I’m happy to have The FAMiLY Leader join me in opposing Governor Terry Branstad’s education bill even though Branstad’s chief of staff won’t take them seriously.  I felt as though I have been a “lone voice in the wilderness” in the Iowa media scene anyway.  I’ve been speaking out against his education agenda ever since he was sworn into office.  Today I received a phone call from a reporter with The Des Moines Register who wanted to talk about local control in education.

This is a great development because much of the emphasis has been on individual aspects of the bill.  As a result we’re missing the forest through the trees.  The big picture here is that local school boards will lose up any semblance of control and parents will then have lost what precious little influence they have.

If you are unhappy with something your school is doing you can talk to the school board.  If they don’t listen to you then you can work to get them voted out or even run against them yourself.  It’s harder to provide accountability and exert influence over a bureaucrat in a Department that, in my opinion, has way too much power and makes decisions that should be made by the Legislature…

But that is an entirely different post.  Back to The FAMiLY Leader… I’m sure this new interest has to do with a presser they sent out today announcing they are registering against the bill.

Pleasant Hill, IOWA. – The FAMiLY LEADER applauds Governor Branstad for focusing on Iowa’s education system and agrees that the dramatic decline from our former status as “first in the nation” is not acceptable.  However, The FAMiLY LEADER believes the Governor’s proposed Education Reform Bill does not further the restoration of local control to schools and communities, nor does it offer parents enough opportunities to choose which form of education is best for their child.

Even though we join the Governor in calling for education reform, we, along with other like-minded organizations (Professional Educators of Iowa, Iowa Association of Christian Schools, and Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition), are registered “against” his proposed bill for either the House or Senate version.

Chuck Hurley, Vice-President of The FAMiLY LEADER, commented, “Politicians and bureaucrats are not the best ones qualified to dictate mandates and regulations on local school districts.  Citizens hire capable superintendents and elect qualified school board members who are accountable to the community.  This bill includes too much state involvement, too much regulation, and limited choices for parents.  As a result, the vital roles of both communities and parents in education are being minimized.”

In regard to HF 2380 and SF 2284, The FAMiLY LEADER opposes the increased funding needed to implement the current bill, the Core Curriculum and any form of its expansion, the job posting requirements for non-public schools, the charter school language found in the bill, and the centralization of education at the state level.  The FAMiLY LEADER agrees with the Governor’s support of online learning.

Bob Vander Plaats, President & CEO of The FAMiLY LEADER says, “Let’s get back to what made Iowa education great in the first place.  Let’s get the government bureaucracies out of the way and encourage parents, local school districts, and the communities they represent to lead the way.  Let’s set high expectations for all of our children, allow great teachers to teach, and create an environment that elevates best practices.”

So I’m giving props to Bob Vander Plaats and company… this will hopefully draw some attention to aspects of the bill that have largely been ignored.

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