This week, we commemorate National School Choice Week, an annual January celebration of effective education options for children. Events all over the country celebrate K-12 education options including: public, private, charter schools, virtual schools and home instruction. All parents should be able to choose the best educational path for their children, but that is sadly not the reality in Iowa.

Choosing something other than traditional public schools is currently not possible for all Iowa parents due to their income level or their address. These obstacles do not have to remain in place. Legislators can level the playing field and give parents the ability to send their children to the school they believe is the best fit for their child.

Speaker Linda Upmeyer has an opportunity to pass an Education Savings Account program in the state of Iowa. ESAs take a portion of the publicly-allocated funds for each student and allow the money to follow the student to an institution of their choice. ESAs would pave the way for students from any background to attend nonpublic schools in the state of Iowa and put parents in the driver’s seat when it comes to their child’s education.

Upmeyer can truly celebrate National School Choice Week by making a state ESA program a high priority this legislative session. Madam Speaker, I urge you to give every Iowa parent the ability to choose the best school for their child.

Gabriel Haugland, Clear Lake

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