Holt: Realities of Public Education | The Iowa Torch
We are wrapping up week two of the 2022 legislative session. Week one was about hearing from our leaders about the state of our state, our justice system, and our National Guard. During the second week, we got to work, as committee work began, and we began to review the Governor’s proposals for the legislative session. In this week’s edition of Freedom Watch, I will discuss his education proposals and the pressing need for change in our education system in more detail.
In Governor Reynolds’ speech on the condition of the state, she spoke of hearing parents’ calls for more transparency in education. During the COVID pandemic, parents were able to see in real time what was being taught in classrooms and for many this raised concerns and questions. Parents have made these concerns clear to Democrats, Republicans, school board members, superintendents, principals and teachers. Together with Governor Reynolds, House Republicans will work to find solutions that support parents and students while addressing the concerns of our educators.
Governor Reynold’s education proposals include:
- Require public schools to post their classroom materials on school and/or district websites where parents and families can view them. Required information includes course syllabi or written summaries, state academic standards, and titles or links to textbooks used for courses.
- Require public schools to publish a complete list of books available in their libraries and provide information on the process for filing a complaint about a book. If the issue is not resolved by the school district within 30 days, an appeal may be made directly to the State Board of Education.
- To ensure compliance, the Governor’s proposals include suspending state funding to schools that do not comply with these requirements.
Throughout the 2021 legislative session and continuing to present, Iowans voiced concerns about divisive concepts being taught as fact, using principles of Marxist-inspired critical race theory. House Republicans took the lead and passed legislation preventing the teaching of these concepts in schools absent a broader discussion with opposing viewpoints. As the 2022 legislative session begins, House Republicans have heard of questionable topics being taught, as well as materials and books being used in schools, with parents feeling they have little knowledge or control over what their children are exposed to. Parents are reasonably asking for more transparency, and Republicans intend to do our best to give it to them..
I believe the vast majority of our public schools and educators are doing an amazing job. Let’s face reality; in many cases they must take on roles and responsibilities once left to parents, but with the disintegration of the family unit that has occurred in our state and nation, some parents simply do not fulfill those responsibilities, forcing schools to take over. There is a profound disrespect for authority that pervades our culture and our classrooms, and the lack of discipline and work ethic among some of our young people today, compounded by the lack of parents, has created incredible challenges in our classrooms. We are truly fortunate to have educators willing to accept these challenges, fighting incredible odds to try and make a positive difference in the lives of young people. They deserve our respect and recognition.
Unfortunately, there are some school districts and educators who don’t understand their role, ignore parents, and seek to indoctrinate their students with their own ideology. The Ames Community School District was not looking to educate during its Black Lives Matter week of action last year; they sought to indoctrinate their students with Marxist ideology that scapegoated entire groups of people, while incorporating LGBT ideology into their curriculum. Incredibly, elementary school children, in some cases, were told that they could decide to be male, female, both, or something else. We have heard from hundreds of parents and educators stunned and upset by this indoctrination, with a large amount of undeniable evidence provided. A similar indoctrination has also occurred in a few other districts in our state; it’s why we held House government oversight hearings, it’s why we passed several laws in response, and it’s why we will continue to take the necessary steps to stop it.
Recent incidents in some public school districts that have exposed parents to ongoing indoctrination, as well as other unrelated incidents in which some educators have not been held accountable for wrongdoing, have revealed the need to revamp our board of educational examiners in the department of Iowa. education. Unfortunately, this Commission has shown that, in its current structure, it is unable or unwilling to fulfill its role of making the system accountable and controlling its own. I appreciate that the House Education Committee is working to address this issue.
It is unfortunate that the vast majority of our public schools that do it well, especially in our rural areas, will face the consequences of those school districts that do it poorly. The need for those who do it well to have an intense conversation with those who do it poorly is obvious; for ultimately all will face the changes required by those who choose to forget that they are public schools accountable to the parents and children they serve.
We deeply appreciate those many educators and school districts who work hard to meet the needs of their students. We appreciate their dedication as more and more obligations are imposed on them due to what is happening in our society and in our families. We applaud their efforts to address mental health and addiction issues as they do everything in their power to be there for their students. We will listen to their voices, as we also take the necessary steps to ensure that the voices of parents are heard and that the values of our state and our nation are upheld.