Don’t punish public schools3/11/2015
Jeff Jorgensen, Republican Pottawattamie County Chair, stated that Sen. Gronstal needs to be discussing charter schools, virtual schools, school voucher programs and homeschooling in order to find solutions for public schools. It seems the focus should instead be on what proven educational reforms needed to be implemented in public schools. How can Iowa improve public schools by siphoning off funds to be used to benefit for-profit businesses and private individuals? If a family chooses to homeschool, they should pay the expenses and not the taxpayers. If a company wants to make a profit, it should look to its students and not the taxpayers for financial help.
Since Iowa was settled by families, public education has been a top priority. In 1858, the Iowa legislature passed an education bill making the civil township the official school district along with towns of more than 1,000 residents. There are areas in Kentucky where illiteracy thrives due to no public education. Is that what Iowans want?
Julie Stewart Ziesman
In 1971, Dowling High School (in what I am sure was a cost-cutting move) took yearbook photos of freshmen grouped together by homeroom. One of our classmates, Mike Kaas, stuck around the whole day and slipped in to nearly every homeroom photo taken that day. I bring this up because it appears Kevin Chen may have tried the same thing in your “Cityview Best of Des Moines” photos. He’s everywhere. Then, although perhaps the thickest edition ever, I find to my horror no Civic Skinny article. I almost demanded my money back.
Editor’s note: Civic Skinny is back. Kevin Chen is everywhere. And your full subscription refund is in the mail.
A warning courtesy of Alabama
A federal district court judge ruled Alabama’s ban on marriage equality as unconstitutional. The United States Supreme Court declined to issue a stay on the federal judge’s ruling. As such, both same-sex and opposite-sex couples should now be able to marry in Alabama. Except, well, not so fast. The Alabama Supreme Court’s Chief Justice ordered Alabama judges to not grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples. This order directly contradicts the federal court’s ruling and the U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal to issue a stay on the federal court’s ruling.
What does this mean? It means our nation’s great judicial system on both the federal level and the state level entered a crisis. The word “crisis” possibly seems too strong a word for some, but not for me. This is about something more — something about our very existence as citizens.
As an Iowan and an American, I am not sure what binds our wonderful country together. Did God create, or at the very least, have a hand in guiding our founders to craft such an elaborate government? Does our respect for the rule of law hold our delicate country together in a way God and/or the founders hoped the rule of law would do just that? Unfortunately, I have no answer.
Whatever you think, I hope we can all agree on several basic points. First, we live in the greatest country ever known. This is a fact. Second, our system of government, although sometimes imperfect, is a system we as people rely on for justice. Third, and finally, without the federal judicial system and each state’s judicial system fully operating and existing in comity with the others, we quickly become a nation not of united citizens, but a nation whose citizenry exists without purpose.
Our purpose, after all, is to become whomever we wish, believe whatever want, et cetera. Let us remember our individual, family, group, state, and federal purposes while the needless constitutional crisis unfolds in Alabama. We must not allow the system we should be so proud of having to fall into the hands of people like the Alabama Supreme Court’s Chief Justice. After all, the judiciary protects our freedoms. The judiciary is the last stop when others wish to harm us. We cannot let one judicial officer trample upon our system of nearly boundless freedom. This is the United States of America where no one person is able to trample over our rights.
One last thing: As an Iowa boy, I cannot thank God, my family, my friends, my fellow citizen and the state and federal governments for the blessing I received by being born, raised and now settled in Iowa. Even though our politics get a little shaky at times, I am confident in the goodness of my fellow Iowans.