I am so angry about the way Iowa Legislators are treating Iowans. Here's the letter I wrote to my republican representatives:
I am writing to you as a young educator. I'm 29 years old and in my 8th year of teaching high school. I recently moved back to Iowa from teaching in Illinois because I wanted to work in my home state where education was a value for me. Recently, however, it's become very clear that Iowa no longer values its teachers.
I was in Galena, Illinois when Wisconsin gutted its teacher unions. That had a detrimental effect on Wisconsin schools, but a very positive effect for ours: people moved out of Wisconsin & into our district. Our district grew because people saw the way the upheaval in education in Wisconsin hurt their students and left. The same will happen to Iowa.
My husband is also a teacher in Iowa public schools. His school has been consistently cutting teachers and his teaching load has steadily increased each year. At this point, he is near burnout. He will not hesitate to leave the profession if his rights are stripped away even more.
In fact, there is a good chance my husband and I will leave the state if we continue our careers in education. The bills in the legislature this month have made it clear that teachers, especially those of us trying to make a living and raise a family, are not a priority for Iowa any longer.
I used to be a proud Iowan and proud to be an Iowa teacher, but it looks less and less likely that I will continue to say that in the coming weeks. In fact, it seems unlikely I will be proud of much concerning my state simply because legislators don't see the value of a quality public education anymore.
My friends, those in their late twenties and early thirties, have already fled the state to raise their families elsewhere. It looks like my husband and I will be forced to do the same.
Think about all of the consequences of this legislation before you vote. Quality teachers, firemen, police officers, nurses and other hard working, middle-class individuals will leave this state and look for places their work is respected and valued by their elected officials since that clearly is no longer Iowa. Young families will leave because they will no longer have faith their legislators want them to lead quality middle-class lives like their parents did. The population of Iowa is already aging; adding a public worker crisis (especially a shortage of quality teachers, nurses, police, and firemen) will not convince many in the younger generation to stay.
I voted for you in this election, even though I'm usually a democrat, because I thought you would do what's right based on your platforms. Clearly, I was wrong. I won't make that mistake again, and I won't let the others around me do it, either.
Sincerely, Kari Straube
The views on this blog are mine alone and do not reflect those of my employer or anyone else.
Kari teaches English I to 9th graders (!) and other electives in rural Iowa. Her husband is also an English teacher, and their friends have sworn to never help them move again because "even libraries don't have that many books."