I Am So Confused About Iowa’s Schools

(1 minute)

Once again news reporting in the state has muddied up the waters so that what can easily be calculated as an actual cut to school funding in this state is reported to be an increase – well, sort of an increase, maybe – that is if you don’t count the money the legislature is taking away to give to private businesses – er “schools” – that won’t go to public schools.

Remember how Republicans were all in a tizzy about inflation last fall – remember? Suddenly when we talk about school funding the scourge of inflation disappears as Republicans try to claim that 3% is an excellent raise in school funding.

And if the funding isn’t enough to confuse people where Iowa stands on their schools, there is the attacks on school libraries, removal of books from library shelves and the attacks on teaching of American history with all the warts not to mention the attacks on those with gender issues.

I often times wonder if school teachers look at some of the shenanigans of Republicans in the legislature and wonder if they, their teachers, had in anything to do with the legislators convoluted thinking?

How does the thinking go on school funding go in Republican minds –

“Let’s see – gotta do some ciphering – If we raise funding 3% and inflation is 8% and we give 5% to private businesses out of the public school funding, then that is a plus (+) 3%” (sarcasm in case you didn’t recognize it)

Iowastartingline explains this much better than I can:    

“We’re aware of the situation within our public schools. Our public schools are great and we want to support them in every way we can,” said Sen. Tim Kraayenbrink (R-Fort Dodge). “But at the same time, we want to make sure that we’re continuing our conservative spending principles that we’ve been pretty much locked into the last six or seven years.”


There wasn’t much discussion on the bill other than Democratic committee members saying even 3% wasn’t an adequate number to fund schools, especially to help them keep up with inflation and enrollment changes.

“Over the last six years, inflation cumulatively has been 23.1% but the increase in the state cost per pupil has only been 11.9%. So we’re more than 11% behind inflation over the last six years. 3% doesn’t fix the problem,” said Sen. Herman Quirmbach (D-Ames).

He said the per-pupil amount is $742 behind where it should be if inflation was accounted for, but that it paled to the amount the state is behind for students with special needs.

“For the highest level need we’re not $742 behind this year, we’re $2,775 behind for those special needs kids,” Quirmbach said. “And those are the kids the vouchers won’t help because those are the kids that the prep schools won’t take.”

Democratic members pointed out the state does have the money to allocate more to public schools because of the recently passed school voucher program which would make every public school student eligible to receive $7,598 from the state in order to enroll in private schools.”

Note in that first paragraph that Republicans are much more concerned about not spending money than making sure Iowa students get a good education. That could be because of the ridiculous tax cuts for the wealthy and the cuts in property taxes they passed. Property tax cuts are a whole different issue as the legislature chokes Iowa’s cities, counties and towns.

As sort of referenced in the short clip above, the Iowa legislature is going the way that conservative governing bodies often go – making it illegal to talk about things the legislature thinks make them uncomfortable. So now we are seeing a whitewashed (literally) American history, the outlawing of books that talk about subjects in a more frank and graphic way.

The way things are going I suspect before this session ends there will be some Republican who will want to outlaw discussion of irrational numbers or the possibility of other forms of life in the universe. 

Someday students will figure out how their education was screwed up by this meddling and they won’t be happy. When they find out, these students of today will condemn Iowa’s schools for not telling them the truth. It always happens. Better to be truthful than to sell your belief system in a stealth attack.

And don’t think Republicans in the Iowa legislature is doing this out of some sort of sense of mission to save your children. They are simply a cog in a national Republican agenda to dismantle public schooling in this country and to try to control what is taught rather than allow public schools to seek and teach the truth.  The truth has never been a friend of oligarchs and autocrats.

While I am not a big fan of the Republicans plans to privatize Iowa’s school systems, I will say it does one thing that may be good in a strange way. It gets the Iowa legislature, in all its glorious ignorance, out of their meddling with schools. 

Two Tweets from Jeff Tiedrich on the subject of Republicans and Schools:

in Russia it’s a crime to teach ‘uncomfortable’ subjects. in Republican states it’s a crime to teach ‘uncomfortable’ subjects. any questions

Teachers in Nazi Germany hid books to avoid being arrested. teachers in Republican Florida are hiding books to avoid being arrested. any questions

About Dave Bradley

retired in West Liberty
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