Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) scored a major legislative victory, ushering into law one of the nation’s most sweeping school choice plans. Reynolds spoke with Faithwire and explained why she’s passionate about bringing school choice to the students and families in her state. “I believe parents should be able to decide what is the best environment for their child to be everything that they can be,” she said, explaining why so many parents have become more active in their children’s education. “COVID really put a fine point on that, because it gave parents a front-row seat to what was happening in their child’s classroom. And a lot of them didn’t like what they were seeing.” Reynolds made education reform a top administrative priority, championing the new law allowing parents to use public funding to send their children to private schools if they so choose.
She believes her plan will make a significant difference in the lives of parents, kids, and families. “The bottom line is all parents, not just a few, should have the opportunity to choose and have that choice, whether it’s faith-based, or academic, or whatever that may be,” Reynolds said. “That parent, as long as it’s in an accredited private school, should have the opportunity to make that choice.” The plan, which the governor said is the “most aggressive” in the U.S., will become universal over the next three years. Each student will be entitled to around $7,600 per year, which will be available in an educational savings account. The sum is based on the cost of public school per pupil. Reynolds responded to critiques from union leaders like Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, who likened this plan to “schemes to funnel taxpayers’ money to the wealthy few.” Some warn the plan could damage public education.
The governor dismissed such claims, stating the pushback is centred on worries the law threatens teachers’ unions’ existence. “And how ridiculous this is? The same individual that fought and fought and fought to keep our kids out of the classroom as late as the summer of 2021, they were still advocating for kids not to be in the classroom,” she said, speaking of Weingarten. “I can’t think of a person that’s done more for school choice than Randy Weingarten and the crazy things that she’s done. She’s like our biggest advocate.” Reynolds said Weingarten has “mobilized parents across the country” due to her handling of the “woke agenda, the indoctrination, the sex education that they’re bringing into the school system.” Ultimately, she believes Americans are intensely frustrated with the status quo in education — as well as the infusion of the aforementioned subject matter.
“Parents have had it. They want a quality education for their children,” Reynolds said. “They want them to learn the basics, and then they will take care of the parenting at home.” The governor decried “the woke agenda, the indoctrination, the sex education” that she said is coming into public schools. Reynolds believes her plan will force some schools to potentially think twice about what’s making its way into classrooms. “I believe this will elevate all of education,” she said of the new law. Parental rights extend beyond education, with Reynolds looking to push other measures cementing parents’ rights over their children. “They’re going to have to rethink how, and what, they’re educating our children with,” she said. “So, ultimately, this will be the biggest driver in impacting what our public schools are teaching.”
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