My parents and grandparents instilled in me from an early age that a good education is the best investment an individual could make in themselves. It is also one of the best investments this state can make it its future.
Quality Early Childhood Education is some of the best money we could possibly spend on our children. A recent study out of Chicago University looked at students that have been tracked through life since the 70’s, and they have found that quality early childhood education resulted in higher earnings, better health, and a reduction in crime (1). Higher incomes mean a greater tax base for the state, and better health and lower crime means fewer expenses. As these young children have grown into adulthood and had children of their own, the benefits have also filtered into the next generation. This initial investment in education has outperformed the stock market for returns. Expanding and improving early childhood education in Iowa is a fiscally responsible use of tax dollars.
Funding Our Primary & Secondary Schools seems to be a diminishing priority in Iowa. Appropriations for little to no allowable growth in school budgets puts a lot of strain on local schools, especially in rural districts where transportation costs eat up a much larger share of the budget. As your Representative, I will work to direct additional funding to classroom instruction while working to streamline administrative processes and reduce costs.
Supporting our Universities, Community Colleges, and Trade and Apprenticeship Programs is a critical investment in Iowa’s workforce. The wage difference between having a post secondary certificate or degree is on average at least 40% more for those who have just a high school diploma. This is a logical investment for Iowa, but we have continued to see the State pull back its support to levels not seen since 1990. Over 60% of the full time jobs in Iowa today require less than a four-year degree, but more than a high school diploma. This funding cut hits both our universities and our community colleges, which play a critical role in training people for the majority of Iowa jobs.
This is happening as demand for an educated workforce and the number of people seeking education grows. Having a higher skilled and trained workforce means higher wages and a more robust tax base. It also makes it easier to grow local businesses and attract new ones. As your Representative, I will advocate for our universities, community colleges, and vocational training programs.