Educational vouchers are harmful to public education. At UNI, professors teach
students that empirical, peer-reviewed research is highly important when coming to well-rounded conclusions. There is no evidence that supports that a student who attends a private school versus public school will be more likely to achieve substantial higher academic success. Educational vouchers will not help families whatsoever due to rising tuition costs. Families are stripped of certain protections that provide extra support for students who have different styles of learning. Educational vouchers pose an existential threat to diversity, equality, and inclusion. Not to mention that public dollars will be going towards parochial private schools. There is no separation of church and state.
I do not support, advocate, or approve of the anti-trans bills. Students should feel safe, protected, and free to be who they are without the fear of being harassed and sexually assaulted at school. While the argument is that transgender folx pose a threat to everyone's safety, that is in fact not true and the other way around. Transgender folx face more threats simply by being who they are. Not to mention the depression, anxiety, and stress they experience which more times than not lead to self-harm, suicidal ideations, and completed acts of suicide. Suicide is in the top ten leading causes of death in the state of Iowa (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
Thoughts and prayers are not accepted. Policy and change is. While most of the State of Iowa is concerned about other people's body parts and what bathroom to use because they fear something that has never happened, school shootings are still being committed with no change in policy. It's not if anymore in Iowa and interestingly enough, the one school shooting that occurred was a charter school where two students died and a school employee seriously hurt. No parent, no teacher, no school employee, and no student should ever have to fear going to school. Although we have a long way to gun reform, making sure our educators and staff are well-trained and prepared to respond is key.
Although Iowa's attempts to ban anything related to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) have been somewhat unsuccessful, students need to know the REAL history of how this nation was founded through different perspectives - not just the whitewashed version. If Native and Black communities still have living relatives that have lived through the Indian Boarding School era and segregation, our students today should be able to learn and talk about those times. That is just the beginning. We need to prepare our students for the REAL world. DEI initiatives and programs are essential in educational systems, especially where the student body is very diverse. Having books, learning materials, and class discussions that mirror the students that are receiving public education is key. Representation matters.
My stance is against book banning. The thought of restricting one's freedom of speech through written words, ideas, and information by banning books in public education is undermining education in general. Students should have the right to expand their knowledge and creativity by accessing some of the greatest written publications, books, and materials. Expanding knowledge and learning other perspectives will be good for when debates and philosophical conversations occur.
Although our public education system is experiencing a lot of challenging state legislation, there is always hope and strength on a local level. I truly believe that all power lies within the people whether you live in the city or rural community. We decide what is best for our students, families, and educators by listening to them. One of my goals is to create listening sessions between faculty and educators. I want to inspire our students to engage on a local and state level by voicing their needs and wants so when they become young adults, they know how to create change in their own communities. I know that it is hard work, but if you show up and give 100% - so will I.