For seven years in a row, the Republicans have underfunded education, and this year, though Governor Reynolds said she planned to invest in education, her administration has underfunded our schools for the eighth year. That’s the entire lifespan of an elementary student’s schooling. Iowa can be a world-class leader in education again if we prioritize consistent funding for education at all levels – from universal pre-K to higher education in our community colleges, small colleges, and public universities. As Governor, Nate would champion education issues so that school districts, community colleges and public universities can thrive instead of struggling to make ends meet and competing against each other for funds.
In addition to under-funding education year after year, the Branstad-Reynolds agenda has made it harder for Iowa to recruit and retain world-class teachers. During the last legislative session, Republicans gutted teachers’ rights to bargain for better base wages, earn raises, and receive the benefits they deserve for serving as leaders in building the future for our local communities. As Governor, Nate would ensure Iowa once again values the profession of teaching by fighting to restore teachers’ rights and ensure we have the best and brightest teaching our children.
Nate originally went to school to be a high school government teacher, and knows first-hand that the early years of school are essential to creating a life-long love of learning. In the 2017 legislative session, he introduced two bills to expand access to early education. The first bill, SF 136, creates an incentive program for school districts to expand preschool enrollments with the goal to make programs available for every child on a preschool waiting list, especially in low-income and high-minority communities. The second bill, SF 354 lowers the compulsory school attendance age from 6-years-old to 5-years-old, expanding access to kindergarten programs.