Iowa Democratic Party Statement on Governor Reynolds’ Anti-AEA Proposals

Governor Reynolds has outdone herself, once again finding another way to take vital services away from Iowans. Even with the changes she was forced to make after families, students, and educators from across Iowa told her just how wrong she was, this AEA bill remains bad for Iowa students.

In case you’d like a reminder, here are just a few quotes from Iowans who have opposed the bill over the last month: 

Margaret Ludington, Altoona: “It’s just another step toward substituting dictation from Des Moines for local control. I encourage you to contact your state representative and state senator to keep their hands off the AEA. It ain’t broke. They don’t need to fix it.”

Kandace Wittry-Kern, Central Rivers AEA employee: “With the proposed changes to our AEA system, I am afraid that there will be many students, families, and teachers that will not receive the quality services they need and students may fall through the cracks. I respectfully ask that you please consider the impact this change will have on the future of our students and support our AEAs.”

Christian Fasselius, Clive: “…our local “AEA has been there for us, serving Cam, following him to school, helping to coordinate his extensive team of miracle workers,[…] teaching us how to parent a child with unique needs…The current proposed changes have been negotiated in cloak-and-dagger fashion, far from the eyes of those most dependent upon this system…Kids like Cam don’t vote, and can’t advocate for themselves…the quality of their lives are entirely dependent upon leaders keeping them at the center of decision-making. If they are left behind, even amidst the best of intentions, no one will hear their cries.”

Ambre and Steve Grund, Grimes: “Gov. Kim Reynolds and the Legislature need to stop and think. Not just about getting higher scores, but about the quality of our son’s life and the lives of other children with disabilities in Iowa.”

Mick Starcevich, Cedar Rapids: “These agencies play a fundamental role in providing support that is essential for the growth and development of all children including those with special needs. Reducing the scope of services provided by the AEAs would be detrimental to the well-being and future prospects of countless children and their families. Our children’s education and well-being should remain a top priority, and fast-tracking changes to a system as fundamental as the AEAs is short-sighted and would fail an entire generation of children.”

Even facing historic backlash from the very people they were elected to serve, today Senate Republicans decided to pass Governor Reynolds’ proposal to defund Iowa AEAs. 

“Iowans have spoken up about all of the ways our Area Education Agencies help our children, but Republicans just won’t listen. Our AEAs help students who have disabilities and provide vital services like speech therapy and mental health counseling that might otherwise not be accessible to everyone,” said IDP Chair Rita Hart. “Our Republican lawmakers should listen to Iowans and put a stop to this bill, but once again they’ve put politics above people and are proving it’s time for Iowa to elect new leadership.”