(TotalConservative.com) – Iowa has become the third state to approve the use of public funds for private schooling, should the parents decide their needs are better met by a private institution. Early Tuesday, January 24th the Iowa state legislators passed their version of a school choice plan and Gov. Kim Renolds is expected to sign it into law.
“For the first time, we will fund students instead of a system,” Reynolds said in a statement. She continued expressing her wishes that Iowa students receive the best possible education and that parents will choose the values and lessons their kids learn instead of activist teachers.
“Parents want a voice, and they want a choice,” said Oliver Bardwell, an Iowa resident who gave a comment during an open meeting on the subject. He continued suggesting that the need for an education that aligns with the families’ values is very important.
Iowa Republicans have joined other conservatives around the nation to argue for school choice. They believe that all families have the right to choose where their kids will be educated, not just those with financial means. In Iowa, $7,600 of public funding will follow students to their private schools while $1,200 will still be sent to the district in which the student resides.
Democratic opposition is mainly concerned with the consistent pattern of defunding education over years, claiming this plan will ultimately cause small schools in rural areas to close altogether due to lack of funding. Almost half of Iowa’s 99 counties are without private education, suggesting the funding will exclusively benefit schools in higher population areas.
Iowa’s largely Republican legislature passed the bill without any help from state Democrats, joining West Virginia and Arizona in passing school choice laws. The laws are designed to allow families to choose to send their kids to private school while having a significant portion of the state’s funds for students follow them and help pay for their tuition at the private institution. Other states are considering similar policies including Utah, Virginia, Nebraska, and Florida.
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