From Christine Darr Winona Street, Dubuque
Republished from the Telegraph Herald
Iowa legislators are considering a bill that would implement education savings accounts in Iowa. At the federal level, Betsy DeVos is being considered for Secretary of Education — a person who has spent her adult life dismantling public education in Michigan.
Public schools are under attack and must be protected by all of us.
Education savings accounts, or vouchers, are not the way forward if we want to provide all Iowa’s children with a strong, high-quality education. While some proclaim that vouchers offer families choices in education, the impact of vouchers will disproportionately benefit only a very small portion of Iowa’s families.
According to the Department of Revenue, the top 13 percent of earners are receiving two-thirds of private- school tax benefits. Students in poverty, many of whom live in rural communities, will be hurt by this bill.
Additionally, using taxpayer money for homeschooling, private and for-profit schools is an irresponsible use of public funds.
Public schools are the foundation of a vibrant democracy. Creating a voucher system effectively abandons public education by requiring our teachers to meet high educational standards without the financial resources necessary to meet them.
Yet private and for-profit schools are not held to the same exacting standards.
We cannot ask public schools to do the impossible and then punish them when they fail. In order to have a thriving community, each and every child within it should have access to excellent, free education.
I urge readers to contact their state legislators about this issue.
Governor Branstad’s office: 515-281-5211