ZachWahls

Let’s work together to make Iowa public schools great again

Zach Wahls and Todd Prichard, the Democratic leaders in the Iowa Senate and House, co-authored this post. -promoted by Laura Belin

Public education has long been the foundation of our state. For generations, Iowans could count on a great public education from Iowa schools to set them up for success in life. When we were growing up, our public education system regularly led national rankings.

Today, however, many Iowans are watching with dismay as a decade of under-investment from Republican leadership has resulted in Iowa placing in the middle of the pack in national rankings. We’re wondering: When will Iowa schools lead the nation again?

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Reflection on a Five Year Anniversary

The video of Zach Wahls speaking at that 2011 public hearing went viral and inspired thousands of Iowans who supported equality. Although Zach did not dissuade Iowa House Republicans from approving a state constitutional amendment on marriage the following day, Democrats in control of the Iowa Senate held the line. -promoted by desmoinesdem

Yesterday (January 31) marked the fifth anniversary of a three-minute speech that I delivered to the Iowa Legislature about growing up with gay parents. It was the first time I’ve celebrated an anniversary of this speech knowing that no speech like it will ever have to be given again in this state or country, following the Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling.

I had no idea when I stepped up to that microphone just how much the world would change in the next five years.

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The Boy Scouts of America Gets Better

(Appreciate this perspective from the co-founder of Scouts for Equality. Wahls gained instant fame as a voice for LGBT equality when he testified against a constitutional amendment on marriage at an Iowa House public hearing in 2011. - promoted by desmoinesdem)

One of the most powerful refrains to emerge from the LGBT rights movement over the last several years has been the slogan/mantra/guiding belief It Gets Better. One reason this idea inspires me is that nearly all of us can connect to it and understand it in a context that is relevant to our individual lives. And occasionally, we can watch it play out on a national level.

On Monday, the Boy Scouts of America’s National Executive Board voted 79% to 21% to end that organization’s long-standing ban on gay adult members. (The BSA ended its ban on gay youth members in 2013.) As the proud Eagle Scout son of a same-sex couple from Iowa City, the executive director of Scouts for Equality, and someone who’s been working on this issue for more than three years, I was elated. And there’s still more work to do.

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