State Representative Dustin Hite was a guest on Iowa Public Television’s Iowa Press February 12, and the Student First Scholarship legislation that gives public money to private schools was discussed.  This bill has been passed by the Senate and is now being debated in the House. Representative Hite was asked why 34 school districts in Iowa are “failing” and his response was “They have difficult challenges with the population they serve, you know, just other reasons.”  Just other reasons? One would think that, as Chair of the House Education Committee, he would have better justification for the Republican’s scheme to divert funding from these public schools. 

His answer revealed a major weakness in their reasoning. Given that Republicans have had 100% control of Iowa’s public education system for several years, perhaps he could have explained why we have failing school districts under their leadership. Could it be because they have continually underfunded our schools? 

Then, in the February 17 Maquoketa Sentinel-Press, our own Senator Koelker was quoted, “We continue to throw money at a school that’s underperforming…that’s just throwing money away.” Throwing money at them? How does a callous statement like that help?  How will taking money from public schools and handing it over to private schools help? Or is it possible that Ms. Koelker has a conflict of interest as a Beckman Catholic High School booster club member?

Wake up Iowans, before your kids can’t get a decent public education! 

Bob Gertsen

Oxford Junction