By Kathy Obradovich
We’ve been hearing often from Iowa Republicans that they “trust” parents.
Gov. Kim Reynolds spent most of the Covid-19 pandemic saying she trusted parents (more than school administrators) to decide whether their kids should attend classes in person and wear masks to protect themselves and others.
The centerpiece of her agenda this year was giving some parents the means to move their students to private schools – where rules requiring accommodations for students with disabilities or special needs do not apply. She said parents know best what schools are best for their kids (even though some still do not have a choice).
A “parents’ rights” manifesto introduced in the House would have subjected even child abuse and neglect cases to “strict scrutiny” in the courts because “the right to direct the upbringing, rearing, associations, care, education, custody and control of a parent’s child is a parent’s fundamental right.” That bill, thankfully, did not advance ahead of last week’s committee deadline.
Reynolds and Republicans in the Statehouse are now charging ahead to empower parents whose kids are afraid to tell them about their gender identity and those who want to purge certain books – especially those with LGBTQ or racial themes – from school libraries.
Rep. Skyler Wheeler, R-Hull, accused backers of school gender-affirmation policies of saying “parents are evil.”
“I cannot believe, in the state of Iowa, we have people that think that parents are going to abuse and hurt their kids because they find something out at school,” Wheeler said. “If they do, the law already applies that they don’t get away with that. But my goodness, what an awful, awful thing to stand against.”
But these GOP lawmakers and “parents’ rights” advocates don’t trust parents, not really. And some of them are even saying that out loud.
One member of Moms for Liberty, an outspoken advocacy group for “parents’ rights,” told lawmakers last month that she wants to remove certain books that she considers “obscene” from school libraries because some parents are too busy or oblivious to restrict their own kids from reading them.
Amy Day, a parent in the Carroll Community School District said the children of these lower-income, working parents are “vulnerable.”
“My mother was at a factory all day and (working) at a bar all night. My mother was gone all day long trying to feed us and I guarantee you she never would have come in to sign anything that opted me out,” Day said. “… So what I’m trying to say is, the vulnerable students, while you all know that you can look at the policy, that doesn’t mean that every parent can go in and they are not even aware of that process. And they’re making the minimum wage at a factory and then they’re going to a bar to work at night so their kids can eat.”
Reynolds is gleefully dancing to that tune. She’s now pushing to allow parents who succeed in restricting a book in their own district to create a challenge for that same book in all school libraries statewide. Even with her proposed “transparency” legislation to give parents a list of all school library materials, she is not trusting them to act on their own.
Instead, she’s trusting parents like Amy Day, who wants to exercise her superior judgment on behalf of lower-income working parents whose children are somehow “vulnerable.”
Meanwhile, Statehouse Republicans are working to outlaw gender-affirming health care for people under 18 – regardless of whether their parents are supporting the treatment. They also want to dictate which bathrooms kids in school can use, regardless of their parents’ views. Rep. Steve Holt, R-Denison, speaking on the bathroom bill, put it this way:
“I believe that misleading children is harmful, denying truth and science in favor of feelings, that is harmful to children,” Holt said. “Telling young children they can choose their gender in denial of biological reality, that is dooming many children to a lifetime of mental anguish and suffering. Telling children the truth, that is biology and truth is love.”
So now parents are lying to their kids? That’s a strange way for lawmakers to express their trust in parents.
Keep in mind, these GOP lawmakers are the very same ones who think it’s just fine for gun owners to leave loaded weapons in cars in school parking lots. They have no problem loosening child labor laws to let younger kids work longer hours at more dangerous jobs. They’re A-OK with cutting unemployment benefits for parents with more than three children. How’s that for family values?
It’s baffling why Iowans are trusting Reynolds and these GOP lawmakers to protect children. The only ones getting protection are the powerful interest groups that the politicians can trust to get them reelected.
Kathie Obradovich is editor-in-chief of the Iowa Capital Dispatch, an affiliate of the nonprofit States Newsroom. She has been covering Iowa government and politics for more than 30 years, most recently as a political columnist and opinion editor for the Des Moines Register. She is a leading voice on Iowa politics and makes regular appearances on state, national and international news programs.
Oh, so these busybodies only want to dumb down the working class. Rich kids have no problems, and are more moral than the rest of us. Fascism, baby! This government overreach has gone to far.
Ray W. says
Paul Sherrell, a Tennessee State House Republican, recently issued an apology for his attempt to amend a proposed state death penalty statute to allow for hanging defendants from a tree. He stated that his original intent was to make the punishment as brutal as the crime, and that hanging defendants from trees would not apply in all death penalty cases.
Welcome to the Republic of Gilead.
don miller says
you should be thanking desantis. you have no idea what trash in our school libraries. unless you want your kids getting a head start on corrupting their minds. adult target news media couldn’t show it to you because it was so bad.>>>>
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday ran a video at a presser on the subject of content available in Florida’s public schools, and the material the children had access to was so explicit that the live feed was cut and Twitter briefly placed a sensitive content label on the clips.
Please enlighten us as to the “trash” DeSantis has removed from school libraries. Last we saw his militant mothers were failing miserably at removing books from schools with appeals across the state going against them. Please provide a listing of books removed and the specific reasons for their removals. And please, get specific with your reason statements, using none of that generalization propaganda that DeSantis and is mommies are so fond of using. Oh, and you should probably read the books before passing judgement – or would that be counter productive?
Timothy Patrick Welch says
As alternate lifestyles continue to expand, maybe this was a way to prepare kids for a job in the porn industry?
Good to read Twitter addressed the vulgar content.
Don Miller: Please give us the titles and authors of the trash you have found on school shelves.
@Trundging Toward Fascism On The Libertarian Party Parade Float
The real Last Of Us — and the USA
https://search.brave.com/search?q=libertarian+party+view+on+education (and everything)
The Republican Party has become a Halloween costume to clothe naked greed and selfishness, fanatical religious bigotry, and all manner of unfounded grievance and nonsense that is on a level of absurdity it cannot show itself in public. If I asked you to come to a meeting of any number of well known multi-level marketing schemes, you would gladly lie about your mother’s death as an excuse to decline.
But you sleepwalk right into a new Dark Age.
Pogo: No costumes allowed, could be induction.
Too bad “both sides-ism” is out of favor these days. It’s hard to balance the actual issues against each other in this partisan news environment.
ral: I agree. It’s very hard, though, when the past President of the United States who is running again, states that half of Americans are “the enemy,” and many, including other politicians in power, agree.
Hmmm, where can I find a both sides here? My side says ‘let me and my doctor make my medical decisions, what I do with my body does not affect anyone else’ and says ‘asking you to call me the right name is polite’ and ‘please Supreme Court don’t actually overturn my right to marriage like Justice Thomas says should happen’. The other side calls people like me ‘pedophiles’ and ‘groomers’, want to ‘eliminate transgenderism’ (and while they say they don’t mean genocide of the individuals, just what they see as the disease – a real hate the sin love the sinner here – and by overturning laws and orders that permit me to safely exist in aspects of public life (did you know FL doesn’t have a law preventing housing or working discrimination? so it would be legal for any employer in Flagler County to go “don’t want a f*g in my company” and fire me, a landlord to say “don’t want to rent a house to a tr*nny”.
So how do you do a “but both sides” when one side says “let me exist safely in public” and the other says “your existence in public is a threat to our order And we’re going to eliminate everything that would let you do that And we’re going to eliminate anything that talks about you in schools because then people Might hear about you and think you’re people worth respecting and letting live” ? Where the fuck is the middle ground?
(to the general “you” as well as ral:) Even if you don’t believe trans folks are who they say they are, even if you personally think being gay is gross, why do you think they should be denied housing / jobs / medical care? I don’t believe in the Big Sky God and I think people who do are stupid and I think about how many genocides and deaths the Christian churches have been responsible for throughout history – but I don’t think that “I don’t believe in what Christians believe, so I should be allowed to pass laws that restrict their appearance in public spaces”. I can disagree with you and still believe you deserve the right to a roof over your head, a job to work, and medical care to treat your illnesses. All I want is the same in return.
Aves: I don’t think that’s what Ral was saying, it was more like Rodney King (bless his heart) who stated “Why can’t we all get along.” Other than that, I’m on your side. It is bizarre to me that people see trans or gay as a threat to them! Something psychological there.
As far as Christianity goes, it, in my opinion, is seriously abused to give powerless people power. The wrong power, unfortunately. Up is down, and down is up. The more religious someone is, the less I trust them. Jesus is probably the most misunderstood person ever born, or reborn.