enrollment requests in order to maintain a strong, healthy, diverse school district.
Iowans have much respect for and pride in our public schools. The state must live up to its responsibility of caring for and funding them so every child, urban and rural, can learn to the best of their ability and succeed.