Randy Evans

Abby Finkenauer’s rhetoric was embarrassingly misguided

Randy Evans: What Abby Finkenauer should know — and what Donald Trump also should understand — is that it is not evidence of bias when a judge disagrees with your position in a dispute.

A common refrain from Democrats during Donald Trump’s years in the presidency was that he was undermining public trust and confidence in our courts with his talk of judges being biased and having political motives when they ruled against him. 

Trump’s comments were a bunch of hooey — and it certainly was a bunch of hooey last week, too, when a prominent Iowa Democrat, U.S. Senate candidate Abby Finkenauer, sang from the Trump song sheet about judicial bias

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Iowa losing its way on our public schools

Randy Evans: Iowa’s foundation in education is being tested as surely as if an EF5 tornado were bearing down on every public-school building. 

This is one of those times when people who have little appetite for politics need to pay attention — because a big change is coming that many folks won’t agree with. 

When the U.S. Mint asked each state to pick an image to represent the state on a series of special quarters in 2004, Iowa chose its schools. The quarter featured a likeness of Grant Wood’s famous painting of a one-room country school, with the message “Foundation in Education.”  

The choice was not surprising. Our schools have been something in which Iowans have long taken great pride. Our chests swelled each time Iowa stood atop the nation’s college entrance exam rankings. Terry Branstad and Kim Reynolds even campaigned for office in 2010 on a promise to bring Iowa’s schools up to world-class stature. 

That was then. This year, Iowa’s foundation in education is being tested as surely as if an EF5 tornado were bearing down on every public-school building. 

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School teaches taxpayers an expensive lesson

Iowa Freedom of Information Council executive director Randy Evans kicks off Sunshine Week by sharing details the Des Moines school district didn’t disclose when announcing Dr. Tom Ahart’s resignation.

Des Moines Superintendent Thomas Ahart has been a lightning rod during the past three years over the way Iowa’s public schools have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ahart announced last week that he is leaving, effective June 30. But the Des Moines school board ensured that Ahart will continue to carry that lightning rod for a little longer.

His contract runs for another year, until June 30, 2023. So, you might think he is forgoing his $306,193 salary, his $7,200 annual allowance for a car and cell phone, and his $84,019 taxpayer-provided retirement annuity.

But you would be wrong, wrong, and wrong.

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More secrecy unwise in universities’ hiring decisions

Randy Evans is executive director of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council. He can be reached at IowaFOICouncil@gmail.com.

Iowa’s three state universities made a U-turn this summer, and they now are headed down the road toward secrecy with some hiring decisions.

The about-face should trouble taxpayers of this state. It also should bother state lawmakers, who have expressed concern in recent years that the universities are out of touch with the people of Iowa.

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