As a parent with children at Trinity Lutheran School, I’ve kept an eye on the school choice issue during the 2017 Iowa legislative session. I was excited to see interest in and conversation about the topic, including potentially implementing Education Savings Accounts (ESA). But it was disheartening to see budget cuts overwhelm this great opportunity to advance education in our state.
I am a firm believer that parents know what’s best for their children. That is why I strongly support expanding school choice in Iowa. School choice allows parents to choose the educational setting, whether it is public, private, or home-school, that will best meet their child’s unique learning needs.
Since its establishment, the School Tuition Organization (STO) tax credit program has effectively helped families in the Quad-Cities and across the state access educational environments for their children they may not otherwise have been able to. Creating a statewide ESA program is yet another way Iowa can provide all of its families the ability to have greater say in where and how their child is schooled.
We pride ourselves on family values and world-class education in Iowa: this issue is a natural fit for our state. Thousands are paying close attention to this debate, including many parents of children whose needs are not best met in a traditional public school setting.
Although school choice was unable to advance during the 2017 session, we hope the 2018 legislative session prioritizes this important issue.