What Is The Iowa GOP Long Game For Our Public Schools?

If Iowa’s public schools are so bad, what is the Republican Trifecta in Des Moines doing to improve them?

If more Iowans knew what Republicans are really up to, they would not agree with their big plans. After Iowa Republicans successfully suppressed enough of the vote to win more than they should have in the mid-terms, they appear to be full steam ahead on a mission to dismantle public education in favor of private schools.

Do Iowans realize what is happening?  No but they soon will.

Crazily, the Republicans justify this hand-out to  parents so their kids can go to private scho0l, by saying it’s because our public schools are failing.  Never mind that they are the ones that have caused said failure. They have been in charge of all three branches of state government and it is their party that has underfunded public schools year after year. 

Now that our public schools are showing the results of Republicans’ intentional lack of support/sabotage, they blame the schools and say they have no choice but to spend taxpayer money sending some of Iowa’s kids to private schools.  Oh and if you’re not persuaded what they’re doing is good for Iowa,  they have a nifty slogan that fits on a bumper sticker: “students not systems” or something along that line.

Here’s the story in the Iowa Capitol Dispatch.

House Republicans form new ‘education reform’ committee

by Robin Opsahl, Iowa Capital Dispatch
November 16, 2022

The Iowa House of Representatives will have a new committee for the upcoming session to take up bills on major changes to the state education system.

House Speaker Pat Grassley speaks to press Feb. 16, 2022 following the passage of the 2022 House tax proposal. (Photo by Katie Akin/Iowa Capital Dispatch)

House Speaker Pat Grassley will chair the new Education Reform Committee for the 2023 session, according to a news release. Rep. Skyler Wheeler, R-Hull, will head the existing Education Committee.

The new five-person committee is meant to take up any legislation which contains “significant reforms to our educational system,” according to the news release. The formation comes after Gov. Kim Reynolds made changes to the state public school system a major part of her reelection campaign platform, advocating for a private school voucher system.

The governor’s proposal to provide 10,000 taxpayer-funded scholarships to private schools failed in the House during this year’s legislative session, with insufficient Republican support. But in the election, Republicans expanded their numbers in the House. In addition, some GOP candidates won in primary races where Reynolds backed challengers over Republican incumbents who opposed the private school scholarship program.

Grassley said in a news release that the new Republican majority will “deliver results” for Iowa.

“We are in a better position than ever to listen to Iowans and deliver on their priorities in this upcoming session,” Grassley said.

Grassley did not specify what proposals the new committee will address. “The House Republican caucus plans to consider a broad set of education reforms this session,” Grassley said in a statement, according to the Cedar Rapids Gazette. “This new committee will allow these important issues to be put in front of the entire caucus for the in-depth discussions they deserve.”

House Democrats, who have been the minority party since 2011, released a statement Wednesday saying Iowans “believe that public money is for public schools.”

“Iowans don’t care if a new committee in the Iowa Legislature is created to consider the Governor’s voucher plan or other bad ideas like jailing teachers and banning books because it’s just all politics,” House Democratic Leader Jennifer Konfrst said in the news release. “House Democrats stand alongside Iowans and will oppose any bill that shifts money from public schools to private schools.”

The 2023 legislative session begins Jan. 9.

Iowa Capital Dispatch is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Iowa Capital Dispatch maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Kathie Obradovich for questions: info@iowacapitaldispatch.com. Follow Iowa Capital Dispatch on Facebook and Twitter.

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