NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION DAY IS TODAY, SEPTEMBER 26th
National Voter Registration Day is a national holiday celebrating our democracy. It was first observed in 2012 and has been growing in popularity every year since. Held on the fourth Tuesday of September, National Voter Registration Day will be observed on Tuesday, September 26th this year. The holiday has been endorsed by the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS). It is further supported by the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED).
PREPARING IOWA STUDENTS FOR SUCCESS AFTER HIGH SCHOOL
A respected survey shows a shift in what Americans want in a high school education.
Americans overwhelmingly support a greater K-12 focus on career preparation, according to the PDK Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools.
More Americans think public schools should prepare students for work and life with a greater emphasis on:
• Career, technical and skills-based classes
• Work training
• Interpersonal skills
• Citizenship skills
Most people no longer think that academic preparation should be the main goal of a public school education. The survey shows we still value traditional academic preparation, especially opportunities for advanced academic studies, but “the public sees academics, while important, as only part of today’s educational mission.”
When judging school quality, the public gives much more weight to students’ job preparation and interpersonal development than to their standardized test scores. The poll shows more than 80 percent of Americans:
• Support job or career skills classes even if that means students might spend less time in academic classes.
• Say schools should offer certificate or licensing programs that qualify students for employment in a given field.
• See technology and engineering classes as a very important element of school quality.
• Believe it is highly important for schools to help students develop interpersonal skills, such as being cooperative, respectful of others and persistent at solving problems.
These results suggest that the main concern for parents is this: They want their children prepared for life after they complete high school.
I want to hear your thoughts. Do agree with the results of this survey? How do you think we are doing at preparing students for their futures? You can reply to this e-mail to share your perspective with me.
TUITION INCREASES WILL HURT IOWA’S ECONOMY
The wrong budget priorities at the Iowa Capitol are setting in motion a negative cycle: Our state’s lack of skilled workers prevents strong economic growth. The lack of economic growth creates a budget deficit. The Legislature cuts education to balance the budget. We must change course.
During the 2017 session, state funding was slashed for education at all levels. One result was a last-minute tuition increase — more than twice what was originally proposed — for students at our public universities.
Now a Tuition Task Force is looking at how Iowa’s public universities can provide students and families predictability in the cost of college, while maintaining a high-quality education.
Without a renewed commitment to state funding for our universities, significant tuition increases are likely for the next several years. I am opposed to this misguided strategy. It’s built on the wrong budget priorities.
According to a new report from the Tuition Task Force, Iowans say:
• Large increases are difficult to bear and will make a college education unaffordable for many.
• Universities need to do all they can to keep tuition low and help students with financial need.
• The state must do its part to ensure the best education at a reasonable price.
• The Legislature and Governor should take responsibility for higher education funding.
• Need-based financial aid for public university students must be a priority.
Steep tuition increases are bad for students, families, businesses and our economy. We need skilled workers ready to take on jobs, so we must do our part to keep college an affordable option for Iowans.
LET’S CONTINUE CHILDREN’S HEALTH INSURANCE
Federal funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program is set to expire at the end of September. I am calling on the U.S. Congress to reauthorize it, and encourage you to join me.
The money Iowa gets from the Children’s Health Insurance Program goes to Healthy and Well Kids in Iowa, or Hawk-I. Hawk-I ensures low-income families get health care for their children so that they grow up healthy and ready to succeed. It is an investment in our kids and Iowa’s future.
Since 1999, Hawk-I has provided good care while being cost effective. Iowa offers Hawk-I health coverage for uninsured children of working families. Families that qualify for Hawk-I contribute to their health care costs on a sliding scale, based on their income. With Hawk-I, kids can go to the doctor, get immunizations and fill prescriptions.
Thousands of Iowa children benefit from Hawk-I, including 4,096 in Polk County. Without it, many families will be forced to make impossible choices that could mean their kids don’t get critical health care when they it.
The Children’s Health Insurance Program has won bipartisan support in Congress for 20 years as a way to keep kids healthy. Join me in encouraging our U.S.
Congressman and Senators to extend the Children’s Health Insurance Program for five years. Here’s how you can reach them:
• Rep. David Young, (202) 225-5476. Rep. Young voted “yes” on CHIP reauthorization in 2015.
• Sen. Chuck Grassley, (202) 224-3744. Sen. Grassley voted “yes” on CHIP reauthorization in 2015.
• Sen. Joni Ernst, (202) 224-3254. Sen. Ernst voted “yes” on CHIP reauthorization in 2015.
NEWS YOU CAN USE
AmeriCorps grants available to meet community needs
Federal funding is available through AmeriCorps state program grants. AmeriCorps is a National Service program that helps meet community needs through the work of AmeriCorps members. Special priority will be given in this competition to programs addressing child welfare and infrastructure needs. For more information and application materials, go to the IowaGrants website.
September is National Preparedness Month
Disasters have a big impact on kids, families, businesses and communities, as we’ve seen in the wake of hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Disasters don’t plan ahead, but you can by:
• Making a family emergency plan
• Building an emergency supply kit
• Becoming aware of local hazards, such as flooding, tornadoes and winter storms
For tips and planning resources, go to the Be Ready Iowa website at www.beready.iowa.gov.