Taxes and Education

Did you know that Iowa has the highest tax rate in the world?

The most expensive "thing" isn't necessarily bad. That is, as long as you are receiving the highest quality product in return for your investment. Which, leads me to the current state of the public school system in Iowa.

Many times as I've mentioned to friends or strangers that Iowa has the most expensive government per capita in the U.S. I've often received an admittedly shocking defense of those high taxes that usually goes something like this: "Iowa has some of the best schools in the world so of course our taxes are high." I can understand why someone might think that. After all, Iowa has historically been known for it's world class schools. Unfortunately, that might not be so true anymore.

The recently released 2009-2010 Iowa State Report Card for No Child Left Behind claims that all eight of Iowa’s urban school districts are “Districts in Need of Assistance”. In Davenport 100% of the high schools are “Schools in Need of Assistance” or officially failing and 95% of the middle schools are “Schools in Need of Assistance” or officially failing. North Scott Junior High and High School are “Schools in Need of Assistance”. Even Pleasant Valley Junior High makes the list.

So now what?

I see two heartily logical explanations:
1. The schools listed above are broken or
2. The No Child Left Behind program is broken.

You don't have to buy both options but you have to agree with one of them. Somebody has to be right and either way you look we have a problem that needs to be addressed with a vengeance. If you agree the schools are broken then we need to fix them. If you believe that No Child Left Behind is a failure then we need to find a way to opt out of it. What we don't need is higher taxes to execute either of those options.

We already have a reference point for greatness in our schools as we've been there before. We already have arguably more resources than anyone else in the world to do it. It seems as though all we really need is better Leadership to take those pieces and make them whole again.

-Jesse Anderson
for Scott County Board of Supervisors

VOTE 2 NOV 2010!

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