Letter: Creating educational opportunities

With this year’s state legislative session entering its home stretch, I’m asking lawmakers to take another look at our education system and ways we can provide the greatest learning opportunities for children.

As a parent, I see value in the opportunity to choose the education path that is best suited for my child. Parents across Iowa share this vision — that regardless of income, location or cost, we want access to the optimal learning environment for our kids. Lawmakers should share in this goal and take steps to reach it before they adjourn for the year.

Programs like School Tuition Organization (STO) tax credits that have been working for Iowa families since 2006, and the proposed Educational Savings Accounts (ESAs) — a state grant equal to a portion of the state per-pupil funding for which every Iowa student would be eligible — have been topics of interest throughout this session. While opponents have shouted down the benefits of these programs, they are real avenues for parents to access educational options that may not be available to their families.

Rather than focus the conversation on the merits of public versus non-public school options, the debate should be focused on how Iowa can address and meet the needs of each student.

As things stand, not all educational opportunities are available to everyone; income and geography have been barriers for many seeking non-public options. That’s where lawmakers can help: break down the barriers and offer parents true school choice.

Kevin McCarville

Cedar Rapids

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