Letters to the Editor: Under Iowa’s theocratic governor, no wonder young people flee the state

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signs a bill to ban transgender girls from participating in girls' sports in Des Moines, Iowa.
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signs a bill to ban transgender girls from participating in girls’ sports in Des Moines, Iowa, on March 3.
(Nick Rohlman / Associated Press)

To the editor: Journalist Rekha Basu is absolutely on target with her comments on Iowa state tax dollars funding private school tuition.

I am a former Iowan and a graduate of the University of Iowa, which had highly regarded programs in many disciplines. But with the advent of extreme conservatism in state government, funding for education and especially higher education has eroded to the point where these once highly competitive academic institutions can no longer maintain their level of excellence.

There are no Democrats representing Iowa in Washington and a pitiful few in the state Legislature. The current governor, in my opinion, is a threat to social progress and basic academic freedom. She has supported banning books from school libraries, eliminating gun safety, banning almost all abortions, restricting LGBTQ rights and more.


Is it any wonder that young people leave Iowa after graduating from its public universities? Young people in Iowa and elsewhere are being deprived of obtaining an education in which controversial subjects are discussed. Democracy cannot flourish in such an environment.

Marshall G. Goldberg, Encino


To the editor: It’s not like Iowans weren’t warned.

Throughout Trump’s four years of pandering to pliant evangelical masses, the theocratic fix was in. His appointment of Betsy DeVos as education secretary has borne bitter sanctimonious fruit.

DeVos — who infamously said her work in education reform was to “advance God’s kingdom” — strove to divert public school funding to religious schools. While the courts often ruled against her unconstitutional ploys, she inspired many GOP politicians to join her theocratic push.

So now Iowa’s nonreligious taxpayers are compelled to support private, religious K-12 schools, with an unimaginably diabolical twist: These schools will not be subject to the state’s educational standards.

Iowa Republicans’ message to free-thinkers and truth-seekers, young and old, is this: Go to hell.


P. Jane Weil, Sacramento


To the editor: Basu writes, “Even levelheaded voters can be persuaded that public schools, and their pluralistic, secular values, aren’t about education but indoctrination.”

That’s actually because those levelheaded voters see them for what they are, despite Basu’s effort to indoctrinate them to ignore their lying eyes.

Kip Dellinger, Santa Monica


To the editor: The acceleration of statewide school choice flies in the face of a recent Gallup poll finding that 80% of parents with school-aged children are satisfied with their quality of education.


The best explanation for the disconnect is that those expressing negative feelings toward public schools do not have children attending them.

It’s easy to cherry-pick data to support a preexisting attitude, but great caution is needed to avoid jumping to hasty conclusions.

Walt Gardner, Los Angeles