Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said she will work with lawmakers to sign a bill to promote school choice for fulltime in-person learning in her Condition of the State Address on Tuesday.
“If there’s one thing the pandemic has taught us about education, it’s that our parents need choice,” Reynolds said. “And it’s not just in-person versus virtual. Sometimes it’s about which school to attend altogether.
While the state has continued the fight to manage the ongoing pandemic, Reynolds has been a strong advocate for keeping students in school. Reynolds also said open enrollment in all districts would provide flexibility for parents.
“But school choice isn’t a zero sum game. It has the potential to raise the quality for all schools,” Reynolds said. “And for those schools that do fall behind, it ensures our children don’t fall with them. Let’s work together to make sure every child receives a quality education, regardless of income, and no matter their zip code.”
Reynolds acknowledged in 2020 there an overwhelming call for racial justice in Iowan and across the nation.
“We heard that call and, with a bipartisan effort, passed the More Perfect Union Act to improve police work in Iowa,” Reynolds said. “I’m proud of that legislation, and we’re continuing to make criminal justice reform a priority.”
As a strong supporter of law enforcement, Reynolds reminded Iowans of the law enforcement members who risk their lives everyday and she condemned last week's attack on the Capitol.
Following her remarks about the Capitol mobs, Reynolds said racial justice protests over the summer gave way to “rioting” and “looting” .
“Our men and women in blue will always have my respect, and I will always have their back,” Reynolds said.
Reynolds said she will also introduce a bill that will clearly punish anyone who riots or attacks police officers while banning racial profiling and other forms of disparate treatment.
Reynolds also talked of Child Care Challenge Fund, a program to encourage a public-private partnership between business and child care providers. Reynolds said she is allocating $3 million to help jump-start these partnerships.
Access to high-speed internet is also high on Reynolds’ to-do list. As rural Iowa continues to be in broadband deserts due to affordability, Reynolds declared plans for state-wide high-speed broadband by 2025.
“I believe in this State, because I believe in you. I’ve seen what you’ve done; I’ve watched, sometimes with tears of pride in my eyes,” Reynolds said. “And that’s how I know that the condition of our State is strong. Because you are strong—stronger than you ever imagined.”