Gov. Kim Reynolds is using books as the latest excuse to defund public schools.
Reynolds used Tuesday’s 2022 Condition of the State address to hitch her wagon to state Sen. Jake Chapman’s crusade against books he finds objectionable being placed in public schools.
Presiding over a joint session of the Iowa Legislature, Reynolds echoed talking points from the Republican Senate president who, a day prior, decried teachers as having a “sinister agenda.”
Reynolds compared the books to X-rated movies while not providing any context around them. She also argued that schools should be required to publish what they are teaching despite this information already being readily available on many school district websites.
“We live in a free country with free expression,” Reynolds said. “But there’s a difference between shouting vulgarities from a street corner and assigning them as required classroom reading. There’s a difference between late-night cable TV and the school library.”
Reynolds also used the book argument, which started in Texas and caught on in Iowa late last year, as a reason to push for school vouchers, a mechanism to use public funds to help pay for private education.
“I’ll be introducing legislation that allows middle- and low-income families and students with an individualized educational plan to receive a portion of the ‘per pupil’ funds allocated annually by the state to move their child to the education system of their choice,” Reynolds said.
According to Reynolds’ plan, 70% of those funds (around $5,300) will go directly to the families while the remainder would be distributed to smaller school districts.
To soften that blow, in an earlier part of her speech, Reynolds vowed to give teachers who taught during the pandemic and who will continue to teach next year a $1,000 bonus using federal COVID relief funds.
This section of the speech prompted a few responses on Twitter, including some from Iowa educators:
Parents out there supporting this “parent led learning”. Let me hear from you. Please list the books you deem acceptable for teachers to be using. Come on, let’s see your detailed weekly curriculum. Not just for your kid, but the entire class. Dying to know where you get off. https://t.co/XmQRxWrnTN
— Brooke Johnson (@bjohn20) January 12, 2022
So that "bonus" will be used by teachers to buy more essential supplies for their classrooms since she plans on giving more money to private schools
— Sarah (@SarahJArchie) January 12, 2022
I got $1000 from my district because I resigned early…..
— Sara McCue (@Mamacuerocks) January 12, 2022
— Brian Downing (@downing413) January 12, 2022
20+ year Iowa educator here. I 100% agree with Andrew.
— Jill Hofmockel (@jillhofmockel) January 12, 2022
by Ty Rushing