Iowa schools may never recover from 2023 legislative session
Two Republican trifectas, 50 years apart, reshaped Iowa's K-12 schools. But whereas the legislature and Governor Robert Ray put public education on a more equitable, better funded path during the early 1970s, this year's legislative session left public schools underfunded and unable to meet the needs of many marginalized students.
Governor Kim Reynolds capped a devastating year for Iowa's schools on May 26, when she signed seven education-related bills, including two that will impose many new restrictions while lowering standards for educators and curriculum.
...The governor claimed Iowa's new education landscape "puts parents in the driver's seat." But the majority of parents won't benefit from the new laws.
...More than 90 percent of Iowa students attend public schools. Even if all of their parents wanted to switch to a private school, there would not be enough openings—especially for students with disabilities or those who need individualized education plans. Dozens of Iowa counties don't contain a single private school, making education savings accounts useless for most residents, unless they want to select a 100 percent virtual option.
...In addition, many private schools have jacked up tuition since Reynolds signed the voucher bill. So private school will remain unattainable for many low-income families who may genuinely need state assistance. The majority of the education savings account money would need to be spent on tuition, leaving little left over for other qualifying expenses like textbooks or tutoring. (Families must foot the whole bill for transportation to and from school, which is not a qualifying expense.)
...Advocates for LGBTQ Iowans condemned the new laws in statements published in full below. One Iowa's executive director Courtney Reyes said of Senate File 496, "Like many other centerpieces of the Governor’s agenda, this legislation will harm an already vulnerable group of children and will benefit no one..."
Read the full article here.