Hello District 75 from the State Capitol!
Week 15 was slow for most of the legislators, and the 100th day was on April 19th which was the last day for legislators to receive a daily stipend for housing and meals. The House and Senate leadership continue to work on negotiations for the budgets. Also, one of Governor Reynolds and the Senate’s priorities are to see school Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) signed into law.
There are many schools across Iowa that are violating law by teaching “Critical Race Theory”, the “1619 Project” and other ideologies that the majority of Iowans do not want taught. About a week ago, an organization of investigative journalists called Accuracy in Media (www.aim.org) released a video after interviewing several Iowa public school administrators who admitted how they blatantly teach what is banned by changing a few words. This video, “Iowa Administrators Brag About Skirting CRT Laws “Politicians Really Can’t Stop It”” can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j6MnaZz97eU.
In the Senate’s school voucher bill, SF 2369, the proposals are for students from household incomes at or below 400% of the federal poverty guide while the House is proposing at or below 300% of federal poverty income levels. This is not just a Republican idea. There are many democrats around the country in favor of school choice. Believe it or not, Gloria Romero, Democrat, the former Senate Majority Leader in California, is a huge proponent of school choice. You can read about her from just last November here: https://californiaglobe.com/articles/former-senate-leader-gloria-romero-joins-fix-california-initiative-for-school-choice-funding/.
There are 16 states, including Wisconsin, Indiana, and Ohio that have school vouchers, and Missouri has Education Savings Accounts. There have been 27 rigorous studies of how students did on test scores after leaving public schools, and 25 of these studies found students had modest gains in their scores. These vouchers are absolutely putting the welfare of students first and probably only one or two percent of students would use it. Of course, Iowa schools have fantastic teachers, but there are a very small percentage of students who can do better for whatever reason with another school, and these vouchers can help.
The district conventions were held this last Saturday, and it was great to see Vice-President Mike Pence in Independence! Also, if you’re interested in seeing some very impressive artwork and want to learn a little history, you can see Buchanan County’s Freedom Rock at the Heartland Acres Event Center at 2600 Swan Lake Blvd. in Independence. I highly recommend it!!
Please have a safe, healthy, and wonderful week everyone as we welcome May this Sunday!