To the Editor:
I am a lifelong Democrat; a single-issue voter and I fully support Governor Reynolds’ proposal to expand student choice for schools.
As a single-issue voter, I vote for candidates that support fully funding quality education. I have no preference for whether quality education is from a public school, a private school, online or homeschooling. Our children deserve a quality education regardless of zip code.
As the former chairperson of the Iowa Senate Education Committee from 1983-1985, I wrote the original open enrollment law in Iowa. Minnesota and Iowa were the first two states to legalize open enrollment for public school students. I always felt that schools get better when they compete with one another, the same as athletic teams get better when they compete.
Senate Study Bill 1022 is a comprehensive expansion in providing parents and students additional choices on where to attend school. Iowa is fortunate with the number of quality public and private schools that already exist. SSB 1022 provides a specific list of the appropriate uses of the revenue provided to schools. It also provides a specific list of restrictive uses of the revenue.
SSB 1022 provides flexibility to public schools on how they may use previously dedicated revenue for minimum teacher salaries, staff development, and gifted and talented programs. Excess revenue in these categories may now be used in the general fund. Each pupil participating in the education savings account is required to take all applicable state and federal required student assessments.
The results of those assessments shall be provided to the pupil’s parents and reported to the Department of Education.
My hope is that the Iowa Legislature acts on SSB 1022 in a timely fashion and that rules and regulations are written so schools may start making plans on staffing, curriculum and special education programs.
Joseph E. Brown, Sr.
Clinton (Principal, Prince of Peace Catholic School, Clinton)