Iowa passes the Students First Act

January 25, 2023

By Tim Worstall

It is possible to beat the educational bureaucracy; it is possible to free the school system from its control. Iowa just became the third state to do this when Gov. Kim Reynolds signed into law “The Students First Act”. The Iowa House passed it 55 to 45 on Monday and the Senate 31 to 18 early on Tuesday morning. Reynolds has already signed it into law.

 What was House File 68 now funds students through the school system rather than the school system itself. That’s the one single action required to bring freedom to the education system. Parents now decide where to send their child to school – the state’s money follows that decision.

What this actually means is that the central bureaucracy loses its power over what children are taught and how. For parents who do not agree with that curriculum or attitude can simply switch their kids to another which is more aligned with their values. 

There’s a reason the woke and progressive have been so against such laws all over the country. As the Jesuits used to say – before that Aristotle – “Give me a child before they are seven and I will give you the man.” Kids tend to believe what they’re taught in school. So, if you want to have a revolution one way is to control the teaching of children.

This is what Critical Race Theory is all about – or the other names, diversity and equity, or social and emotional learning. Teach all children – and fail them if they don’t believe – that America is a racist country, that capitalism is racist, that there must be a revolution and, in the end, there will be a revolution. Because that’s what all children have been taught. 

This is why the woke and progressive are so against school choice. Because it removes their power over what and how our children are taught. It’s not just the teachers’ unions worried about losing union contracts, it’s the ideologues complaining that they will no longer be able to propagandize the kids. Which is, of course, why it’s all so important. 

As we’ve said the importance is of changing the system, not the bureaucrat. If we just change who makes the rules for all schools then that just leaves us with a different person making that decision that we want to make ourselves. It’s necessary to change the system so that no one has that central control over what all children are taught.

The answer here is exactly what Iowa has just done. This does not change the idea of public education. It is still true that taxes pay to educate all children. What it does change is who decides what is taught by that public education. Now it is students, not systems, who get that tax funding. By sending a child to a different school the money now goes to that different school. This means that the tax money is now spent on how parents desire their children to be educated – surely the aim all along. Well, unless you’re a progressive who wants to propagandize the kids instead of educate them as parents desire. Which is, again, the point.

By removing from the system that central control of how everyone is taught – which is what school choice does – then we remove the power of those who would spend our money raising our kids how we don’t want our kids to be raised. We’ve killed the system that allows them to do that by funding students, not the system. 

Victories can happen, we can beat them. Iowa is, with The Students First Act, the third state to achieve this.

Only 48 to go then – and yes, it is 48 because the kids in D.C. deserve the best education, just as those in all the states do.


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