Protecting American History in Iowa Classrooms

This article was published in the Des Moines Register. American history is under attack. A bill in Iowa would restore civics education. For decades a crisis has existed in schools across the nation. Survey after survey demonstrates that students are not receiving an adequate education in American History, American Government, or Western Civilization. The decline in civic education and the […]

What Is a Revenue Purpose Statement?

Voters should pay close attention to why a district wants a Revenue Purpose Statement (RPS) and what it intends to do with the proceeds. Details A Revenue Purpose Statement (RPS) is a ballot measure describing how a school district will spend sales tax funds the State of Iowa has dedicated to public schools through a program called Secure an Advanced Vision for Education […]

Iowa’s First Year of ESAs and Where They Are Going

Over 18,500 students in 96 counties have been approved and are taking advantage of Iowa’s “Student First” ESA program. Iowa’s lawmakers enacted the Students First Act in late-January 2023, creating universal education savings accounts (ESAs) for Iowa students. Funded with the state’s share of per pupil spending, which is currently $7,635, the ESAs will soon be available to every student […]

Iowa Education Reforms Point to What’s Next

By delivering truly universal school choice, a child’s educational opportunity will no longer be blocked because of their zip code or socioeconomic status. This legislation is not about dollars, but about creating life-changing opportunities for families across Iowa. In January, the Iowa legislature passed the Students First Act, which creates a universal Education Savings Account (ESA) program.  The Students First […]

Iowa Passes Students First Act

The Students First Act is a victory for families across Iowa. Last fall when ITR Foundation wondered aloud what might happen with education in 2023, we were optimistic that it could be something big.  After all, Governor Kim Reynolds had just won re-election by nearly 20 points after making school choice the focal point of her campaign.  The Senate had […]

Iowa Rising: Governor Kim Reynolds Continues to Champion Conservative Policies

Governor Kim Reynolds, after winning reelection in a landslide, delivered her sixth Condition of the State address where she continued to outline a conservative policy agenda. Governor Reynolds has led the state through natural disasters, the COVID pandemic, and through our current uncertain national economy. Since assuming office, Governor Reynolds has been a champion of conservative policies that place the taxpayer first and protect and defend traditional values. As a result, Iowa’s economy is strong, the tax code is more competitive, and as Governor Reynolds stated the state is “a beacon for freedom and opportunity.”

Five Surprising Facts About Microschooling

The microschools that have sprouted in recent years, and the new ones that are now appearing, span a wide variety of educational philosophies and approaches, from structured “classical” models to unstructured “unschooling” models, and everything in between. Iowa lawmakers are poised to debate additional school choice legislation this year. If passed, parents will be given even more flexibility on how state […]

What’s On Tap for School Choice?

School choice can take many shapes and sizes.  We will all soon find out exactly what Governor Reynolds and the legislature have in mind for Iowa.  When Iowa House Republicans released committee assignments for the 2023 legislative session, one new committee stood out above the rest: the Education Reform Committee.  Speaker Pat Grassley will chair the committee that he explained will […]

Reviving Civic Education in Iowa

If anything good has come out of the COVID-19 pandemic it is the growing awareness by parents across the nation about what is being taught in schools. This is especially true concerning civic education. For decades a crisis has existed over the decline of civic education. Numerous surveys and studies have shown that at all grade levels, including higher education, students do not have an adequate understanding of American history, American government, or Western civilization. Reform is needed to strengthen civic education in Iowa schools and the National Association of Scholars has issued social studies standards—a guide for curriculum in each classroom—that will help improve civic education in Iowa. American Birthright: The Civic Alliances Model K-12 Social Studies Standards is guide to help improve standards in civic education.

Rural Schools Stand to Benefit from School Choice

Rural citizens and legislators are concerned that school choice would take critical funding away from their local schools. ITR Foundation Deputy Director Walt Rogers sat down with Need to Know host Jeff Angelo to debunk this myth and explain how school choice would improve education quality through the competition. The discussion starts at the 9:25 minute mark.

The School Choice Questions We Should Be Asking

The education establishment has done an amazing job of creating the perfect “Emperor’s New Clothes” scenario when arguing against school choice.  We’ll remind you of the classic Hans Christian Andersen tale that raises questions about believing our own two eyes or buying into a pretense that is being sold to us.  In the story, the emperor is fond of clothes […]

A Common Sense Approach To School Choice

Let us take a step back from all the numbers, charts, and research on the issue of school choice.  If we’re honest, most of us only believe the data that fits with our narrative anyway.  Instead, we can discuss a couple of arguments that opponents of school choice trot out and apply some basic common sense to both of them.

Time for Greater Accountability in Education

Parents across Iowa are demanding greater accountability from public schools. The COVID-19 pandemic, along with current social and political movements, has raised significant concerns from parents about what is happening in K-12 classrooms across the state. Parents want greater visibility into what their children are learning and what types of books and other resources are utilized in school. Whether it is radical 1619 Project curriculum or controversial books that use vulgar words and portray explicit and pornographic content, curriculum concerns are driving this demand for more transparency and accountability. Requiring public schools to be fully transparent about classroom curriculum, available books and other resources within schools is a commonsense and much-needed reform.

ESAs Still Needed in Iowa

This week is National School Choice week, which brings awareness to the importance of empowering parents to choose the best educational path for their children.  To most parents, it is obvious that they should be in control of their child’s education.  The problem is, in the collective mind of the education establishment, that is not so obvious. Remote learning caused […]

Disappointment for the Tax and Spend Crowd

Nothing from the local elections here in Iowa, nor races across the country, will have changed the perception that this political environment is toxic for those who want to push a tax and spend agenda.   Tuesday’s elections in Iowa and across the country are now in the books.  Iowa voters went to the polls to elect candidates to school […]

Parents Look to Take Back Local Schools

Parents are fed up with mask and vaccine mandates, gender and race issues in our local schools.  Citizens across Iowa are stepping up and running for their local school boards to take them back. Recently, TEF Iowa Deputy Director Walt Rogers spoke with Jeff Angelo on how these frustrations have sparked a movement to get involved in local schools.

Iowa Needs School Choice

Mask mandates are the latest controversy in a series of events that has parents up in arms over what is best for their children. Recently, TEF Iowa Deputy Director Walt Rogers spoke with Jeff Angelo on what is going on in our public schools and how school choice is the solution for families to choose the education and environment best […]

Time to End the Tug-of-War in Education

This past Monday, U.S. District Court Judge Robert Pratt issued a temporary restraining order stopping the enforcement of the mask mandate ban that the Iowa Legislature passed, and Governor Kim Reynolds signed into law.  This ruling sent Iowa parents into a quandary, wondering what to do next, finding their children are again being used in a cruel game of tug of […]