The appointing of Chad Aldis

Letter to the editor

Christian Darnold, Guest Columnist

Chad Aldis, a person with no teaching or school administration experience, was recently appointed as the head of the Iowa Department of Education. This appointment has been criticized, with many arguing that Aldis’ selection aligns with Governor Kim Reynolds’ agenda to promote school choice in Iowa. Reynolds’ school choice bill allows families to receive $7,600 per student to cover the costs of enrolling their child in a private school.

However, studies suggest that school choice policies mainly benefit upper-class families who can already afford to send their children to private schools. Private schools may not offer transportation or provide as many extracurricular activities and classes in the arts as public schools. They also tend to focus more on STEM classes and courses that boost SAT or ACT scores, which may not align with every student’s interests or needs.

Moreover, this school choice policy and the appointment of a pro-school-choice head of the education department may worsen the existing problems of Iowa’s underfunded and understaffed public schools. Allowing parents to receive a stipend means more funding will be taken from the public schools budget and redirected towards private, often-for-profit schools that may not perform better than public schools in standardized tests.

In conclusion, Policymakers should prioritize investing in public schools, providing them with more resources and support for teachers and staff to ensure they are adequately funded and prepared to meet the needs of all students. By doing so, policymakers can make Iowa’s education system more equitable and successful for everyone.