SIOUX CITY - Sorry, Mr. Vilsack, if parents must report to the principal's office for being "obstacles" to the educational success of their children, then I suggest that they save a seat for you. Educating Iowa's children is a team effort, with every member of the team shouldering its share of the responsibility. Successful teams do not point fingers, but are focused on earning the trust of their teammates and working together to overcome challenges.
Providing a high quality education to Iowa's children is dependent on teamwork. This team includes students, parents, teachers, administrators, community members, legislators and, yes, the governor himself. And every member must understand their individual role.
Of course, parents have a personal responsibility to participate in the process of educating their children and no government program will ever be good enough to replace the role of parents in our education system. In my experience, as a teacher and high school principal, parents who resisted taking the steps necessary to prepare their children for the future were the exception, not the rule. I believe that parents want to be involved and will support higher expectations as long as they are empowered to do so. Many of government's answers to our current education issues have actually discouraged parental involvement rather than increasing it.
Iowa is blessed with some of the best teachers in the country; teachers who are excited to have an impact on the next generation. Unfortunately, as I travel the state, many teachers express increased frustration with a system that is weighted down with bureaucracy and has hindered their ability to simply teach.
Our government should provide schools with high expectations and levels of accountability. Once these are in place, I believe that government, both state and federal, needs to get out of the way and let the local school districts determine the best avenues to achieve the standards set before them. It is time local school districts and the members of their communities are given the opportunity to thrive uniquely, rather than expecting them to fit into a universal mold. Former State Senator Kitty Rehberg agrees, saying, I appreciate Bob's enthusiasm for education. As a former educator, he truly understands that restoring local control is vital to the success of Iowa's education system.
I appreciate that Governor Vilsack is spending time on education, but I would encourage him to take a second look at the big-picture. Even members of championship teams know that there is room for improvement and I suggest that every member of Iowa's education team take a look at ways to improve their contribution.
To read about Vilsack's comments, blaming parents for being "obstacles to a more demanding high school education" Click Here!
For more information on the Vander Plaat's for Governor Campaign visit www.vpforgov.com