State Senator Tod Bowman of Maquoketa has outlined bipartisan opportunities to improve Iowa education in a letter to Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds. Bowman, the only active teacher in the Iowa Senate, offered education proposals that would benefit Iowa students and help strengthen Iowa’s economy.
“Improving education is essential to Iowa’s economic growth. Businesses in our state consistently report that Iowa’s shortage of skilled workers holds our economy back,” Bowman said. “In order to build the high skill, high wage economy we need, we must invest in our students, our teachers, and our schools.”
By focusing preschool, early literacy, and local school funding, Bowman’s letter lays the groundwork for giving Iowa students the best start possible.
“Improving education is not a partisan issue,” said Bowman. “The students in our local schools are not Democrats or Republicans. They are Iowa’s future workers, innovators, business owners, and community leaders.”
Bowman’s specific suggestions in the letter to Governor Reynolds include:
- Eliminating waiting lists for preschool and ensuring quality early learning environments are available for every child.
- Investing in Iowa schools to ensure student success.
- Ensuring transportation equity in all of Iowa’s schools, including those in rural communities and those with higher than average transportation costs.
- Making early literacy a priority ensuring every child the skill of reading.
- Improving civic education and encouraging local schools to enhance their efforts to equip students with the knowledge and skills to participate effectively in our democracy.
- Further improving STEM education and utilizing STEM as a tool for economic and employee development.
“Taking steps to improve education is our ticket to bringing more high skill, high wage jobs to Iowa,” Bowman said. “By working in a bipartisan way, we can make major improvements in Iowa’s education, improvements that will make our economy stronger and more diverse.”
Text of Letter:
Honorable Kim Reynolds
Des Moines IA 50319
Dear Governor Reynolds:
Congratulations on your new role as Iowa’s 43rd Governor. During your inaugural speech, you signaled interest in working together to make Iowa a better place. Economic prosperity and fiscal responsibility are usually seen when the Governor and legislators work in a bipartisan way to make smart investments in Iowa and Iowans.
As the only active teacher in the Iowa Senate, I hope that we can work together to increase educational opportunities for all Iowa students to be successful. I believe we should focus on these areas of policy to enhance student achievement:
- Preschool: There are waiting lists in our largest cities and lack of programs in our smallest communities. We can and must work together both in policy, partnerships and funding to make sure quality early learning environments are available for every child that wants to attend.
- School Funding Investments: Funding for education should not be a partisan issue. Our path to a high skill, high wage economy for our state depends on the quality of our local schools. Even during tight budget times, we must prioritize how we invest in our children’s education.
- Student and Transportation Equity: There must be a bipartisan effort to create greater equity among school districts with consistent per-pupil school spending and provide equality for Iowa’s rural schools with dedicated transportation funding to school districts with higher than average transportation costs.
- Early Literacy: I was supportive of reversing the strict Third Grade Retention legislation this past session but I know we both agree we need to continue our efforts. There isn’t a child in Iowa that should grow up without the skill of reading because their economic prosperity depends on a quality education built on reading and learning.
- Civic Education: Encourage local schools to enhance their civic education efforts to equip students with the knowledge and skills to participate effectively in our representative democracy.
- STEM: You have assisted Iowa’s effort to become a recognized leader in STEM. We must do more. That includes aggressively using STEM as a tool for economic and employee development, and expanding the opportunities for all students throughout our state.
I look forward to working with you during this interim and during the 2018 session.
Senator Tod Bowman