Safely behind closed doors, Reynolds stokes divisions at Linn-Mar

cigaretteman

HR King
May 29, 2001
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Todd Dorman
May. 6, 2022 7:00 am

So Gov. Kim Reynolds slipped quietly into Marion Wednesday to hold a closed-door meeting with a select group of Linn-Mar parents and public officials, ostensibly to tout her “school choice” agenda. Her plan to provide publicly funded private school scholarships is currently stuck in the Iowa House without enough votes to pass.

We wouldn’t even know about the meeting if it hadn’t been for intrepid KCRG reporter Ethan Stein, who staked out the gathering held in Marion’s Thomas Park Administration and Operations Facility, which features a “safe room” for storms. The meeting wasn’t on Reynolds’ public schedule and it was closed to the media.

“It was just an opportunity for me to have an environment where they felt comfortable sharing what was important to them,” Reynolds told Stein afterward. “It was a great opportunity for me to hear from parents, how frustrated they are with not being able to educate their children in an environment that they felt their child could thrive.”

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Also on hand was U.S. Rep. Ashley Hinson and Linn-Mar School Board member Matt Rollinger, who won a seat on the board last fall after crusading against mask-wearing in schools amid a pandemic.

“We heard from parents who are worried about being cut out of conversations & decisions regarding their kids at school,” Hinson tweeted.

Geralyn Jones, who also ran for school board on an anti-mask campaign but lost, was invited.

“Fake news wasn’t invited. I saw you from the inside looking like a sad little puppy out there…maybe next time kiddo,” Jones tweeted, mocking Stein’s effort to report real news.

“As fake as the law the school board is claiming to hide behind in passing this policy,” tweeted Jones, who turned in fake signatures on her candidate petitions.

And there you have it. “This policy” is the real reason this meeting happened here. Last month, the Linn-Mar school board approved a series of policies for transgender students in grades 7 and up. According to the district, the plan amounts to taking practices already in place and collecting them into a formal policy consistent with state and federal anti-discrimination laws. It passed on April 25 by a 5-2 vote. Rollinger and board member Barry Buchholz voted no.

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Of course, it contains all of the hot buttons being pressed by alarmist conservatives – bathroom and locker room usage, rules for overnight trips and pronouns. It creates “gender support plans” for each transgender student. Parents are not notified about the plans, for the obvious reason that some transgender kids fear retribution at home, but parents can see the plans by request.


Basically, the policy’s aim is to let kids be their genuine selves at school, where they can feel safe and supported. Sort of like a “safe room.” As a Linn-Mar parent who didn’t get invited to the meeting, for some reason, I support the policy and the school’s attempts to be inclusive. A majority of our elected school board appears to agree.


But other parents don’t feel that way. Opponents have heaped derision on the policy, deploying some of the greatest hits of transgender fearmongering. They’re uncomfortable and, laws be damned, the school district is obligated to make them comfortable, even if it further marginalizes these kids.


Opponents have an online change.org petition with more than 3,700 signatures. But who has signed it? What did they say in the meeting with the governor? Who knows? I worry I’m a parent being cut out of the conversation.


Or, we could skip all of this and just leave these kids alone and realize it’s not about us and our comfort. They also need an environment where they can thrive.


But the governor dropped by to make sure the passions and divisions around this issue don’t fade. She couldn’t let the storm die down. She needs to harness it, both for her efforts to push private school vouchers and to fuel her re-election campaign.


“Fact: For nearly 20 years, math and reading scores for Iowa students have been decreasing,” claimed a handout distributed at the meeting by the governor’s office that Stein posted on Twitter. I’ve covered five governors and have never seen one trash public education like this while having absolutely no plan to improve the public schools the vast majority of Iowa kids attend.


The same handout did say providing public money to private school vouchers would have a positive impact on public schools. So I guess that’s her public school improvement plan. That and providing a paltry 2.5 percent increase in state funding amid record inflation and while socking away billions of dollars for more tax cuts.


The governor can meet with whoever she wants. But a real leader might have come to Marion to cool the heated debate at Linn-Mar and seek some sort of common ground. Instead, she deepened our divisions.


Instead of talking with a broad group of community members in public, including, God forbid, the kids who are being treated as pawns in a political war over their rights, Reynolds huddled in a bunker with her ideological allies, so she and they could feel safe. She is their governor. Parents’ rights are only for parents who agree with the governor.


The rest of us can stand outside wondering just what storm is coming next.

 

lucas80

HR King
Gold Member
Jan 30, 2008
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I cannot think of many situations in which a governor would need to meet in secret with constituents. The comment to the journalist shows how radical and unhinged the core of the GOP is becoming all the way down to the school district level.
You want a private school education, pay for it your damn self.
 

Hawkeyecurtis81

HR All-State
Gold Member
May 3, 2015
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I cannot think of many situations in which a governor would need to meet in secret with constituents. The comment to the journalist shows how radical and unhinged the core of the GOP is becoming all the way down to the school district level.
You want a private school education, pay for it your damn self.
Totally agree. Just like if you want a college education. Pay for it yourself.
 

MWardT

HR All-American
Jul 29, 2005
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Let me summarize. Upset Democrat parents who think parents should have no say in childrens education are upset they weren’t invited to a meeting about their child’s education.
 

Rudolph

HR Legend
Oct 18, 2001
32,680
54,305
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I cannot think of many situations in which a governor would need to meet in secret with constituents. The comment to the journalist shows how radical and unhinged the core of the GOP is becoming all the way down to the school district level.
You want a private school education, pay for it your damn self.
It’s a grift. Public money funneled to private entities. JFC I would think this would be a bridge too far for any true conservative.
 

MWardT

HR All-American
Jul 29, 2005
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And Kim and the Rs are hellbent to prove their concerns that this is nothing but politics and not education.
Let me translate. Democrat parents only want government making decisions about their child’s education if it’s Democrats in office. Otherwise if Republicans are in office, Republicans should know that Democrat parents want a say in education now and should invite them.
 

Huey Grey

HR Legend
Jan 15, 2013
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Let me translate. Democrat parents only want government making decisions about their child’s education if it’s Democrats in office. Otherwise if Republicans are in office, Republicans should know that Democrat parents want a say in education now and should invite them.
I get your position. It's wrong. To hold policy meetings in secret with only Republican parents is inappropiate and wrong. You shouldn't be defending this. Nobody should.
 

MWardT

HR All-American
Jul 29, 2005
4,478
4,113
113
It’s a grift. Public money funneled to private entities. JFC I would think this would be a bridge too far for any true conservative.
Public funds are paid to private entities in everything besides K-12 education. Military contractors, healthcare, private colleges, etc
 

MWardT

HR All-American
Jul 29, 2005
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I get your position. It's wrong. To hold policy meetings in secret with only Republican parents is inappropiate and wrong. You shouldn't be defending this. Nobody should.
It’s wrong. But you also need to take off the blinders and see how hypocritical it looks.
 

gonegolfing

HR Legend
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Jan 6, 2009
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The only thing they should be meeting over is recall of the disastrous school board at Linn Mar and electing sane people focused on education not political activism.
 

WDSMHAWK

HR All-State
Jun 30, 2019
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West Des Moines
Let me summarize. Upset Democrat parents who think parents should have no say in childrens education.

This is so stupid. The handful of upset parents that attend Kim's group therapy session did have a say in their kids education. There was a school board election and their preferred candidates lost. Instead of trying to bring the community together Kim is using this opportunity to push her unpopular "School Choice" agenda.
 

NorthernHawkeye

HR Legend
Dec 23, 2007
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I cannot think of many situations in which a governor would need to meet in secret with constituents. The comment to the journalist shows how radical and unhinged the core of the GOP is becoming all the way down to the school district level.
You want a private school education, pay for it your damn self.

No refunds on the tax dollars those parents paid to fund the public school?
 
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lucas80

HR King
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Jan 30, 2008
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No refunds on the tax dollars those parents paid to fund the public school?
Public schools benefit everyone. Just like roads, and parks… They are bedrocks off a thriving society, and at one time Iowa was always at the top of national rankings. As republicans siphon away money the results are predictable, and their crying about waning rankings ring hollow.
Beyond that, if you want extra, pay extra.
 

win1forthe

HR Heisman
Mar 12, 2004
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The Trump Crime family endorses using public collected tax money for private entities, too!
Didn’t Trump get kicked out of a public school and I can only guess that none of his offspring attended public school. No wonder he sees little value in it.
 
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