Rural education should be a state priority

By Joe Millard, Letter to the Editor, The Des Moines Register

I agreed with much of what was written by Harold O. Levy and Susan Assouline in their Jan. 14 piece, “Rural students need equal educational opportunity.” However, the last paragraph stated, “Our national goal should be to create equal educational opportunities for every child regardless of income level, geography location or race, ethnicity, gender or any other factor irrelevant to academic ability.” I believe this should be an Iowa educational goal first.

Education is primarily a state responsibility and we should embrace this educational goal. Leadership must come from the governor’s office, courage for change must be exhibited by the Legislature, local school administrators and teachers must support the goal and, most important, we citizens must be willing to sacrifice. A different configuration of school districts may be needed and additional funds are essential and I trust the state to be more sensible with spending than the federal government.

Achieving this aim requires an examination of Iowa school district funding. Iowa schools, currently, are not funded equitably. The structure of school districts leaves too many students without 21st century curriculua. The future requires more than advanced college placements and S.T.E.M. programs. The future requires informed citizens, creative people prepared to change and Iowa residents agreeable to pay more taxes.

— Joe Millard, Waukee

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