Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks to supporters during a campaign event for her re-election Friday, March 11, 2022, at the Kirkwood Hotel in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
You might have missed it, but Governor Kim Reynolds kicked off her fall re-election campaign at the Iowa Republican Party state convention Last weekend. She struck a positive tone in her assessment of Iowa’s public schools.
Yeah, she really didn’t. Not even close.
“Drag shows for young children, pornographic books in school libraries, elementary school lessons on pronouns. And, sadly, the list goes on.” Reynolds told the convention.
“This must stop. Ultimately, we’re going to make sure every parent has a choice in their child’s education,” Reynolds said.
Rather than presenting his plan to provide $55 million in public education funds for private education vouchers with all the educational merits, the governor once again described it as an escape hatch allowing children to flee porn-infested dens of iniquity. Transgender students are a threat. Books are a threat. Heck, the notion of a nation that is unafraid to face its history, that cherishes free speech and protects civil rights is a threat.
This must stop, says the governor.
A few days later, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Deidre DeJear stopped by Cedar Rapids on her Reynolds Report Card tour. She doesn’t think much of Reynolds’ good “school choice” plan, which would provide money to 10,000 students while taking money away from schools that serve 485,000.
“One hundred percent of our students need our governor’s full attention in order to improve their chances within the education system,” DeJear said, according to Tom Barton of The Gazette.
“Are we ready to fight for this common ground? DeJear said. “Being real? To talk about the real issues that the people of Iowa face, not the ones that people want to use to divide us like what bathroom someone goes to.
Republican Party of Iowa President Jeff Kaufmann offered his typical measured and nuanced response to DeJear’s report card tour.
“DeJear, who has been endorsed by tyrannical teachers’ unions, will never stand up for our state’s students or their parents. For DeJear, teachers’ unions are in control – not Iowans. That’s not the kind of education policy that Iowans want from their governor,” Kaufmann said in a statement likely transcribed from a megaphone.
Kaufmann praised Reynolds’ school record, including his use of executive orders taking local control of school districts during the pandemic, banning mask requirements and advocating for the rights of parents, including those who have touched on Q-Anon while by describing the mask rules as child abuse. He did not mention the 2.5% increase in public school funding, following record inflation, as the state sits on a big surplus and hands out tax cuts to the wealthiest. from Iowa.
That’s quite a public education record.
“Governor Reynolds is the only gubernatorial candidate who will stand up for freedom, the voice of parents, and who will fight for the safety of your family, your future, and your hard-earned paycheck,” Kaufmann sang.
You don’t buy their version of freedom? Your choice is to get lost.
How about a plan to improve public schools? No. It’s a lost cause. Full of lib indoctrination and litter boxes. And those tyrannical teachers’ unions.
Never mind that in 2017, the Republican legislature shredded the collective bargaining rights of public school teachers and staff in retaliation for union support for Democrats. The GOP has played down school funding increases since taking over the Statehouse. And, of course, the Republican president of the Iowa Senate says educators have a “sinister agenda” to harm children. The teachers’ ranks are riddled with groomers, socialists and porn dealers. We need to take already scarce resources out of public schools and put the money back into private schools, where no indoctrination happens, ever.
Many schools, rural and urban, are struggling. And we have a crisis-level teacher shortage. Clearly, the fault of tyrannical unions.
Whenever these problems arise, I think of my parents. Both were public school teachers. My mother taught kindergarten in the 50s and 60s in Iowa. My father taught science in a small rural school and eventually became a guidance counselor at my hometown high school. He has also coached and taught driver training for decades.
He used to tell me stories of the good old days before tyrannical teachers’ unions gained influence at the bargaining table. Before that, we had tyrannical administrators who could fire teachers for just about any reason they could imagine. We had school boards full of thrifty farmers who saw no reason to increase teachers. Good time.
This it was only in 1972 that the Iowa State Education Association won a court ruling barring districts from forcing pregnant teachers to quit. It was upheld by the Iowa Supreme Court in 1975. Collective bargaining took place in 1974.
My dad would leave for school early and would usually come home late, after basketball practice, track and field, or some other after-school chore. In the summer, he got up even earlier to teach driving in the morning and came home late after a game of softball on the road. He and my mom went above and beyond for the kids in need. It is impossible to list all the means.
It’s my first Father’s Day without my dad. His work makes me proud.
So when I hear Reynolds reduce all the hard work of educators to cruel soundbites, the sacrifices they make and the advocacy they pursue on behalf of students, it’s beyond exasperation. It’s outrageous and irresponsible at a time when some Americans think violence is “legitimate political speech.”
The governor should be ashamed. Of course, she is not. Not even close.
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