ISSUES

EDUCATION FOR A LIMITLESS FUTURE

 

Background:  Iowa has a long standing proud history of high quality public education. Our schools were once ranked as 1st in the nation; but under the current administration they have fallen to 20th and continue to fall further down the list. Over 80 years before Brown vs Board of Education, Iowa desegregated its schools because we recognized that every student regardless of race, gender, or zip code should have access to a strong, quality public education. Over the last four years, Iowa’s public education system has been drastically defunded. Iowa is ranked 40th in the nation for the increase in per pupil expenditures from 2014 to 2019 and the state’s per pupil funding is below the national average. This year, Governor Reynolds pushed for a voucher program which would take $55 million of public funds to be used for 10,000 students to go to private school. Our educators and support staff are being stretched thin, underpaid, and disrespected by leadership. Our education system is the bedrock of our communities and needs real investments so that we can provide pathways for all students to have a limitless future. 

 

Deidre on the issues

  • Iowa public schools should have an immediate infusion of $300 million from the budget surplus to drive innovation in 21st century learning and begin to reset the gross underfunding of our education system over the last 12 years.

  • We must fully fund our education system and ensure that our public schools are funded on pace with inflation every year.

  • Use a minimum 4% Supplemental State Aid (SSA) to address achievement gaps, keep up with increased operational expenses, address unpredictable enrollment numbers and allow competitive wage.

  • ​​Increase compensation for public school educators, administrators, and support professionals to retain and attract the talent we need to keep our schools operating.

  • Restore and enhance collective bargaining for all public employees, educators, and support staff.

  • Protect our existing public employee pension fund– IPERS.

  • Reinstate a loan forgiveness program for current and new educators who commit to stay and teach in the state of Iowa for five years.

  • Invest in increases in quality affordable childcare statewide, especially rural and low-income communities.

  • Ensure that Iowa is in compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, so that all students have access to a quality education that meets their individual needs.

  • Expand access to early childhood education with at least 30 hours per week of universal Pre-K for every 3 and 4 year old child.

  • Ensure that there are Mental Health Counselors and Social Workers in every school to address the mental health needs of students and staff.

  • Reinvest in trade programs (carpentry, electrical work, phlebotomy, cosmetology, etc.) in public schools to help prepare our students for careers of the future.