116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Home / Opinion / Letters to the Editor
Let’s call ‘school choice’ what it really is
Jan. 29, 2023 6:00 am
The Iowa Legislature has all but ensured the demise of many smaller, rural districts and added significantly to the financial woes of urban districts by siphoning off critical funds to private schools. This is happening in a time when consistent inadequate funding has many districts already operating on fumes. Under the guise of "school choice" promoted heavily in slick advertising paid for by out-of-state detractors of public education, the Republicans are willingly destroying it.
Public education is the great equalizer in a democratic system, and the Republican majority, rather than ensuring great public education, seems bent on destroying that noble effort. Let’s call it what it is — a war on public education. As evidence, one needs only look at House File 1 now being discussed at the Statehouse. Its provisions would all but prevent the use of bonds for school facility improvement by requiring a 10 percent down payment on a potential project from funds that simply are not available. If not a war on schools, why does the bill refer only to schools? There is no mention of bonding as related to municipal or county needs.
The purpose of a bond referendum is for local patrons, not the legislature, to decide on an increase in their own taxes to meet needs, and passage requires the super majority of 60 percent, a steep requirement. One has to assume that the concern for local control that Republicans have touted so much in the past was more lip service.
Opinion content represents the viewpoint of the author or The Gazette editorial board. You can join the conversation by submitting a letter to the editor or guest column or by suggesting a topic for an editorial to email@example.com