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Writer says state has no right to take money from public schools to support private schools

Writer says state has no right to take money from public schools to support private schools

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It appears that Rep. Holt and Sen. Schultz are checking the last three boxes of the right wing American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) agenda. It began in Wisconsin in 2011 and has now captured Iowa.

Rights given are not rights taken away. That’s true of the rights granted to both gun owners and women. It’s a contradiction to expand gun owner’s Second Amendment freedoms but then restrict women’s reproductive freedoms. I urge Iowa citizens to reject these unnecessary constitutional amendments when these referenda are on the ballot.

Public schools have been the bedrock of American education since the common schools of the 19th century. Education historian Diane Ravitch writes, however, of current “persistent, orchestrated attacks on the principle of public responsibility for public education.” Parents have a right to choose private schools but the state has no right to drain money from public schools in order to support private schools with the proposed education savings accounts. These vouchers will result in segregating schools on the basis of race, poverty and disabilities; sidestepping Iowa Core education standards; and avoiding accountability to Iowa taxpayers. Ravitch maintains that there is no conclusive evidence that vouchers affect student achievement. Instead of creating competition between our public and private schools, I would recommend that our legislators spend state dollars to raise all public school funding to the level enjoyed by such public school systems as West Des Moines and Waukee.

And by the way, revisiting the first box our legislators checked on their right wing agenda in 2013, I want our teacher collective bargaining rights restored! Rights given are not rights taken away.

Larry Peterson, Denison

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