Newspaper Article Archive of
The Kalona News
Kalona, Iowa
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Newspaper Article Archive of
The Kalona News

April 26, 2018 GOP legislators must ‘despise education’
Article Pages -- as published on the The Kalona News website.

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ARTICLE DESCRIPTION:

Public education paid by public funds became a reality with Iowa’s 1846 statehood. Despite 65 percent of Iowans not wanting K-12 private education to be supported by public, our lawmakers have allocated $52 million to subsidize 52,000 privately educated students.

Recently, not only did the Republican-controlled legislature want to increase the private education funding by nearly five-fold to $240 million, they are attempting to jam SSB 3206 (Education Savings Account; ESA) down the public’s throat, which would permit a $4,000 voucher per public education schooled child to attend private school.

Around 90 percent of Iowa’s 241 private schools have a religious-stated mission statement. Separation of church and state contends no public funds should be diverted to non-public private education; both GOP private education initiatives may be unconstitutional.

Don’t be hoodwinked when Republicans claim their pro-private education bills are “revenue neutral.” Money doesn’t grow on trees. If passed, resources will, guaranteed, be siphoned away from public education appropriations and given to private education providers.

Both bills would especially harm rural communities and place a significant financial burden on all school districts. With these two bills and GOP’s history of underfunding public education it can only be surmised “Smaller-Smarter” Republicans despise public education.

There’s another reason behind the GOP’s anti-public education chicanery behavior. Citizens need to know the source of GOP suggested ESA, voucher program, home schooling and school choice policies, who also help their campaign coffers: Americans for Prosperity ($82 million; funded by Koch brothers), School Policy Network ($8 million, Virginia group), ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council; $7 million funds), The Heartland Institute ($5 million budget) and EdChoice ($5 million Indianapolis-based school choice education reform organization); follow the money!

When Republicans can provide statistically significant evidence ESA’s as well as School Choice will not take one dime away from Iowa’s 333 public education school districts and improved educational outcomes are guaranteed, then Iowans will listen. This request of the GOP will not be forthcoming as The Brookings Institution, a century-old American education focused research group, has found, in statistically significant terms, the idea private education being superior to public education is a myth and there’s absolutely no best manner to educate children.

Iowans need a dose of reality. If 100 students from your public school each took $4,000 to be educated elsewhere, could your school survive with $400,000 less state funding? Imagine what School Choice or ESA’s will do to your town’s small businesses, economic development plans, neighborhood, property taxes and way of life when state-funded non-public schools sabotage your public school.

Steve Corbin is a non-paid freelance opinion editor and guest columnist contributor to 78 newspapers in six states.

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