# Rural



Public education: Poison or promise?

The co-authors of this commentary are Tim Urban, president of Urban Development Corporation and a former Des Moines City Council member, and Lawrence Streyffeler, a retired Des Moines Public Schools elementary school principal.

The recent attacks by parents and politicians on our public schools are poisoning public education. Many states have recently empowered private education institutions by supporting charter schools, homeschooling, and state-funded vouchers for students to attend private schools instead of their local public schools.

Proponents argue that the declining quality of student performance in public schools warrants giving parents a choice where to educate their children. They often cite parents who want to enrich their children’s education, but cannot pay for it.

Such student outcomes are self-fulfilling In Iowa when public schools are starved.

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Brittany Ruland: The only choice for Iowa Democratic Party chair

Glenn Hurst is a family physician in southwest Iowa and chair of the Iowa Democratic Party’s Rural Caucus. He was a Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in 2022.

The Iowa Democratic Party is about to choose its leadership after another round of disappointing losses to Republicans at the ballot box.

Democratic candidates lost every statewide race except for state auditor. Iowa’s U.S. senators both hail from the Grand Old Party. Republicans now represent every U.S. House district in Iowa. Republicans hold large state Senate and House majorities and can run the table. And Iowa courts are stacked with conservative judges. The Democrats have lost…resoundingly.

None of these situations were sudden unexpected blows. Rather, the trend has been building for at least the last three election cycles. The one takeaway all Democrats should agree on: business as usual is not working.

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The time has come to license midwives in Iowa

Rachel Bruns is a volunteer advocate for quality maternal health care in Iowa.

The 2022 Iowa legislative session saw the most significant momentum in more than forty years of advocacy for the creation of a licensure of direct-entry midwives in Iowa. With the 2023 legislative session underway, I will review the pivotal moments in the 2022 legislative session and explain why the Iowa legislature and Governor Kim Reynolds should prioritize enacting a midwifery licensure bill.

While I have addressed the need to provide a licensure for Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs) in previous pieces, I will go more in-depth in providing background on why all Iowans should want and support CPMs practicing in our state.

Note: I would not benefit directly in any way if this bill passed, as I am not a birthworker (doula, midwife, physician), and I do not plan on having any more children. Through my volunteer work with the International Cesarean Awareness Network, I have learned a lot about the different types of midwives and believe Iowans have been “dealt a bad hand” by not having knowledge or access to community birth options that are more readily available in other states and other high-income countries. Iowa families deserve to have all options available for safe and quality maternal health care.

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Five ways Kim Reynolds changed her school voucher plan

As expected, Governor Kim Reynolds devoted a significant share of her Condition of the State speech on January 10 to her plan to divert more public funds to private K-12 schools across Iowa.

Although the central purpose of the plan remains the same—giving state funds to families who choose to send their children to a private school—the latest version is vastly larger in scope, and will be more costly.

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A campaign manager's takeaways from Sarah Trone Garriott's victory

Brittany Ruland is a community advocate, politically passionate individual who has been consulting and managing campaigns in all capacities around the country since 2015. She is a mother, grassroots organizer, and Iowan who most recently has worked for Senator Sarah Trone Garriott as well as Senator Bernie Sanders and President Joe Biden’s campaigns in 2020.

2022 was a rough year to be a Democrat in Iowa. Watching the results roll in felt like a collective gut punch. Next came the stinging realization that even with mostly-good results for Democrats nationally, we again lost ground in the middle of the country, even in places many of us were confident were winnable. It felt like salt on the wound.

A silver lining emerged as returns continued to come in, with Democratic State Senator Sarah Trone Garriott taking down one of the most dangerous Iowa Republican legislators, Senate President Jake Chapman. At that moment, I realized that even though we lost seats in the state legislature, this race could be a turning point for our party.

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Iowa media help Hinson, Miller-Meeks hide the ball on birth control access

All three U.S. House Republicans from Iowa voted this week against a bill that would provide a federal guarantee of access to contraception.

But if Iowans encounter any mainstream news coverage of the issue, they may come away with the mistaken impression that GOP Representatives Ashley Hinson and Mariannette Miller-Meeks took a stand for contraception access.

The episode illustrates an ongoing problem in the Iowa media landscape: members of Congress have great influence over how their work is covered.

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