Lucy Dougherty and other SCAN advocates march in a parade in Iowa.
The Iowa legislature has been busy this 2018 legislative session.
The legislature passed bills that made comprehensive changes to Iowa’s mental health care and voting systems, restricted opioids, established programs to guarantee 70% of Iowa workers obtain education beyond high school by 2025 and a wide variety of other bills on education, health care, jobs, public safety and taxes.
All of these bills will impact the lives of Iowans and the future of Iowa as a national leader, but one particular issue will come to define Iowa for years to come.
Historically, Iowa’s public-school system has been among the best in the country. Pre-K enrollment has risen from 4% in 2002 to 60% in 2017. Iowa also ranks first in high school graduation. Although we have made great strides in enrollment, as of 2018, Iowa ranks 28th in Pre-K quality and 33rd in college readiness. We need to do more to ensure our students have a quality education and access to a bright future.
Currently, funding for K-12 education in Iowa is at its lowest in years. Many superintendents from rural districts have expressed concern about the quality of education they will be able to give their students due to cutbacks. Two regent universities also faced a budget reduction of $11 million dollars. The Iowa legislature reviews funding for education every year, and if Iowans want to lead the nation in education, our legislators need to commit to funding it and the future of our students.
This is why voting is so important. You can have a hand in choosing who makes these vital decisions. Many state representative elections are won or lost by razor thin margins, so to ensure your voice is heard, you must cast a vote and follow up with your representatives.
The democratic process relies on individual, informed voters speaking out and standing for what they believe in. The ability to vote and have a say in what the government does is an incredible opportunity that many throughout history have fought for.
Use your voice and your vote and take a part in shaping Iowa’s future.
Editor’s Note:This blog is part of a series highlighting why it’s important to vote in the midterm elections, written from a state-by-state perspective. Check out more blogs from the series, including blogs from Colorado, South Carolina, Washington, Ohio and Tennessee!