Letter: Not all benefit from more school choices

The April 2 letter “Creating educational opportunities for all” suggests that Iowa legislators can do this by making it easier for parents to choose non-public schools. But seriously, for all?

Are the parents referenced representative of even a majority of the parents of the kids in our schools? Parents seeking this legislation most likely have been blessed with lives that allow their children to flourish regardless of the school type. Many of today’s parents are not so fortunate.

Families today often are unlike those from the past. Significant numbers of marriages end in divorce, creating single-parent homes. Significant numbers of students receive lunch payment assistance. Getting parents to attend conferences can be a problem. I submit that parents desiring non-public school choices have not experienced these things.

Legislation supposedly benefits everyone whenever possible. Greater school choice options realistically would not create “educational options for all.” Rightly or wrongly, too many parents would not, or could not, do what would need to be done for the inclusion of their children. This would help assure that not all would benefit.

The letter’s last paragraph suggests that barriers be removed so that parents can pursue non-public school choices. Being a public school educator for years, I believe that public schools will remain the primary source for educating our youth. Thus I am disturbed that lawmakers at state and national levels appear to be doing little to advance public education. Unfortunately expanding private educational opportunity often is done at a cost to public school education.

Larry Bowen

Cedar Rapids

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