Letter to the editor

Whether you are a Wolverine, a Spartan, a Rebel, a Comet, a Falcon, a Cougar or any other school, pride runs deep in the blood of those who identify with the public schools in those communities. It doesn’t matter if it is music, sports, drama, clubs or organizations; students, parents and the community in general love their public schools and the pride it brings to those communities.


Election day is approaching. What does pride in our public school have to do with Election Day? Well, there is a “sleeping giant” in our state legislature that needs to be monitored. Work has been done in the past year in the Iowa Senate/House on a study bill entitled Iowa Student Opportunity Act #3206. This study bill should raise red flags to many taxpayers across the state. The study bill, I believe, was so named so that taxpayers would not realize that it is a bill that would introduce vouchers to our state. Basically such a bill would give parents, wishing to participate, a dollar amount ($4-5,000 per year) to be put in a student account (starting in Kindergarten). The student could “spend” it on parochial schools, charter, online schools or other educational activities approved by an oversight committee. I personally do not have a problem with students choosing to attend parochial or charter school with parents choosing to pay their tuition. That is their choice.


I do have a problem spending my tax dollars so that students can attend those schools, taking money or reducing the funding to our public schools that are already financially strapped. It needs to be noted that public schools serve the needs of ALL students whereas parochial or charter schools are selective in their student population. Under the current administration, money for education has not been a priority and our public schools (as well as colleges and universities) have been underfunded. Implementing a voucher system in Iowa’s elementary and secondary schools would further negatively impact our public school funding.


The voucher system is supported by the Iowa Catholic Conference, Iowa Assn. of Christian Schools, Americans for Prosperity (a Koch Bros. organization) and the Republican party. This voucher system idea is opposed by the Iowa Assn. of School Boards, ISEA, AFSCME, Des Moines Public Schools, ACLU, One Iowa and the Democratic Party. When casting your vote November 6, remember the importance of keeping our public schools strong. Candidates who will support public education and oppose vouchers include Tracy Freese (a Dike-New Hartford Wolverine) and Dennis Evans (a Gladbrook-Reinbeck Rebel).


Carol Gordon, Grundy Center, Retired Educator and Adamant Supporter of our Public Schools