Fresh from my inbox an email from the Governor Branstad Committee:
Gov. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds want to hear from you! They embark on a new round of education town halls this week, and they will be gathering ideas and input on how we can make Iowa schools the best in the country again.
Their schedule is as follows. The public is welcome and there is no charge to attend.
Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2012
Gov. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Reynolds hold Pocahontas County Education Reform Town Hall
Pocahontas High School – Vocal Music Room
205 Second Ave. NW, Pocahontas, IA
Gov. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Reynolds hold Kossuth County Education Reform Town Hall
Algona High School – Theatre
600 S. Hale, Algona, IA
Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2012
Gov. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Reynolds hold Hancock County Education Reform Town Hall
Garner-Hayfield High School – Auditorium
605 Lyon St., Garner, IA
Gov. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Reynolds hold Wright County Education Reform Town Hall
Belmond-Klemme Junior-Senior High School – Luick Auditorium
411 10th Ave. NE, Belmond, IA
Gov. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Reynolds hold Humboldt County Education Reform Town Hall
Humboldt High School – Auditorium
1500 Wildcat Rd., Humboldt, IA
Gov. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Reynolds hold Hamilton County Education Reform Town Hall
400 Second St., Webster City, IA
Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012
Gov. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Reynolds hold Cedar County Education Reform Town Hall
Tipton Middle School – Gymnasium
725 West 7th St., Tipton, IA
Friday, Aug. 24, 2012
Gov. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Reynolds hold Jones County Education Reform Town Hall
Lawrence Community Center
600 E. Main St., Anamosa, IA
Gov. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Reynolds hold Jackson County Education Reform Town Hall
Maquoketa High School – Gymnasium
600 Washington St., Maquoketa, IA
Gov. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Reynolds hold Delaware County Education Reform Town Hall
West Delaware High School – Auditorium
605 New St., Manchester, IA
If you live in those areas or within reasonable driving distance I encourage you to go. Here are some ideas you can suggest. How about the novel idea of actually respecting local control. If Governor Branstad wants your ideas and truly thinks they should be considered then he shouldn’t mind this brainstorming and ingenuity happening at the district level. The second thing I hope you would bring up is laying off any and all state mandates for private schools whether they’re accredited or not. These schools out perform public schools so why should the state be meddling, especially since they don’t receive any public funds? The third thing you can suggest is to implement real school choice, and that doesn’t mean just charter schools and online education.
Governor Branstad told the group assembled for the Milton Freidman breakfast hosted by the Iowa chapter of Americans for Prosperity that he was against the idea of school vouchers. Makes one wonder why he attended since that is what Freidman advocated and what the breakfast was about, but I digress. First off those in poverty must be given a real choice. I support vouchers without strings attached. If the state tries to force their standards and practices upon a private school it defeats the purpose of giving that choice. These schools excel without government interference so they should be left alone. The only thing the state will do is frankly lower their standards.
At the very least the Branstad administration should be behind increased tax credits for donations to school tuition organizations who provide scholarships to kids in need. Also increased tax credits and deductions for private school tuition for those families who do pay. Also ask him why the state of Iowa doesn’t allow a tax deduction for homeschooling parents for curriculum and supplies when they do that for public school teachers who buy supplies. That is the least they can do for homeschooling families who arguably sacrifice the most for their kids education by giving up income that could be made by one of the parents and still paying for public education through property taxes and state taxes.