Why Should Iowa Support School Choice?
School Choice means creating programs that empower PARENTS to choose the K-12 educational options best suited for their children. These services include public school, private school, charter schools, home school or any other learning environment a parent chooses for their child(ren). School choice empowers parents to act in the best interest of their child’s educational future without the limitations of income or zip code.
Click to enlarge resources:
Wahlert Catholic High School Science Teacher
February 2021 Telegraph Herald Letter to the Editor
School choice an issue of social justice
"There have been many voices, shouting loudly, about how the Student First Scholarship proposal will negatively impact public education, however, voices for students have been strangely quiet. As a science teacher, I feel it is critical to look at the evidence, setting aside our biases and prejudices, until we have information from all angles.
"Those that oppose SF 159 have been very vocal and I want to bring a voice to students/parents in need. As a former Milwaukee School Choice teacher, I have seen firsthand the impact that school choice can have on parents and students. Students that benefit the most are those of lower socioeconomic status making this, in my mind, a social justice issue. Parents with means can send their children to any school they wish, however, parents that struggle to get by do not have that option. They must send their children to the school in their district, but what if that school does not fit their child or child’s needs? Why do these parents not have a choice?
"If we truly wish to give every student “their best chance at life”, they should have a say where they attend school. Consider reviewing the Institute of Justice’s report on the impacts of school choice and reviewing the research before judging what impact SF 159 might have on the education system in Iowa. Or reach out to those that have lived the impact and ask them to tell their story. This is about choice, not force."
How can you help? Take Action!
Stay tuned for School Choice Action Alerts, petitions and other opportunities to share your voice.
Recent School Choice Communications:
The Iowa Senate has passed Senate File 2369 and sent it to the House. The bill includes Students First scholarships (Education Savings Accounts) to help some parents afford tuition to a nonpublic school and the "Parents' Bill of Rights." Now’s a good time to contact your member of the Iowa House in support of the scholarships.
It would allow public school students (including all incoming kindergarteners from Catholic preschools) with a family income of less than 400% of the federal poverty level to apply. Public school students with an individualized education plan would also be eligible. There would be a limit of 10,000 scholarships statewide at about $5,400 per child.
Every child that switches from the public school to the nonpublic school saves the state money because the scholarships are only 70% of the average state per pupil aid.
The governor’s plan limits state spending on Students First/ESAs to about $54 million ($5,400 x 10,000 scholarships). You can compare that to the $6 billion spent annually on K-12 education from state aid, property taxes and federal dollars.
Please visit https://www.votervoice.net/ICC/campaigns/93662/respond and rewrite the sample message in your own words from your own experience and keep your comments positive. If you have a preschool student in a Catholic school, make sure you mention that.
The bills typically would provide about $5,400 per child. House File 2223 would provide "Hope Scholarship" Education Savings Accounts in 2023 to current freshmen and sophomores in Catholic and other nonpublic schools as well as all public school students who wish to move to a nonpublic school. The program would expand in future years to help all students.
The governor's Students First bill, SSB 3080, was passed by a Senate subcommittee last week.
Messages to legislators are most impactful when you rewrite the sample message in your own words from your own experience and share your own positive comments.
Links may lead to another organization’s website or a PDF file. These resources are for informational purposes only and do not constitute an endorsement by Holy Family Catholic Schools.
- 12 Myths and Realities about Private Educational Choice Programs
- Iowa Alliance for Choice in Education
- Iowa Catholic Conference – The Public Policy Voice of the Bishops of Iowa.