“The Republicans who run your Iowa House say they won’t approve public school funding for the 2015-2016 school year, even though the law requires it.”
TO: Interested Parties
FROM: Matt Sinovic, Progress Iowa Executive Director
DATE: February 14th, 2014
RE: Iowa’s ‘House of Distractions’
The Iowa legislature failed to meet a crucial deadline yesterday, when they were supposed to approve K-12 funding for the 2015-2016 school year.
Securing that funding in advance is even more crucial now, as our schools are funded at $1,500 lower per pupil than the national average, and more and more students are living in or on the brink of poverty. Those students count on our public schools for opportunity, and rely on our elected officials for leadership.
Last week, the Iowa Senate passed a 6% funding increase for next year, meeting their obligation to our students and restoring critical funding for our schools. Unfortunately, the Iowa House of Representatives refused to consider any increase and did almost everything except fund our schools during the past week, turning themselves into the Iowa House of Distractions.
What has the House of Distractions been doing, if not following the law and funding our schools? Here are a few of the issues they chose to focus on this week:
Comparing guns to hot dogs: Rep. Matt Windschitl, debating HJR4, compared gun deaths to deaths caused by… hot dogs. If we regulate guns, we might as well regulate hot dogs.
Restricting access to women’s health care: The House passed a bill banning the use of so-called telemedicine delivery systems for medication abortion, restricting access for women primarily in rural areas. They did this despite the fact that as access and education about abortion has increased, the rate has decreased.
Listening to the extreme right on education: In a subcommittee chaired by Rep. Sandy Salmon, only right wing experts were heard, including a self-proclaimed author of template legislation for ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council. No parents, teachers, or students were listed as invited participants.
Email sent by Rep. Sandy Salmon; emphasis/highlight added, 2/9/14:
From: “Salmon, Sandy [LEGIS]”
Date: February 9, 2014 at 6:30:35 AM CST
Subject: testimony for subcommittee
Thank you for serving on a subcommittee with me that will look at issues related to the Common Core.
I wanted to give you the heads up that some speakers will be coming from out-of-town to give testimony at the subcommittee meeting. They are the following people:
Jane Robbins J.D., senior fellow at the American Principles Project, whose work includes education policy, student privacy and parental rights issues. Ms. Robbins has drafted state legislation on educational transparency and sovereignty that has led to a parallel resolution by the South Carolina Southern Baptist Convention, model ALEC legislation, and emulated legislation in several states.
Henry Burke of Omaha, Nebraska, is a Civil Engineer with a B.S.C.E. and M.S.C.E. He has been a Registered Professional Engineer (P.E.) for 37 years and has worked as a Civil Engineer in construction for over 40 years. Mr. Burke had a successful 27-year career with a large construction company.
Henry Burke serves as a full-time volunteer to oversee various construction projects. He has written numerous articles on education, engineering, construction, politics, taxes, and the economy including state specific costs for the implementation of Common Core / Iowa Core.
Bruno Behrend, J.D. is a senior fellow for education policy at The Heartland Institute in Chicago. The mission of the Heartland Institute is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems.
Thank you for helping to look into this and we’ll see you this coming week!
State Representative Iowa House District 63
Following only the laws they choose to follow: After failing to meet the school funding deadline set by state law, the Iowa House passed a bill changing state law, meaning they could delay funding. One Representative who opposed the change asked “so you’re going to pick and choose which laws you follow?”
None of these proposals are expected to pass in the Democratically controlled Senate. All of these proposals serve only as a distraction from the real responsibilities of the Iowa House, the first of which is funding our schools. While they should have been working toward better opportunities for Iowa students, they instead chose to spend time on distractions.
More than 1,700 have petitioned House leadership to fund our schools. School administrators oppose their funding delay by a 98 percent margin. It’s time the leadership in the Iowa House of Representatives start leading and stop distracting. They should put an end to the House of Distractions and get to work.