According to US News, there are currently 153,916 high school students in Iowa attending public high school. There’s a good reason for that, public high schools in Iowa have some of the highest graduation rates in the nation, and in a study by US News, Iowa ranked 18th in the nation, beating out the states. neighbors like Missouri, South Dakota and Kansas. . While Iowa ranks in the top 20 for public education, Iowa is ranked 39th for public education funding.
In February, Governor Reynolds signed a bill adding a 2.5% increase to Iowa’s current public education budget. Prior to passing this legislation, Democrats in the Iowa House had proposed funding for a 5% increase in funding for Iowa’s public education. This funding would be used to increase teacher salaries and ensure that public schools in Iowa are well-equipped and provide a stimulating learning environment. Instead, Reynolds stuck with the original bill, only increasing funding by 2.5%.
Almost a month later, the funding bill was passed; the Iowa Senate passed a bill to direct taxpayer dollars earmarked for public education to pay for Reynolds’ “Student First Scholarship Program.” This program awards scholarships to students who wish to attend private schools. The program plans to award up to 10,000 scholarships per year. He plans to contribute $55 million of taxpayers’ money to the scholarship program. In stark contrast, nearly two weeks after the Iowa Senate passed that funding bill, the Des Moines Public School Board approved $9.4 million in budget cuts to the budget of the next exercise. According to the Des Moines Public School Board, these cuts come from “decline in student enrollment and additional state funding that does not keep up with inflation.” The previous year, the Des Moines Public School Board approved $14 million in budget cuts.
Reynolds is renowned for her tough stance on public education and the regulation of public education. With several bills lying around the house requiring teachers to post their lesson plans and curriculum on a school’s website with easy access for parents, his tirade promoting private high schools did not go down well. doesn’t quite make sense. Public secondary education is regulated by the state, its curriculum passed down through the Iowa Department of Education, which decides what students learn. When it comes to private secondary schools, there is no level of control beyond what the administration believes students need to learn. There is no consistency across the state for their education standards, and no consistency for students who transfer and want to graduate on time. Promoting private education over a regulated curriculum in public education, the education system over which Reynolds exercises administrative control, makes no sense.
Public high schools in Iowa educate 153,916 students, and about the same number year after year. These budget cuts that individual school districts have to impose due to the lack of state funding and the loss of students are hurting the students who continue their education in these public schools. These budget cuts eliminate full-time teaching positions, full enrichment programs, and lower the salaries of first-grade teachers. The “Student First Scholarship Program” only encourages more losses in public high schools. Iowa needs public high schools. The 153,916 students who attend these public high schools don’t deserve to be ignored by the Iowan government. They deserve a nurturing and challenging education, and they deserve the best public education possible. Withdrawing resources, funding and students from these institutions does not solve the problem, it weakens our public school systems and undermines the work of a public school teacher. Iowa high schoolers deserve more than to be cast aside and forgotten. They deserve more than district budget cuts, and high school students in Iowa deserve adequate funding and attention from the state.