The Iowa Legislature passed SSB1065 - Senate file 159 by a vote of 26 - 21 on 1/28/2021.
The bill would allow parents to use money from the public school system and give it directly to parents who want to send their child to a private school.
The legislative session on 1/28/2021 spent hours debating before the vote to approve or disapprove the bill. Heated arguments mostly came from Democrats who wanted to throw more tax money into an already broken system. Both Democrats and Republicans acknowledged the system is and has been broken.
Even though both sides of the isle publicly agreed there's a break down, each side had a different solution to fix the existing problems.
Democrats main argument against the bill was accountability for funds however, that argument was weak as the money could be accounted for as you can witness in the legislative arguments below in video.
One aspect missing from the final debate were concrete proofs of what's happened in the public school system. Metro News Now will give you one reference example from our local area in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
Roosevelt School students tested well below the state guidelines average for literacy. Roosevelt was so substandard, big brother had to step in several years ago.
Several years ago parents of students at Roosevelt Elementary were sent a letter informing them they could switch their child to a different school within the Council Bluffs School system due to substandard testing scores at Roosevelt.
The letter came as a surprise to some parents who found out about the schools substandard academic performance through the mail. No doubt some parents wondered why they weren't notified sooner.
Test scores at this school fall far below the state average. This suggests that students at this school are likely not performing at grade level.
Metro News Now must ask, what are the long term effects to these children?
Metro News Now will use SchoolDigger results in our comparisons. These results are based on an 2019 analysis. Due to the disruption caused by COVID-19, the Iowa Department of Education did not administer assessments for the 2019-2020 school year. SchoolDigger will resume updating its rankings when test scores are released in 2021.
School Digger looked at Roosevelt School.
Roosevelt ranked 521 out of 603 Iowa Elementary schools. Roosevelt Elementary School ranked worse than 86.4% of elementary schools in Iowa.
Let's look at another school in the Council Bluffs School system, Woodrow Wilson Junior High School (Middle School)
Woodrow Wilson ranked 306 out of 342 Iowa Middle Schools. Woodrow Wilson Middle School ranked worse than 89.5% of middle schools in Iowa.
Children who attended elementary school at Roosevelt move to Woodrow Wilson Middle School once they leave Roosevelt. If the child stays at the same residence through middle school age and high school, the child would then move to Thomas Jefferson High School in the same district. Let's now take a look at Thomas Jefferson High School
Thomas Jefferson High School ranked 311th of 327 high schools. Thomas Jefferson High School ranked worse than 95.1% of high schools in Iowa.
Let's look at other Council Bluffs Community Schools
Abraham Lincoln ranked 304 out of 327
Kirn Middle School ranked 242 out of 342
Council Bluffs Schools are consistently at the bottom of Iowa's successful schools. Council Bluffs Community Schools taxes the citizens of Council Bluffs heavily, yet schools aren't even ranked average for their students, obviously tax payers aren't getting a good return either.
Overall District comparisons by SchoolDigger of surrounding district school systems reveals more.
Council Bluffs Community school ranks 280th of 321
|Lewis Central Community School District||2.31 mi||4||120th|
|Treynor Community School District||11.12 mi||3||7th|
|Underwood Community School District||11.35 mi||3||17th|
|Glenwood Community School District||14.58 mi||4||71st|
|Tri-Center Community School District||20.63 mi||3||202nd|
Council Bluffs Schools Superintendent Vicki Morello is on Twitter. Murillo tweeted recently "SSB1065 would divert public school funding to private schools that have no financial or academic accountability to taxpayers." We must ask the same where Council Bluffs Schools are concerned. Where's the accountability after years of substandard performance?
Should a parent be forced to send their child to an under performing school system and subject their kid(s) to substandard education?
SchoolDigger.com was founded in 2006 to serve one purpose: to empower parents like you to make informed choices about choosing a school for your child. Our database contains detailed profiles for over 136,000 schools in every state in the US, including 20 years of enrollment data, several years of test scores, crime data, real estate data, and everything our team hopes is useful in helping you make better school choices.